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By George S. Khoryama.

Fear and hatred of political hate speeches by some SLPP party officials and members against other parties’ leaders have rendered me timorous and unwilling to continue to keep quiet over it. “In politics,” said Arthur Schlesinger, “you rarely have friends and foes – only colleagues, and you should never get in so deep a quarrel as to lose all chances of conciliation; you might need to work with the other fellow.”
The SLPP for the last five years in opposition had remained a hot bed of tension, quarrel, litigations, suspensions and dismissals of party members, and worse still resignations by a fairly good number of its members, some once highly placed in the party hierarchy. These former members have either joined other political parties or formed their own party taking along a good chunk of prospective voters from the SLPP in the pending elections.

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Could the SLPP continue to cast aspersions on those brothers and sisters that have left without some dire consequences in the near future at the polls? Is It wise for anyone to say “we don’t need them, let them go?”
By most indications there is going to be a run-off in the March 7, 2018 Presidential election and most probably between the two grassroots parties – SLPP and the APC party. These two parties as a result will have to go to the other fourteen parties to seek their support in the run-off. Remember the case of Brewah and Kaisamba (of SLPP) in the 1967 Presidential election between Siaka Stevens and Albert Margai that caused SLPP to lose that election?
In the event such situation arises in the pending March 7, 2018 presidential run-off, how will the SLPP feel going to those same people they had cast aspersions on to ask for their support? It is against the background of such experience that Arthur Schlesinger in his wisdom said “in politics you rarely have friends and foes, only colleagues and you should never get in so deep a quarrel as to lose all chances of conciliation; you may need to work with the other fellow.”
“You can’t take politics personally;” the late President John F. Kennedy once told his wife Jackie, noting that “politics arouses the most heated emotions, and if you are sensitive to what people are saying you will always be upset.”
In the forthcoming elections with about sixteen political parties in the race therefore, it is time for the SLPP to begin to mend fences especially with those they may have hurt and had left the party. Careless remarks such as “we don’t need them; let them go” are going to be inimical to the future of the party.
The social media has gone haywire with innuendos by certain SLPP partisans insinuating that two new political parties headed by northerners are already in negotiations with the ruling APC party for possible merger at run-off. But this is exactly what the SLPP should be doing now in preparation for the run-off instead of insulting and maligning other party members especially those who had left the SLPP.
The party needs everybody – friends or foes. Who knew for instance, that the former Chairman/Leader of the SLPP, Chief Somana Kapen, could be sighted at political rallies with the APC party, a party he had for many years been lambasting for its incompetence, corruption and divisive policies. In his present situation after abandoning the SLPP he needs the APC party and the party needs him too, no matter the fact that the same APC government had robbed him of his Paramount Chieftaincy title in Mambolo chiefdom, Kambia district. The snob relegated him to social and political limbo until he joined the SLPP.
It is likely that those who had left the SLPP may still have tender hearts towards the party not least for the affection they had nurtured for mother SLPP over the years. Who knows when push comes to shove between SLPP and APC party at run- off, they will return to mother SLPP with their votes. Most of them will rather vote for the SLPP or not vote at all in the second round. It is the reason why even the hot-headed youth in the party, let alone the so-called radicals must be disciplined to mind their utterances towards other people because the party may need them.
March 7, 2018 elections are very critical that the SLPP could ill afford to lose. Elections being a game of numbers, the party therefore needs everybody’s vote and not hostility and the estrangement of others.


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