By Philip H. A. Swaray..
“Over the last seven years of this APC Government, the electorate has become so accustomed to populist political slogans, endlessly repeated (“444”, “Afta U, na U”), isn’t it time we start engaging with them by appealing to their intelligence?” asks SLPP Flagbearer potential Andrew K. Keili.
“For too long, the SLPP has allowed itself to be defined by its opponents rather than standing up and loudly proclaiming her core belief: ‘Unity and Strength in Diversity’ or, more popularly, ‘One Country, One People’. We have failed, woefully, to explain to our people what that means in terms of ideology and how that belief will translate to better lives for Sierra Leoneans. What we need to do now is to elevate the debate. To treat our citizens as intelligent people with aspirations and dreams that we can HELP them achieve”.
Karmoh, as he is fondly called, was talking to a small group of supporters at an assessment and wrap-up meeting before returning to Sierra Leone after a very successful visit to the UK.
“The APC say we are Elitist. They say we are Tribalists. They say we are a South-Eastern Party (translated to mean “Mendeman Party”). And yet, they are the ones that constantly talk down to us. They are the ones that believe that all the complexities of governance can be explained by one man carrying and giving away footballs or slogans like, ‘444’. They are the ones that told us that Education is a privilege and not a right. They are the Party that have never had someone from the South, East or West of the Country vie for leadership of their Party or anyone other than a Limba lead it.”
He went on, “We, on the other hand, believe in building institutions so those institutions can develop and maintain a strong Healthcare system, for example, so that diseases like Ebola, Lassa Fever, Cholera and Malaria are no-longer death sentences for our people. We believe in Educating our people so that they can develop themselves and their families and not have to depend on Politicians for hand outs. We believe that there is dignity in Labour and that people would rather earn a living wage than be someone’s ‘bra yu borbor dey ya, sah’. We believe that through Education, we can develop a competitive Labour force that will be capable of attracting the right kind of Private Investor and investment and reduce dependence on the State. In particular, we believe in tapping into the potential of our people and will encourage our diaspora brothers and sisters to invest in Sierra Leone by providing incentives”.
“We should not be afraid to tackle contentious issues or tell people the truth. One of the failures of the modern political class is its inability to realise the public will respect and reward politicians who treat them intelligently”.
On the contentious issues of Land Tenure and Citizenship, AKK was very clear, “our motto, as a Party, is One Country, One People so we cannot in good conscience have different rules for different people based on It’ll be a government that believes in the Rule of Law, believes that with democracy comes Individual Responsibility, believes that control should not be exercised from the centre but by the people that will be most affected – the local people, believes in empowering Sierra Leoneans and putting their interests above ALL others”
On that rousing note, Mr Keili thanked his supporters for their time and effort.