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Dr Jengo Stevens responds to Abass Bundu’s article

Dr Jengo Stevens responds to Abass Bundu’s article

I had, I should say, the good fortune recently to read Dr. Abass Bundu’s ‘Seven Conditions For The Sierra Leone Peoples Party Flagbearer” posted on, of all days, December 25, 2010 – Christmas Day.  I was especially intrigued to read the article because Dr. Bundu appeared in the article to assume for himself the political high-priesthood and, what is more, he may funnily have impressed a number of people however falsely who may have been oblivious of the facts or simply carried away by rhetoric to know that as recently as 2007 Dr. Abass Bundu contested and woefully lost in his own hometown constituency under the SLPP ticket (incumbency did not help here), one of the 112 ordinary parliamentary seats in the country, from which constituency he was returned unopposed in 1982 under the APC.  How can he then in only three short years after his mighty fall, being effectively unable to win even the seat in his own hometown out of the 112 ordinary seats on offer in 2007, a seat he held under the APC from 1982 – 1992, in essence unable to garner less than one percentage point of the seats contested, in all fairness to God and man, suddenly and brazenly assume for himself such high national posture and go ahead to unilaterally proffer advice and direction as nobody’s business on a Presidential Election, a national election.  Could this then be a case of sheer political bankruptcy or unfathomable desperation on the part of the SLPP?  I sincerely hope not in the interest of our cherished budding democracy which should be far removed from bare face opportunism, conceit or “gold mining” even if old tricks die hard; but die they must if only to better and further enhance mama Salone.

Whatever the case Dr. Abass Bundu has a political pedigree of sorts on which one may wish to reflect.  It is quite refreshing.  On 21st April 1982 Dr. Abass Bundu was plucked from local political obscurity, fresh from overseas, and returned unopposed to Parliament, never mind the paths trod.  He was to lose that seat 25 years later in 2007 when he crossed over from the APC and contested under the SLPP ticket.  He had earlier represented that Constituency under an APC ticket for a decade from 1982 – 1992.  In 1982, under the one-party system, under the APC, and under Siaka Stevens, Dr. Bundu served as minister until Stevens left office in 1985.  After 1985, and still under the one party system and the APC but now under President Momoh under whose administration the College of Medicine and Allied Sciences and the Law School were established and the ultra-modern military Headquarters at Cockerill constructed, Dr. Bundu was nominated and became Secretary General of ECOWAS.  He was, however, hastily and unceremoniously prematurely recalled after only a year and replaced by another Sierra Leone nominee to complete the conventional two-year term leaving behind tales of not so good taste.

In 1992 the NPRC junta staged a dastardly coup against the APC government of President Momoh, suspending the constitution and banning all political parties and activities.  A year earlier in 1991 the Momoh government had re-introduced a multi-party system of democracy with several political parties including the SLPP duly registered and operating.  Mercifully that 1991 Constitution is currently in force.  The ban on political parties and activities was lifted in 1995 and 1996 declared the year for Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.  Taking everything into account it would safely have been assumed that Abass Bundu would promptly opt for “his party”, the SLPP, or for the APC which had earlier accorded him such high political recognition and office, which party and government he served for ten long years, continuous, from 1982 – 1992 with relish and verve especially as Minister of Agriculture of Bumper Harvest Fame even if later on his service was somewhat checkered given the ECOWAS saga.  These plausible considerations notwithstanding, he, together with persons of necessarily like minds, obviously politically naïve and steep in contempt for the electorate, per excellence, founded the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) and ran for President.  Needless to say that his party was struck a severe deadly blow after being comprehensively defeated at the polls winning not a single polling station out of thousands of polling stations nationwide not to mention a seat.  The riveting question now is when, how and why has Dr. Abass Bundu suddenly metamorphosed into a political wunderkind, high priest?

In the circumstance I shall contend myself with raising only one or two issues in the article than wasting precious time on the ‘Seven Conditions” in one of which Dr. Bundu was inconceivably reducing the Presidency, he once ran for and woefully lost, to a beauty pageant for whatever reason any reasonable person can hardly comprehend.  Dr Bundu’s attempt to take the “moral high ground” on Siaka Stevens’ parenthood cannot be more ludicrous and insulting for such a persona (or maybe not after all) to be so blatantly and unashamedly misrepresenting the truth; in short immoral.  In the early 1950s, well before the founding in 1960 of the APC, and when Siaka Stevens was an SLPP Minister of government, there was an annual local Daily Mail publication known as Who’s Who in Sierra Leone.  Siaka Stevens was prominently featured there.  Abass Bundu may wish to avail himself of a copy and thereby himself personally expose his hatched treachery.  In this publication which is some 60 years old, Stevens’s parenthood is unequivocally stated.  Having said that I am reminded that it has long been incessantly rumoured that in fact Abass Bundu’s true surname is something else but Bundu, and that the name, Bundu, was adopted for pecuniary and other benefits as much as I do not necessarily want to believe.

Dr. Bundu was disparaging about the one-party system he served for a decade.  At one point some half the world’s population covering about the same amount of the world’s landmass was under that system.  But yes the world was not, is not, and will never be static, and thank goodness it is so.  Otherwise there will still be the most grotesque and heinous brutality and assault ever perpetrated on the human race-slavery; there will still be the untold savagery of land grab occasioning in some cases the extermination of whole peoples and tribes like it was in the Americas and else where; there will still be the many proud empires and kingdoms which are no more; there will still be rampant feudalism, fascism, Nazism, holocaust, apartheid and many more.  Indeed the world is not and cannot be static.  The ever present solemn duty in this world; therefore is instead of apportioning blame, is to fend for mankind and to provide health and happiness for the people.

Dr. Abass Bundu is an educated person.  To be educated is to be trained and instructed both mentally and morally.  In short both the mental and moral must perforce come together for a thoroughbred education.  But since morality is concerned with the goodness or badness of character or behaviour it is sadly in this department of morality that education – alas educated people – often most falter.  Could it be then for self aggrandizement only? Not me!

by Dr. Jengo Stevens

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