Most SLPP supporters still feel cheated by the outcome of that famous but infamous September 2008 parliamentary and presidential elections which brought the APC back to power.
A year has passed by since the APC eventually found its way to power through the legitimate and democratic process, with Ernest Koroma as the President of the all mighty Republic of Sierra Leone, where electorates fall too soon for “just cam” but end up hating it, either because of unfulfilled promises or the general economic trend of things in the country.
It could be recalled that after the official declaration of President Ernest Koroma as winner and Solomon Berewa as the loser the whole city went into commotion with a huge proportion of the military and police jubilating with APC supporters all over the place. That was a pointer to the fact that Sierra Leone was heading for another catastrophic and inhuman conflict because Berewa was not in the good books of the security forces as they had earlier haboured deep seated grudge against him for spear heading the 1998 military court marshal which saw the untimely elimination of 24 military officers, for their role in the AFRC/ RUF junta regime which devastated many lives and property in the country.
The way things were unfolding in the country prior to the 2007 elections, critics were opining that there would have been another military take over, had Berewa won that election, because he was not only hated by a large proportion of the forces but was never trusted by them.
And if the military had taken over they would have secured some form of support from the ex- civil militia Kamajors who were seriously embittered with President Kabbah and Berewa who were said to have ‘scapegoatized’ their boss chief Hinga Norman by slanting special court indictment on him after doing all in his power to restore democratic order after the infamous AFRC/RUF junta.
Most Kamajors saw the invitation of the Special Court to Sierra Leone as a ploy to eliminate radical politicians like the late Chief Norman, who might want to object to either President Kabbah’s decision to have his way or as a strategy to undo political stumbling blocks before Berewa who was outwardly being favoured by President Kabbah but inwardly disfavored.
He was only favoured when it came to executing nasty and dirty jobs for President Kabbah in craftily scheming criminal charges against, the Momoh Pujeh, Harry Will Charles Margai and Hinga Norman, who Pa Kabbah saw as a big threat to his diabolic political plans.
Berewa who never knew the plan of Pa Kabbah, was very busy executing his assignments, thereby digging his own political grave and nailing his own political coffin, hoping that Pa Kabbah was helping him to weed out the political weed that could have dwarfed his political ambition.
I wonder if Hinga Norman was not ‘scapegoatized’ and Harry Will rendered economically handicapped how Pa Kabbah would have imposed two most unpopular flag bearers on one of the oldest political parties in Africa.
I pitied Solomon Berewa because he made a lot of efforts in campaigning in almost every corner of the country where he expended substantial resources to make himself likable to those who initially objected to his candidacy for Charles Margai.
The house of Mr. Berewa was always filled during that time, by pocket groups of all kinds who were actually seeking survival instead of real friendship, but he narrowly construed it to be otherwise.
The 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary elections were dramatic because it is very rare in Africa and elsewhere in the world to hear or see an incumbent crying foul in the hands of opposition during elections, but in the case of Sierra Leone it was the direct opposite.
It was another precedence in Sierra Leone, to see the incumbent crying foul in the hands of opposition while fighting a ‘loosing battle’ ,just like the precedence set in Sierra Leone during the height of the war when the rebels were chopping off limbs with sharp machets on sensing that the war was not in their favour.
SLPP had gone that far to seek court injunction for the results to be withheld but it appears as if the tide was very much against them, as NEC went ahead to announce the remaining result after several nullifications from the SLPP strongholds in the South-East of the country for what the Chief Electoral Commissioner Dr. Christiana Thorpe described as ‘irregularities’ or ‘over voting’.
Whether she was objective in her judgment or not I can’t tell but members of the international community lauded the process.
Again it is an ‘open secret’ that there is hardly any credible election in the whole world, not even in the USA where there is true democracy, but in any election there must be a loser and a winner with different opinions on the outcome of any election.
No matter the perception of the out come of that elections, the SLPP had a lot of ‘early warnings’ but they trivialized everything as usual on the grounds that there is no way an opposition could unseat the incumbent in Africa, failing to realize that there is a contagious political breeze blowing on the continent that might blow one good today and turn against you tomorrow for another political player. This should be a lesson for both the ruling APC party and the opposition SLPP.
Apart from the elimination of key political players within the rank and file of the SLPP party and the incorporation of political desperados and opportunists who may have unsuccessfully fought tooth and nail in mushroom political parties to let their presence be felt, SLPP woefully failed to address the ‘early warning signs’ from the 2004 local council elections to the 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
That election was a big slap in the face of the then ruling SLPP party as almost all the seats in the country city council went to the then APC opposition party.
It has been said that, Freetown is not Sierra Leone, but given the past political pattern of ‘over centralization’ and the more than ‘ten years’ of rebel war, which saw mass exodus of rural urban migration in search of safety or greener pasture, one would have thought of consolidating his political position in the city.
Freetown is congested with one third of the country’s population this could be evident in the number of petty traders at Sani Abacha street and the illegal occupation of the dangerous and sloppy hills in Freetown by the down trodden.
Except a government wants to operate from a high tower, only targeting the elites not the illiterates and the down trodden far more outweigh or supersede the elite class in Sierra Leone.
Politics is all about numbers, it does not really matter whether you are ‘sand sand boys’, ‘car washers’, ‘coal sellers’, ‘wood cutters’, ‘garbage collectors’, ‘street sweepers’, ‘ghetto boys’ and’ bike riders’, as long as you have the franchise, the right to vote you have a major stake in determining the leadership of your state.
By Solomon Rogers