Why blame Dr Bu-Buakei Jabbie, Dr Sama Banya and APC?
For a staunch Sierra Leone Peoples Party supporter, there is only one obstacle between the opposition party and victory in the 2012 Presidential and General elections and that is Dr.Bu-Buakei Jabbie. If Dr. Bu-Buakei withdraws his case against the party in the Supreme Court, there is nothing depriving the party from winning the forthcoming elections. Quite an optimistic thought from any opposition party loyalist. Based on the global strife that has gripped every nook and cranny of the society, any iota of accusation of incompetence levied against any country is bound to generate truth. In the great United States, the spate of homeless people on the street is alarming, with the prices of homes dwindling at an alarming rate. The case of Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbie taking his own party to court has drawn more mud into the water than cleansing it. There is accusation and counter accusation of either Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbie is a mole in the party, Dr. Sama Banya’s antics against the Chairman of the SLPP and the most recent is the alleged hidden hand of the ruling party, APC to stir up trouble within the cadre of the party. (Photo: Ibrahim Sourie Mansaray, author)
On the part of Dr.Bu-Buakei Jabbie, is he demonstrating his loyalty and dedication to his only party whom he had supported since birth. Is Dr. Jabbie trying to cleanse the party for any unforseen threat that may jeopardise the chances of the party in the forthcoming elections? For other politicians who have criss-crossed the corridors of different political parties at different stages of their political life, Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbie is only attracting attention and exhibiting his proficiency in legal issues. For Conservative supporters of the SLPP party, Dr. Bu-Buakei has remained and is a blood donor son of the party. Some would argue, Dr. Jabbie never abandoned the party so he cannot be an antithesis to his party of birth. He has never abandoned the party at any point in his life. However, his decision to drag the party to court has raised many eyebrows with some lambasting his disloyalty to the party and branding him as a mole in the party. Some “old bone” politicians even asserted that Dr.Bu-Buakei Jabbie must have been planted as a spy by the incumbent party of All Peoples Congress to shatter the visions and clear victory of the opposition. Good politics but bad riddance.
One is tempted to look at the issue from different sides and ask questions like: Why is Dr-Bu-Buakei Jabbie dragging his own party to court when he should have settled the issue with the current executive? Why didn’t Dr.Bu-Buakei present the issue to the “Elders “of the party? Is the ruling All People Congress supporting the learned lawyer as purported by certain publishers? Some may argue that, the ruling party has much to address on the national scale other than dragging a court case. Why didn’t the Elders of the SLPP listen when Dr. Jabbie was issuing the red flag?
Why should the ruling party favor such protracted court case? Is it worthwhile? The ruling party had similar court case before the last election that nearly tore the party apart but went on to win the election. If the ruling party of the APC can do it, the SLPP can also do it. It is just a matter of stewardship. As for the ruling party, their focus is on development and nation rebranding, and no distraction is required from the opposing side.
Can Dr.Bu-Buakei be considered a spoiler, scapegoat, a patriot or a trouble shooter? In the first place, the SLPP party treated the issue with levity at the initial stage. The party allowed some sections of the press to taint the personality of the learned lawyer . Some newspaper publishers joined the fray and considered the act of the lawyer as a personal vendetta against the Chairman of the party. The Elders of the SLPP party watched at the sidelines as their son’s character was bastardized and assassinated. Instead of the party Elders nipping it in the bud, some took sides and even started accusing Dr.Bu-Buakei Jabbie as a surrogate of the ruling party. The presidential aspirants were jittery to voice their concerns as it was an issue that has the propensity to boomerang. They sat quietly and watched a devoted servant of the party being butchered. Some brilliant columnists in online newspapers openly accused the lawyer of being bribed by the ruling party and that Dr.Bu-Buakei Jabbie is in league with some politicians that have joined the ruling party. This should have been the place of the likes of former leader of the party, Tejan Kabbah, Solomon Berewa, U.N.S Jahs, Sama Banyas convening a caucus to deal with the issue.
The press war in Sierra Leone is gaining a backward stage in attacking personalities. When the saga started, a certain publisher of a newspaper saw the court issue as an attack on the Chairman of the party, John Benjamin. Instead of treating the issue as a family matter, this publisher carried a catalog of insults on Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbie’s personality thereby scooping more flesh out of the wound. The attack became confrontational and disrespectful. Instead of the party treating the issue, the party allowed journalists to have a field day. The war of attrition became an hide and seek game where even the Elders were caught with their pants down. Maybe if the Mannah Gbakas, Paul Dunbars had been around, they would have settled it once and for all.
To Dr. Bu-Buakei, if he is accused of being scapegoatised, does it fit the nomenclature? Scapegoating is a favorite pastime of politicians and pundits; laying blame on one’s political opponents.
It is part of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party tradition to avoid scapegoating. The party reads the temper of the people correctly and realizes that they have never realized the interdependence of each other, which they cannot merely take but must give as well.
Most obviously, it matters when people call names like “spoilers” in the political game. The misuse of the term ‘spoiler’ distorts the understanding of a given conflict and may preclude effective policy-making and prevent communication with a given group; as already stated, isolation can strengthen hard-liners, while engagement can strengthen moderates. The Elders may think their intervention in the conflict is neutral, but local populations do not; their anger may be shared by diaspora groups that can easily be radicalized, which may result in further violence. If the choice is taken to label a person or group as a spoiler, it needs to be followed up with effective measures to exclude or marginalize them. Failure to do so can de-legitimize the process, and undermine the authority of the intervening actors.
Awareness is also necessary that the presence of ‘spoilers’ can be a sign that a peace process or settlement is flawed; certain voices have been left out. Political agreements can become a game of allocating positions, and can allow remaining violence to be depoliticized. Peace process that excludes conflict parties and don’t address asymmetries compromise prospects for reaching a durable settlement. And it may be possible that even if negotiations take place that the aspirations of the various parties may be fundamentally incompatible. Most conflicts end with one side winning.
The recent defection of “Gbos Gbos” to the ruling All Peoples Congress on the basis that the Chairman of the SLPP was insulted by certain groups within the party is not a good omen. Though Gboss Gboss is entitled to his political opinion, such an excuse is flimsy. Does that mean the Chairman of the party should not be criticized? Is that the reason for the defection? The people of Sierra Leone want vibrant opposition so the country can boast of strong democracy. Does that mean you can abandon your child only because he did the wrong thing? As a staunch supporter of the party since the 70s, one would expect “Gboss Gboss” to have taken a leading role in pacifying sides to the conflict and not abandoning the party. Will “Gboss Gboss” abandon the APC party if there is chaos?
The attack on Dr. Sama Banya on his role in the party is unwarranted. Dr Banya cannot be liked by many APC supporters these days considering his constant attack on the party instead of trying to solve the fracas in his own party. Dr. Banya can even be considered as a bad son who milked the good dairy in the political life of the APC but is now attacking the very party that earned him admiration and reputation in the country. That is politics, no permanent friends nor permanent enemies. However one may hate Dr. Banya for whatever reason, his writing skills has earned him supporters and admirers all over the world. He has emerged as one of the few defenders of his party. He has matched word for word for every offence and accusation against the SLPP. Such a fighter needs to be commended in literary circle and not the recent insinuations and “mammy curse” levied against this prolific writer. Dr. Banya may not be a good politician but he is not a bad person on the surface.
Sierra Leone is growing in stature as a result of the democracy that is being practiced. The people want free, fair and transparent democracy. It is for this reason that politics is an interesting game .Long Live Sierra Leone May God bless the people
Ibrahim Sourie Mansaray, California
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