APC 21 Man Committee off to a Shaky Start
To say that the venture has gone off to a shaky start is an understatement. Many are not convinced that the entire process is in the will of transparency but for the sake of expediency, a good number is prepared to give them a chance.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for supporting their efforts even though I am disappointed at the initial major blunder that Alfred Peter Conteh has allowed himself to become embroiled in. The blunder is an absence of objectivity and a complete disregard of the sensibilities of the traditional supporters of the APC. In many peoples senses, it is inconceivable that the APC would select a 21 man committee that ended up being so tribally biased and regionally lopsided that it makes the SLPP cabinet look like a democratic dispensation. The concepts of proportional representation, inclusive governance and integrative assembly are lost on the group with 17 Temne / Limbas, 3 Fullah a and one Mende, plus a ratio of 4 women out of the 21. All in all, the absence of the Creole who have traditionally supported the APC more steadfastly and are without doubt a significant economic, social and skilled population outbid this 21 man committee is a major mistake, deliberate or otherwise.
A reason why policies fail has been because decision makers lack the skills or stakeholder in the creation of such policies to the extent that good reasoning is thwarted from giving way to better.
It is no argument also that the Western Area where the Creoles dominate and settle is the major economic, political and social powerhouse for the country, yet the absence of those who have originally developed and control a majority of the assets in this place are being excluded from such policy tables, no wonder that in their absence at such strategic decision making fora, every government that comes in rush to grab the lands in the Western Area because it has market value and even as they do that, they refuse from lifting the restrictions on our laws that ban Creoles from owning or acquiring land in the provinces. And as this disparity rages, there are many who accuse the Creoles of being strangers in this country, forgetting that this was the very place where their ancestors were taken from and sold into slavery?
The loss to the 21 man Committee for excluding the Creoles is apathy towards the APC and an absence of objectivity in the decisions that are bound to come.
As a true blue Creole, I made the decision to stand back and reconfigure my approach to politics IN Sierra Leone as from now. I am fed up with the exclusion and disparagement that has been meted out to people of my cultural and traditional background. What many do not realise is that Creoles are not a tribe but a way of life. For many of us, we do not have to fight for a homeland because all we know is Freetown and the western Area. So to be constantly excluded from influencing decisions that affect us directly is a point of gross human right violation.
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As for the 21 man committee, the lack of appreciation of these sentiments show either an immaturity in political thought or a lack of proper grounding in the dynamics of party politics in Sierra Leone. What makes it worse is the exclusion of other smaller yet more vibrant tribes that traditionally support the APC in the mix. Some would say that these things of tribal inclusion are not important but in an environment where public policy is polarised around power brokers, such disregard of our diversity is a recipe for failure.
In the immediate future, some will refrain from supporting the efforts that are being made to the extent that those fighting to expunge corruption from our politics will end up strengthening the very hands of the corrupt and when corruption fights back, the evil that would engulf the Party would be unimaginable. The existence of camps within the Party is now a sad and desperate attempt to detail any attempt at restoring democracy. The gains made at court would easily be eroded when a series of bad decisions tend to rebrand the old guard as a better alternative.
It is for the above reason that it may be expedient to redraw the parameters of the court order to reflect the enormous ground that needs to be covered aibthat a level playing field can be achieved. For one, the time frame is too short to enable the 21 man committee to undertake the tasks it has been set, considering that the APC under the old guard of Yansanneh and others, with the entire resources of manpower and finance under their control could not do half of these tasks within a similar period. Secondly, the membership and electoral population within the Party is already fashioned by a man who has it in mind to manipulate membership registration to ensure that he wields political power in a future dispensation to the detriment of fairness and democracy. The 21 man committee therefore has to scrap all membership or electoral pool of the Party and open up new criteria for those who can vote at zonal, ward, constituency up to regional levels. From that reconstruction of membership, the procedures for such voting must be addressed and also determine the parameters that should guide the election if national officers and the flag bearer. These procedures must be put out in good time so that those who may wish to put themselves forward can have time to prepare. To proceed with the membership they inherit from Comrade Yansanneh would be fatal to democracy.
Finally, the Committee should show that it has a mind of its own by rooting out those of its members that were recommended by the former executive at whatever level. It may also be prudent to review the ethnic mix again and the reconstruction of such a Northern Committee be reviewed to reflect the traditional strongholds of the APC. In short, the APC cannot afford to antagonise people like the Creoles, this will be to their chagrin!