The count-down has just begun and everyday takes Sierra Leone very close to the elections date. When a medicine is no longer needed in cities and urban centres, it is taken to the villages for sale since the villagers do not look for expiry date.
That is the situation confronting SLPP; the party is no longer needed in cities and urban centres, so it is now taken to villages. The villagers do not know SLPP’s expiry date.
In hard-to-reach communities, SLPP would use the villagers to hold the secret campaigns. It was during such meetings that an SLPP hardliner threatened to use brute force against anyone that betrayed the party. The party’s leadership issued a press release dissociating from the threat knowing its implications it may have during the elections.
SLPP, according to the press release, was never in support of such statements. Northern region has seen much of SLPP’s visits in recent past, a move many Sierra Leoneans have treated with suspicion. In the cities and towns, SLPP is an expired drug since the party has failed to live up to the people’s expectations. Before the whistle is blown, the party is in secret campaigns covered up by meetings with the people.
President Julius Maada Bio’s visit alongside Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella’s to the northern town of Kambia lately is one in a latest streams of SLPP’s secret campaigns. Yumkella who was UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) got four parliamentary seats after he formed the NGC (National Grand Coalition), the third force in parliament.
The former UNIDO chief is weighty in the country’s politics, and was quite critical of President Bio.
While in Kambia, President Bio assured the people that SLPP would continue in governance. It was a form of confidence building measure for the people to still continue to see SLPP as the party of Choice.
The visit to Kambia with Kandeh Yumkella sparked public debates and discussions that Yumkella could be Bio’s next running mate in the 2023 elections. The current Vice President, Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh’s position remains shaky. He is less popular among his Fula tribesmen talk less of those outside his tribe.
The debate continues with claims and counter claims. SLPP’s secretary-general , Umaru Napoleon Koroma has refuted the claim saying SLPP could win elections without Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella.
However the visit to Kambia by the two gentlemen still remained a topical issue. Sierra Leoneans were taken aback owing to the treatment meted to Yumkella during the race for the flag. It could however be a buy-in.
The visit to Kambia was preceded by the visit to Kailahun where President Bio too fought hard to sell SLPP to the people. Although the town is situated in the distant east, Kailahun has shown much loyalty to the then APC (All people’s Party) government which worked hard to give Kailahun a new facelift. They are not ready to switch over to any other political party owing.
President Bio, during the visit to Kailahun, called on the people to forget about APC and pays attention to SLPP saying APC would take them nowhere. He also made the people believe that it is only SLPP that would develop Kailahun failing to realise that Kailahun’s development is never a business for SLPP.
SLPP has been there for 11 years and Kailahun was abandoned to its fate. During the days of President Ahmed Tejan Kabba of blessed memories, Kailahun was the least developed of all districts.
Residents there came to pay attention to APC following the emergence of ex-President Ernest Bai Koroma. Although he was initially loved by the people in the farthest eastern district, President Koroma endeared himself to the people when he unfolded key development projects in the district. Koroma made sure the road to Kailahun as well as its major streets were paved.
The Kailahun Court Barray where SLPP stalwarts rigged the elections in favour of late Vice President, Solomon Ekuma Berewa was also fixed. For the first time after decades that Kailahun saw prosperity. The improvements of communities by ex-President Koroma in communities where he was not liked placed him in a comfortable place to redefine strongholds.
The former President made Sierra Leoneans believe that strongholds is no longer loyalty to a political party on the basis of tribe, but where roads, schools hospitals and other services are provided for the people.
SLPP is yet to understand Koroma’s definition of a stronghold in contemporary societies. In all his visits, Bio has a common message for the people. He is always there to demonise APC and made the former President appears funny in the eyes of the people.
Bio resorted to similar action in Kambia where he told Alpha Khan to tell his former boss to wash his hands clean from politics as the way Victor Bockarie Foh has done. Bio told his people that they would soon reach a point where there will be no more respect for the former President.
It was also no difference while he was in Kailahun. Bio’s current moves look almost the same with those of Berewa in the run up to the 2007 elections. In a bid to keep the party’s head above waters, the late Vice President toured in almost every village in Sierra Leone to sell the SLPP to the people.
Berewa had no thought that the party was no longer a choice for the people of Sierra Leone. He only came to know that when the election results were announced in favour of former President Ernest Bai Koroma. “The police have devastated me,” those were Berewa’s exact words in a media interview.
Bio has a genuine cause to beat the gun as situation is no longer in his favour. Just nine months to elections, Sierra Leone is becoming one of the places very difficult for men in the streets to make ends meet.
Transportation in the city is almost grounded as Prices of fuel (Diesel and Petrol) has hit the topmost. The price stands at Le15, 000 (fifteen thousand Leones), and there are fears that it may shoot up further. Those travelling to the provinces are the worst affected spending huge amounts of money in transport fare. The hardship the country faces is now the hottest topic for discussions among the public. As petrol price shoots up, prices of other commodities are expected to rise.
The current hardship is just a build up on what has been existing meaning no excuse is entertained. SLPP government has found it extremely difficult to bring situation under their control. The party has not banked on good relationship with other political parties since taking over power in 2018.
Government has arrested and detained most of the opposition members at a time situation was in their favour. The political landscape is no longer smooth for SLPP but could reach none of the opposition parties to help them solve the current crisis. 11 political parties have come together to remove SLPP.