By George S Khoryama.
The historical fate in the governance of the Republic of Sierra Leone between the now beleaguered All People’s Congress (APC) party and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has once again come into play. The former, for the thirty five collective years including the just ended term of office of President Ernest Bai Koroma in power has had the character of causing and leaving the country in disarray. The latter on the other hand has always had the odious task of smoothing out the belligerent past and mess of the former.
It brings to memory the combined twenty four years of governance of the late Presidents Siaka Stevens and Joseph Saidu Momoh of the APC party. The state of oppression, suppression, mental slavery of people’s minds, poverty, rampant corruption, politically motivated social disorder that characterised those two administrations rendered the masses timorous and unwilling to have them anymore; thus a disastrous eleven years of rebel uprising.
The consequences of the rebel war with everyone’s knowledge were not only fatal but close to total beheading of the nation as a whole. Sierra Leone inevitably became a failed state.
As fate may have had it the dynamisms that were required to rebuild the country into a wholesome functioning society once again fell on the Sierra Leone People’s Party under the late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. Kabbah’s SLPP rehabilitated the vastly destroyed country – built roads, hospitals, schools and restored the once commended dignity of Paramount Chiefs thereby giving the war-ravaged Sierra Leoneans hope for their future.
President Kabbah went on to rescue and repatriate his people from slavery in refugee camps in neighbouring countries; he established democratic institutions and unified his people. He led such an inclusive government that his own SLPP party people were reduced to a status of underdogs if only to satisfy the opposition APC party.
It was on such platter of sound development initiatives, economic revival, democratic principles and sense of national unity that the SLPP under Kabbah bequeathed to the APC party government of the former President Koroma.
NEW APC PARTY
Ex-President Koroma came to power on the slogan of leading a New APC party government as far removed from the dark days of APC party of Siaka Stevens and Joseph Saidu Momoh that had brought to bear so much suffering on the people as to end up in bloody war. He further apologised on behalf of the APC party for all the wrongs they had caused the people in their past administrations. The people rose to their feet in appreciation of the former President and the promised New APC party.
Under ex-President Koroma however, tribalism, ethnicity and regionalism side-by-side with rampant corruption, impunity, lawlessness, violence, indiscipline, guile and playing tricks with the national constitution became the defining features of ten years of his rule. As a result of these features, his government undermined the cause of national unity, nation building and in the end of his ten years rule weakened the efficiency of nationhood. He left behind a very sick and divided nation, worse than how ex-President Stevens and Momoh did. There are no jobs, poor health facilities, primitive educational system, bastardised state of the economy, a culture of official guile and hate; he left a government of family contractors, for family contractors and by family contractors among other misrule. They thrived on being deceitful liars with their consciences as dead as if burnt with hot iron.
Such is the existing chaos and failures of the APC government under former President Koroma that the SLPP government under President Julius Maada Bio like late President Kabbah, now has to grapple with amid great expectations. It is a hopeless situation of bitterness and remorse among the people generally although not insurmountable.
It only remains to remind Sierra Leoneans of those excesses and outrages of the defunct APC party government in order for them to exercise maximum patience and understanding of the task ahead of President Julius Maada Bio and his government. As no stranger to State House President Bio in his wisdom considers the reasonable wants and needs of his people. A scrupulous reference to those concerns about the vexing needs and wants of the people is what had informed his Manifesto that is the political bible of the SLPP.
The New Direction under His Excellency Julius Maada Bio appreciates the frustration and impatience of thepeople but by no means promising to work miracles instantly. The government coffers for example are virtually empty; poverty holds sway among the people as they eke out a precarious day-to-day existence waiting for the heavens to fall. Presently some former government officials are looting government offices converting government vehicles and other properties to their ownerships to give the Bio government a bad name.
Notwithstanding the SLPP government under President Bio has the capacity, the courage and tenacity, the qualification and professionalism to undo the excesses of the former government. In the SLPP there is no shortage of human resource capable of countering those forces that have reduced the nation to a failed state under the APC party government. The emphasis however is that it is a herculean task that demands the patience and understanding of the people. Sierra Leone after the APC party government hangs on a life-saving machine economically, politically, socially, ethnically, regionally and of late diplomatically -remember the insults heaved on foreign missions by the APC party supporters to celebrate their awful demise? President Bio among his many troubles has to smooth out that irresponsible gaffe in order to restore our cordial relationship with those world powers.
The SLPP government of President Bio understands the worries and apprehensions of the failed APC party people especially when they had inflicted so much harm on the opposition (then SLPP) while they were in power. It remains to remind them however that, with the herculean task of nation building ahead SLPP will have no room for witch-hunting. The SLPP therefore wish to free the APC party people of their idle misconception that anyone is going after them. In his induction speech last Wednesday President Bio in fact assured the nation that he is President not only for SLPP but for Sierra Leoneans generally. Rest assured President Bio has spoken.