Tension Mounts! APC Vs SLPP …Unite Or Die

 

There has been a tense, unhealthy relationship between the two traditional political parties in the country following the conduct of the 7th Match, 2018 national elections and the 31st march, 2018 presidential runoff election that saw power changing hands from the then ruling All People’s Congress (APC) to the former main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).

Both the APC National Secretary General, Ambassador Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh and the National Publicity Secretary, Cornelius Deveaux have through various media channels given graphic descriptions of the ordeal that their party members and supporters nationwide have allegedly gone through at the hands of the ruling SLPP since its victory in the presidential runoff election.

The allegations range from post-election violence by SLPP against APC members and supporters in different parts of the country, intimidation, arrest and marching out of their MPs during the election of the Speaker of Parliament, sacking of their members and supports from government, petitioning of the MPs by the SLPP losing parliamentary candidates, the Chief NEC Commissioner disadvantaging them in the Tonko Limba Local Council bye-election for which APC vowed not to take part in any elections organized by NEC under the leadership of Mohamed N’fah Alie Conteh, to the APC’s demand that the petitions against sixteen of their MPs in the Western Area filed by the SLPP losing parliamentary candidates be dropped.

The APC leadership further laments that even when they have written a formal letter of complaint to His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio as Fountain of Honour to look into their grievances with a view to redress and reconciliation, nothing has been done. It is therefore against this backdrop that the APC leadership will meet tomorrow at the party secretariat at Brookfields, Freetown to communicate their position on whether they will take part in the Bintumani III Peace Conference planned by the government of President Bio.

A public notice signed by the APC National Secretary General states: “The NAC, Regional and District Chairmen and Secretaries of the APC party are invited to an urgent meeting relating to the national conference referred to as Bintumani III.

Senior stakeholders including Mayors/Council Chairpersons, current MPs and former Ministers and MPs are expected to be present at this important meeting on Tuesday 21st May, 2019 at the APC headquarters, 11A Old Railway Line, Brookfields, Freetown, at 3:00p.m. prompt. The party will take a definite position relating to the Conference – kindly endeavor to attend and on time.”

SLPP maintains that the election petition cases in the court have nothing to do with them, citing that the Judiciary is independent. With regards the conference, the Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Ambassador Foday Yumkella has said the government has met with and invited all stakeholders, including the National Grand Coalition’s (NGC) Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, Dr. Zainab Hawa Bangura, ex-Vice Presidents Solomon Ekuma Berewa, Dr. Alfred Joe Demby, Chief Sam Samuel Sumana, Victor Bockarie Foh, as well as former President Ernst Bai Koroma, who said he would get back to the government after meeting with his party. Bintumani III, Ambassador Foday Yumkella confirmed, would take place from 23rd – 29th May, 2019 respectively.

With both parties not willing to dialogue with each other in order to find a common ground for peaceful coexistence and cooperation in nation building, it is very clear that there is tension between APC and SLPP which many people observe is not healthy for national development. Observers say if there is no unity between the two traditional political parties, it would be extremely difficult for the country to progress as one. Meanwhile, many people have commented that they are really tired and fed up with the way and manner political tension between the two main political parties. For example, NEC last week announced the postponement of chiefdom headmen elections in Water and Cole Town in the Western Area Rural District (WARD) based on report received from the Office of National Security (ONS) of “political and ethnic tensions causing intermittent outbreak of violence suggesting a serious undercurrent of unrest.”

This is just an incident of the kind of unhealthy political climate that exists in the country between the SLPP and APC that has the propensity to result into violence. Against this backdrop, people have asked what it would mean for the country’s democracy if APC MPs boycott the reopening of Parliament this week, when debate on the President’s speech commences, as well as the Bintumani III. As such, political analysts have said SLPP has a big job to do in taking the country to the plateau of peace