Political commentators on both sides of the aile have been making verbiage of the trumpeted visit by Vice President Juldeh Jalloh to former President Ernest Bai Koroma on the former’s return to Freetown from a visit to Kono over the weekend.
While the visit itself shoud be commended for statesmanly conduct by both men, it is the potential discourse that raises much speculation and hot debate over what the diplomatic reportage of the event failed to outline to the rest of mankind when the tactile affirmations by both parties are closely watched.
A very senior member of the APC who has served this party in a strategic position while the party was in opposition was quick to point out several predictive precepts of such a meeting. True to form, the timing is clearly suspect hence the speculation that this visit may not be all that it portents to be.
Winstanley Johnson, a former Mayor of Freetown, in a treatise on the subject penned a short piece titled, “MY PERSONAL REACTIONS TO VP JULDEH JALLOH’S RAPPROCHEMENT MAKENI STOPOVER AT EBK’s.”
In that writeup, he stated inter alia that the “SLPP has torn this country into smithereens. There’s been too much bad blood in the last four years, engendering uncontrolled regional and tribal hatred, mistrusts and suspicion. The country is broke, donor funds are drying/have dried up, inflation is skyrocketing, strike notices to the government from key sector workers are rampant and being issued by the day, salaries can’t be paid and the government is in disarray.
The Peace and National Cohesion Commission – comprising manly of a single tribe – has long been constituted but is yet to be up and running. This VP Juldeh’s rapprochement Makeni stopover at former President Ernest Bai Koroma’s residence would seem a latent SLPP awareness about the need for peace and national cohesion as a precondition to successes at our next elections cycle.
It could also be a sinister attempt to:
- Hoodwink APC to participate in the official launching the Peace Commission (and then sell the videos globally of Sierra Leone as a firmly united and politically tolerant nation)
- Accept the proposed Census figures and New Electoral Boundaries Delimitations to be announced this week
- Advance clips of such meetings to the relevance of SLPP for continuity in power to the International Community.
- Pave the way for SLPP to desperately advertise those video clips to influene release of MCC Compact Grants.
It could mean many other things but least of them all is the interest of the country. That’s the last thing SLPP government is interested in, and for which reason, they Must Pack Out”
Another critical voice agrees with the need for caution and the temptation not to read into this anything more than a ploy to weaken the defences of the opposition. Some see this meeting as a continuation of a plot to sell out the masses by high level discussions behind closed doors with the threat of civil war hanging over the heads of the leadership of all parties. In the event. There are those who now advocate for a second term presidency even in the face of such widespread rejection of this regime’s failures.
On the other hand, experienced political watchers have predicted that the idea that the SLPP has been assured of a second term win for Maada Bio is a dangerous one. It flies in the face of the disdain that the people have come to view this government but there is evidence of a presumption that the police and military may be used as forces of suppression to secure that outcome.
The meeting with Juldeh and Ernest is being played out as a gesture of goodwill but how certain can we all be that there is nothing untoward behind their close door discussions?
The presumption of a violent election is the road we are approaching and with reckless abandon. Assurances previously given seem to be on shaky ground because of the effects of the Fisher ruling. This meeting cannot be unconnected with the need to secure further assurances that certain parties still have influence over the Party to keep the boys at bay. From what we see, threats of prosecution are still in the air but the sacrificial lamb may escape that destiny.
From what is unfolding and given the groundswell of hate for this regime, we are heading for a major battle come 2023 and those who sold the game in 2018 will be held to account. APC will win out of sheer people power and no politician of the past regime can change that!
Chernoh Bah of the Africanist Press had this to say, “unfortunately, the Fisher decision enhances that rigging decision. It is part of the plot to empower the already compromised elements within the opposition whose ambition is to prolong Bio’s term of office as a way of maximizing their own political ambitions in 2028.
Those of us who are observing the developments in Sierra Leone know very well who among each opposition party is a compromised politician. And we know those who are already in league with the regime.
Interestingly, what the Fischer decision tries to do is to give an advantage to the compromised elements in the APC, both within parliament and outside of parliament, against the genuine opposition within the opposition.”
What is beginning to be clear is that opposing factors and a whole new dynamic that were not factored in before the Fisher Judgement now need to be realigned. However, within this realignment has been a movement towards greater antipathy and a buildup of resistance pushed up by relatively new entrants to the game.
As they say in Freetown, the game has grown.