Is SLPP suffering from ancestral vices?
The accounts of any political institution start from its inception. Indeed, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) started on a very good footing and Dr. Sir Milton Margai became the first Prime Minister of Sierra Leone with utmost transparency that gave him the honour to rule Sierra Leone with dignity.
You may want to know why I ask this question about the SLPP’s devastating consequences of its fall since 1967. Who was responsible for the political demise of the party in those old good days?
It is often said that charity begins at home but does not end there. This is very important for members of the SLPP. Those who are conversant with the political history of this nation would agree with me that the party started falling apart on a political contest in 1967 when Kutubu Kaisamba and L.A.M. Brewah were denied the party symbol. There were controversies swirling over them by the then Central Executive around Sir Albert Margai that influenced him to deny Kutubu Kaisamba and L.A.M. Brewah the party symbol. The two personalities took solace in their decision to go on the independent ticket and they eventually won. That was where the SLPP and the APC had 32/32 seats in the Legislature. As a result of the tie between the two political parties, some prominent stalwarts in the SLPP made frantic efforts to prevail on Kutubu Kaisamba and L.A.M. Brewah to cross or come over to the SLPP. But the two winning candidates came up with stiff conditions for them to come over to the part. One of them was that the then Prime Minister Sir Albert Margai should resign as leader and flag-bearer of the party. This, of course, was impossible because if he had resigned, the APC would have taken legal action against the SLPP.
Consequently, the then opposition leader Siaka Probyn Stevens swiftly sent a delegation to persuade both Hon. Kutubu Kaisamba and Hon. L.A.M. Brewah to cross over to the APC with promises of high-profile appointments. He succeeded and the two Honourable Members of Parliament joined the APC overnight. That was how the SLPP lost power in the 1967 General Elections to Siaka Stevens.
But before that sad event that affected the SLPP, there had earlier been a breakaway group called the People’s National Party (PNP) which the Prime Minister Dr. Sir Milton Margai fondly dubbed as ‘Pikin Na Pikin’.
In 2005, President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah did impose Solomon Ekuma Berewa on the party in the Makeni convention. He wanted someone of his choice to succeed him and eventually, there was a breakaway group led by Charles Francis Margai and the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) was formed as a result. Sadly though, the SLPP lost the election to APC in 2007 and Ernest Bai Koroma became the President of the Republic.
If you follow the trend, it would seem as though the SLPP has a curse from the period of its inception. For those who may want to know the question why the party has been falling over the years, the SLPP was a unified political party in the 1950s but with time, things started falling apart.
Now it is the Pa-o-Pa group led by Julius Maada Bio versus other flag-bearer aspirants for the leadership for 2018. It is but prudent to state that the party needs to pour libation to the founding fathers and seek their blessings.
By Felix D. Fofoh
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