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Instead of Crying “Wolf,” SLPP Needs a Serious Soul Searching Adventure

Instead of Crying “Wolf,” SLPP Needs a Serious Soul Searching Adventure

The leadership of the Sierra Leone Peoples’ Party (SLPP) should stop crying foul, but rather blame themselves for the party’s defeat in the last month (November 17, 2012) general election. Both the party slogan “SHARP 12” and the manifesto “NEW DIRECTION” were faulty and unmarketable.  Sharp 12, then what…..? Polls do not open or close at 12am/pm, and certainly publication of election results in Sierra Leone is not time bound. The word “NEW DIRECTION” can be interpreted differently by different people. However, most Sierra Leoneans regarded it as Julius Maada Bio’s intention to abandon or replace all Ernest Koroma’s ongoing projects, and in a country littered with unfinished and abandoned infrastructural projects, such actions could mean another waste of resources . (PhotoSteven Morie Samuels, USA, author)

Sierra Leone Peoples’ Party (SLPP), the Grand Old Party (GOP) continues to show a naivety to the politics of Sierra Leone and yet they cry foul. This supports the popular sayings that,  “The age of Methuselah has nothing to do with the wisdom of King Solomon”  Most people would think that the GOP – first political party that brought independence to Sierra Leone –  should be the first to know, it’s time to change strategy in Sierra Leone’s politics. Instead of moving to the center, SLPP continues to move to the far “right,” reducing the party to merely a southeastern political party.  This has given All People’s Congress (APC) the opportunity to move to the center and integrate areas, tribes and groups isolated by such primeval political ideology.

SLPP leadership lacks strategic planning, and there was no surprise at their defeat. As a matter of fact, the party lost the 2012 election on the night of 31 July 2011, when Julius Maada Bio won the nomination to become the SLPP’s 2012 presidential candidate at the SLPP convention held at the Youyi Building in the heart of Freetown.  The elite in the party influenced the selection of a presidential candidate who “was no match for Ernest Koroma.” They led the party faithful to believe that Maada Bio’s only challenge to the State House was to defeat Usman Boie Kamara for the nomination, because he is handsome, young, and former Head of States during the NPRC regime. As if such naïve thinking wasn’t enough to get the party into trouble with the electorates, they allowed the entire 2012 campaign to be hijacked by “political fanatics” who provided no room for opposing view(s). They were inexperienced, over-used and desperate with little or no clue about how fast the political landscape in the country is changing.

SLPP was also financed by “tight-fisted” financial contributors and professors in the Diaspora. Many of these contributors were statistical probabilities experts when it comes to political contribution – they consider all political contributions as a personal investment – and knowing the probability of regaining the State House was ZERO, they reneged on their financial pledges, but choose to support Bio/ SLPP with long and boring articles that had no impact on the election results.

The SLPP electoral machine did not possess the firepower to outdo the APC “battle tested political campaign” machine from the 2007 elections.  While SLPP campaign strategists were preparing for a “run-off” and referring to Koroma’s  “NO RUN-OFF and 4,4,4” slogan as a mere illusion, APC strategists were mapping out a victory strategy to include Kailahun, Kenema and to put up a fierce fight in all SLPP traditional strongholds, while protecting their North and West strong holds.

After two successive losses (2007 and 2012), SLPP should be informed that the party is becoming less competitive, a clear indication that the party leadership had lost touch with the political environment. The SLPP party needs a major shake-up at the leadership level to regain control. The fact that President Ernest Bai Koroma carried a huge “baggage” associated with incumbency into the elections, and yet managed to win 58% of the votes to avoid a run-off is enough grounds to tell SLPP that all is not well. It’s also enough to tell primitive political strategists, that no political party candidate can win the State House by merely appealing to its own support base. Therefore, SLPP must start looking at how they relate to constituency that do not belong to their political tradition.

Steven Morie Samuels, MBA., MHA, Missouri – USA 

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