My article yesterday was about the ongoing political violence across the country and hardly was my piece read yesterday morning that another political violence this time right in Freetown occurred between the usual SLPP and APC at the SLPP head office.
This is not the first and it is definitely not going to be the last as long as political intolerance continues to persist. And it is not going to be the last also as long as political party supporters are being used against each other for nothing.
Earlier in the week it was in Bo and Tongo, and yesterday right in Freetown. I do not think there is any political party office that has come under persistent attacks or where fighting have taken place like the SLPP office. Their office is situated at a volatile location though closer to the police headquarters and the central police. Supporters will always assemble outside the SLPP office and apart from the attacks on their office, there have been personal or group confrontation between the two opposing supporters on frequent occasions.
Some two weeks ago, some SLPP supporters alleged that one of the city council metropolitan police destroyed their pump and removed the thatch that was placed in between the walls of the party office. But the head of the metro police said when he enquired what was problem, he was told the SLPP supporters alleged that one of the officers destroyed their pump and when they saw the alleged officer, he was accused of doing the act. That incidence almost flared out of proportion. Petty things that most times drive some of these fanatic supporters hay wire forgetting the consequence.
The ‘couped’ former Mayor Winstansley Bankole Johnson faced some problems on his way in and out when passing by the SLPP office. But why is it that the APC office has not been facing similar problems as the SLPP office and why for God sake that some people will always direct their route where the other political party is, why?
Have we not grown yet or is it just a bluff that we are democratic when infact we cannot abide by the simplest principles of political tolerance. Who are we to blame, I always point my ten fingers at the politicians- the rogue ones in particular. They( politicians) always, because of the circumstances of the youths- illiteracy, unemployment, homelessness and if to say bleak future, have their easy prey on them whilst the children of the politicians are never seen in the streets rioting or even rallying for their parents. But the youths continue to be misplaced and their children continue gaining fortunes abroad and good education. If the literate continues to misguide the illiterates, what you expect, is chaos all the time.
It is a fact that when the SLPP was in power, the opposition was not attacked as it seems to appear now but why should they in turn not accept one another and keep the peace. I will definitely argue that it is not enough justification for anybody to say that the SLPP started the provocation by calling names of their leaders that led to the conflict. Was there not enough justification for the SLPP to have replied same when their leaders were subjected to all forms of molestation? Yes, political provocation leads to something else and it is that something that is presently driving the wave of conflicts around the country for which the politicians should stand against.
How could one fathom that any time the SLPP head office was attacked, the police will always turn against them whenever they go to the scene? There were evidences yesterday of the police firing not against the attackers but in the building of the SLPP, why?
Can one also mention the amount of provocation some SLPP executives, John Benjamin, J.J Saffa, Alpha Timbo, Hon Dr Brima Kamanda, Mrs Tejan Kabbah, Hon Dr Bernadette Lahai, and Manso Dumbuya faced when they were first denied access to state House to meet with the President?
And when finally the meeting was allowed, only few of them were allowed in J.J not allowed. But when the meeting ended and the SLPP delegates were returning, it was alleged water was poured on them right at state House, under the nose of the President. If such could happen at State House are there not the possibilities of it happening elsewhere?
Let’s imagine the consequence if the SLPP says they are determined and ready to retaliate if molested or attacked, remember there are no dominant political groups in the country and if things are seen to be moving distinctly on party/regional/tribal lines without stringent actions taken, then I am afraid for Sierra Leone and for the misguided youths I pity them and awaits their ‘bra u borbor dae’.
By Ishmael Bayoh