Hope of election rigging by SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party) has been dashed few days ago after former President Ernest Bai Koroma said the people’s votes would be protected in 2023. “What happened in 2018 will never repeat in 2023,” former President Koroma warned.
He made this statement during an APC (All People’s Congress) meeting in his hometown of Makeni in the presence of senior party and grassroot members. Majority of Sierra Leoneans have never accepted the claim that SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party) won 2018 elections. SLPP got less seats compared to APC which got close to 70% of parliamentary seats. A popular argument holds that it has never happened in the politics of Sierra Leone for a party with few seats to clinch the presidency.
Little wonder that SLPP government finds it difficult to govern in such a situation. Instead of building understanding between government and the governed, suspicion reigns, and coercive power employed in many situations. The protection of the people’s votes is to stop rigging which has been the main factor of SLPP’s political victories since the party was formed in the early 1950s.
In a democracy, Koroma went on, only hard work that would make the electorate to maintain a President after his first term. Most Sierra Leoneans say President Julius Maada Bio would not make it for a second term as his failings in four years of governance are visible.
In a recent commissioning of hotel in the norther town of Port Loko, former President Koroma also told a mammoth crowd of APC supporters that development “is absent in the DNA of SLPP.”
“Whether a party is in opposition or in governance, if development is not in you, it is not in you,” the former President emphasized.
Throughout Sierra Leone’s political history, SLPP is never known for development. The party would fail the people of Sierra Leone for most of its tenures of political leaderships. From time immemorial the party had an inclination to spend money on projects that are not in the country’s interest. The trend still continues to date.
SLPP pronounced a free education scheme at a time the country’s economy and agriculture needed to be fixed. It was clear from the people’s campaign songs that they needed food on the table, and less prices for goods and services.
Since its declaration, the education, the education scheme takes over 20% of the country’s national budget, a sum that is costing the nation dearly. Other sectors recurrently go unfunded or under-funded. The expenditure is just huge so much that many schools would go for months without subvention.
The move is counterproductive since when it declared free education in the country. As the economy remains in shambles, other sectors of the economy are also badly affected, a situation that portrays SLPP as one of the weakest governments in history.
It is incontestable that rigging is the ultimate choice for a party that wants to return to power after it has failed the people. The country’s political trend indicates that SLPP usually enjoy the benefit of political transition.
The party enjoyed one of such benefits in 2018 when a transition from one party to another was quite imminent. Contemporary governance systems are striving to ensure that no set of people remains in governance for a prolonged period owing to the tendency to cause war and bloody revolutions in Africa.
Nightwatch Newspaper reports that, a major cause of Sierra Leone’s war was APC’s desire to stay too long in power, and the international community would not like such a situation to repeat in Sierra Leone in 2018. The drums of war were beaten louder by the then opposition SLPP if they are deprived of victory. It also happened in 1996 when President Ahmed Tejan Kabba of SLPP faced John Karefa Smart, founder and leader of the United National People’s Party.
To many Sierra Leoneans, Kabba lost the elections to Smart, but a political turned the situation in favour of SLPP. Kabba’s leadership Is no difference with the current once since he did not enjoy the will of the majority. Brute and crude military force, killings and political reprisals during were most prominent Kabba’s leadership. Sierra Leone saw the heaviest bloodbath under his reign. One of the blunders he made was to disband the national army, a move that compelled soldiers to join forces with the rebels, and civilians were on the wrong end. This nature of brute leadership could be traced back to 1967 when Prime Minister, Albert Margai caused and sponsored a military intervention into national politics.
Bio’s leadership, no doubt, is a replication of the leaderships of Margai and Kabba. Since he took over leadership in 2018, the country has seen much violence perpetrated in opposition strongholds. Unlawful Killings took place in key towns in northwest of Sierra Leone while none took placer in the southeast. A large number of Sierra Leoneans in Lunsar, Tombo, Makeni and Freetown lost their lives in the hands of trigger-happy police and military officers. This spate of brutality shares a common characteristic; they are incited and sponsored by the state, and no one was brought to justice after the brutal acts.