A power-sharing deal between the ruling SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party) and the main opposition (All People’s Congress) in 2023 will be the first in Sierra Leone’s political history.
The deal is SLPP’s greatest hope, but its biggest headache is how to get there. It is clear that the New Direction would not like to go in 2023 even in the face of defeat. Should the Bio administration go in 2023, President Bio would go down in the country’s history books as the first democratic President to rule for only one term.
Abundant evidence is already clear that New Direction would not win 2023 election, but a power sharing deal could not be ruled out. The tactics of violence, elections rigging and intimidation would be employed to make its way for a second term.
As New Direction heads for sharing of power, the APC would certainly not accept considering its relationship with the ruling SLPP. An interview with a renowned civil society activist who spoke on condition of anonymity warned about the dangers inherent of power-sharing government. The politician made reference to political events in Kenya and Ivory Coast between 2008 and 2009. The East African Country of Kenya had one of the most controversial elections in history. President Uhuru Kenyatta was the incumbent in the elections.
According to the Veteran politician, Mr Kenyatta has ruled and wanted to go for another term. The then opposition, Rahila Odinga was highly popular with the masses. Mr Odinga led in the first round but lost to the incumbent President in the run-off.
It was the biggest political gimmick in Kenya’s history. Kenyans knew quite well that it was massive rigging that relegated Odinga to the bottom. Violence broke out leading to the deaths of many.
The world was alarmed by the scale of violence. Thousands lost their lives, and hundreds of thousands were displaced. They sought refuge in neighbouring countries like Rwanda and Tanzania. In its effort at bringing peace to a country plagued by political violence, the international community brokered a peace deal.
The peace deal resulted into the installation of a power-sharing government with President Kenyatta still at the helm. When another election was conducted, President Kenyatta emerged the winner, and he still ruled Kenya to date.
Owing to what prevailed in Kenya, he cautioned APC to work hard and knock out SLPP during first rounds. But other arguments hold that any hope for a power-sharing deal is a complete farce. Sierra Leone will never be Kenya.
On the other side of the argument, Sierra Leone would be Ivory Coast in any hope for a power sharing deal. After a close observation of Kenya’s political crisis, former Ivorian President, Laurent Gbagbo refused to hand over power after his defeat with hope that what happened in Kenya would happen in Ivory Coast.
It was a complete political miscalculation. Governance indicators are not on the side of the New Direction after three years in governance. Grumblings continue to soar over poor handling of essential services by government.
Electricity, health, infrastructure and other much-needed social services continue to dwindle under the New Direction Government.
Owing to poor service delivery, government struggles to assert its authority in the country. It goes without saying that today’s societies are largely contractarian. The people are quite aware that a government is voted in to provide essentials to the people and nothing else.
An effective government will therefore go at greater lengths to satisfy the needs of the majority. The contractarian nature of societies dated far back to the centuries. A number of renowned political writers have written extensively on it.
Such writings are predicated on the question of why should I obey the state if the state does not provide services? A number of argumentators came from the religious and traditional angles.
Others say obedience to the state is a divine command. The argument holds that God commands the people obey a leader because he possesses the sword. The religious argument is not too far from the traditional one.
Both Philosophies emphasised that leaders must be obeyed regardless of who they are and whatever means they use to come to power.
Those loyalties to leadership without services are what today’s societies would refer to as ‘Blind Loyalty.’ The blind loyalty theories are holding sway in today’s world. The most popular theory of obedience is the contractarian one.
In as much as leaders are obeyed, they too must be aware of the obligations they owe the people; the obligation is about effective service delivery. In his days of leadership, former President Koroma operationalised the contractarian aspect of governance through performance contracts he signed with his ministers and other top government officials.
Under the performance contracts, ministers submit their set goals and programmes they would pursue for a particular period. The President would come down hard on those ministers who fail to perform.
This is how the contractarian governance works. The Bio administration too adopted a semblance of the contractarian style of governance upon assuming the reins of state command. It was however less effectiveness.
The non-effectiveness of the system landed SLPP government in a state where it is today. It could not provide the much-needed social services to the people.
The people’s hopes and aspirations have been defeated. What they hoped for in 2018 when they voted in President Bio never came to reality.
A veteran politician has told this press that the immediate aspirations of the people of Sierra Leone are improved economy and agriculture. For him, free quality education was not an immediate and urgent need for the masses at this time.
The people cried for hunger and starvation during the past regime. He said government failed from the onset in its governance project when it pronounced and implemented FQE scheme that is today taking 21% of the national budget.
He suggested that New Direction ought to have waited in its fourth year governance before the proclamation of the FQE. It is argued President Bio would have won the elections without promising FQE. Sierra Leone and the international community, he went on, was ready for a transition.
A youth in the southern city of Bo, Lamin Mansaray commonly known as L-Max told this press sad stories about the New Direction. Mansaray’s dissatisfaction with government ranges from poor service delivery to marginalisation and discrimination of youths who fought hard for the party to come to power.
SLPP, by all indications, is not in good terms with its youth population owing to its naked failure to empower and promote the interest of youths in this country. SLPP officials, most times, asked out SLPP youths from their offices.
As the New Direction fails, people all over Sierra Leone expressed their dissatisfaction with government regardless of tribe and region. These failings portray SLPP as a party that would hardly win election in 2023.
The song of defeat for SLPP is being sung in every part of Sierra Leone. Certainly victory is not on the side SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party), but hope for a power-sharing deal is building up. The suggestion is APC should rebuff such calls in the future.