Today, I want to speak directly with members and supporters of the Sierra Leone People’s Party. I have a few questions for you. What do you really want? How do you want other Sierra Leoneans to remember your party? How do you, as a person, want to be remembered for supporting this great party?
I say “great party” because I come from that generation of young Sierra Leoneans who, immediately after the war, were introduced to the governance system of the Sierra Leone People’s Party. Through Pa Kaba, we saw how the SLPP showed us what democracy is. It wasn’t the perfect democracy, but it was close. Like many other young Sierra Leoneans, I transitioned from experiencing a decade-long brutal civil war to knowing a democratic country where all citizens were treated equally through Pa Kaba’s SLPP. We saw how, as young people, our nation moved from the barbaric times we were introduced to one where we could hope, dream, live freely and where necessary challenge our government, as long as we “don’t go to the bush.” That is why my generation will forever consider Pa Kaba, our hero. And I am sure many of you at the party will say the same.
But Pa Kaba is no more, and I find it hard to believe that when he died, he died with his values and that of the party. And even if what we are currently seeing and experiencing is the true SLPP, I still would want to believe that Pa Kaba must have installed some of his values to this green party.
So, what happened to those values?
Over the last few years, I have interacted with countless party members. And for many, the discussions are always different in private and public. In private, they worry about the party’s direction under its current leadership. Dozens of senior SLPP members supported and campaigned for President Maada Bio not because he was the most competent of all but because they thought the SLPP as a party would remain what it is. It doesn’t matter who they send to the polls; they thought the party could still shape the candidate to conform to the party’s values. They were wrong.
Deep down, most party members are entirely dissatisfied with the way things are in the country. They know the party no longer represents its values and their beliefs in it. Many feel like the party has been hijacked. The current state of the party and the country is not what many bargained and voted for. That is why I think it must be hurting so bad to have been at the forefront of things only to see the party and the nation crumble in front of you as it is today.
But now isn’t about what you did or thought you could have done. It is about what you can do now.
Sierra Leone is at a very important crossroads. These are very challenging times for all citizens, regardless of party affiliation. The current challenges will (probably) continue in the coming year or two.
Elections are around the corner, and the biggest threat to the SLPP’s reelection isn’t the social media keyboard warriors, the ragtag, the haters, or the opposition party members. The biggest threat to the SLPP is the silence of those genuine individuals in the party who bled and sweated for President Bio’s candidacy. The threat to the party is those who spend hours defending bad governance and insulting anyone who disagrees with them on national issues.
So, as we start the countdown to next year’s elections, you must ask yourselves what you truly want, how you want Sierra Leoneans to remember the SLPP, and how you, as members of this party, want your fellow citizens to remember you.
It is time you stop grumbling in private and speak up about what is happening. It is time you start holding each other accountable. You must be willing to speak up and know whether Maada Bio gets re-elected; you will walk around with your heads up, knowing that you stood up for your country and defended your party or what you think the SLPP should be.
And it is up to you to decide. I can’t choose that for you. I am just a lousy-wannabe celebrity-Social Media keyboard warrior-Ragtag-outrage guy.
So, as the party’s member of parliament, minister, senior party member, or ordinary supporter, are you satisfied with the direction of your party and the country? What do you want for Salone? What do you want for the SLPP? And how do you want to be remembered as a party member and supporter?