By Osman Bai Kanu (Foredugu/Romende Chiefdom)…..
The Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), probably, one of the oldest political parties in the West African sub region was formed by the protectorate people of higher status and political ambition. This people were, the paramount chiefs, the entrepreneurs, the literates and the ordinary citizens of sierra Leone. It was formed as a knife to separate the colonial masters from the crioes who were desperately ambiguous to take over administration of the country after the British may have left. In a bid to have all hands on deck in the flight against Creoles administrative succession aim, Dr. Sir Milton Margai and other proponents of the formation of this pressure group, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, formed an alliance between and among the major ethnic groups in the protectorate, especially among the temnes and the mendes in other to swiftly discourage and put down whatever political roof may have been put up by the Creoles in Freetown.
The promulgation of the Sir. Herbert Stevenson’s constitutional provision in 1947 was the event that led to the dissolution of the Sierra Leone Organisational Society, which was founded by John Karifa Smart, Frank Anthony, J. Manley, Kandeh Burreh, TM Williams, Siaka Stevens, et.al, and paved the way for the formation of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party. The event also ushered in the scramble and formation of other political parties in the country. It also made an attempt to close the representation gap between the protectorate and the colony. Probably, one could say that was the beginning of the Sierra Leone multi party and democratic generation. Since its inception in 1951, the SLPP had been under the auspices of Dr. Sir Milton Margai, one of it’s most respected and educated founding fathers until his death on April 28th, 1964.
TREACHEROUS LOYALTY IN THE SLPP AT THE BEGINNING
As discontent, dissatisfaction and impatient began to brew in the SLPP, during the days of Sir. Milton, a few years after the inception of the party, Albert Margai, Karefa Smart and Siaka Stevens became doubtful and suspicious of the Miltinism style of leadership in the fight for independence, and by the 1957 elections eve, the SLPP had become deeply divided within itself and Albert, Stevens and others had already planned to call it quit. On June 1957, a caucus meeting was held to elect someone who would lead this fledgling baby call the Sierra Leone Peoples Party. The elections were conducted for the two brothers, Sir. Milton and Sir. Albert. After the elections, Albert Margai felt cheated and dissatisfied with the way the elections were conducted and immediately resigned from the SLPP caucus and on September 1958, he officially resigned from the SLPP and joined Siaka Stevens who had already resigned from the SLPP and had form the People National Party – PNP. Margai defected from the SLPP with four legally minded colleague members. Which was a very bad precedence.
THE WRONG HEIR TO THE PREMIERSHIP AND TO THE SLPP LEADERSHIP
Sir. Milton died on April 28th, 1964, leaving a leadership vacuum in the Sierra Leone Peoples Party and with no clear successor to the premiership. After Sir. Milton’s prophetic death with no definite successor, a meeting was summoned with immediate effect to find ways of closing the leadership gaps in both the SLPP and the premiership. And in that meeting, it was agreed that John Karefa Smart , Mohammad Mustapha and few others in the SLPP had to act as prime ministers interchangeably until a substantial successor is either appointed or voted in, since no one person emerged as an obvious heir during the meeting. The meeting of trying to get a successor from Karefa and others progresses in tandem with a clandestine emergency meeting between the Governor general, Sir. Albert and his clique of colleague lawyers, unknowingly to Karifa and others. After Smart and others failed to produce a successor for the position of premiership, Sir. Lightfoot Boston, the then governor, swiftly appointed Sir. Albert to be the next prime minister at the death of Sir. Milton.
THE GENESIS OF THE TRIBAL AND REGIONAL DEFECTIONS FROM THE SLPP
Soon after the appointment of Sir. Albert as prime minister, there was a volcanic regional and tribal eruption among the members of the SLPP. There were allegations and counter allegations, petitions and counter petitions from members , sympathizers and ordinary Sierra Leoneans were against the constitutional blunder of the Governor general, Sr. Lightfoot Boston. At the time Karefa Smart and others were busy igniting tribal and regional tensions, opposing the leadership of Sir. Albert and calling for an elections and constitutional prevalence in the appointment of the premiership, a team of lawyers supporting Sir. Albert were busy plusing and minusing both the national and party constitutions to fit the leadership of their compatriot, Sir. Albert.
This was the first climax of the introduction of the “Paoooooopa” syndrome in the Sierra Leone Peoples Party in a Machiavellian style. As a result of these Pooooopa and Machiavellian systems introduced into the SLPP by Sir. Albert, the way was paved for a lot of those who sacrificed their time, resources and positions to the formation of the SLPP to question the leadership of the party. And as a result, a greater number of them gradually began to shift their loyalty and support to other political parties, though few like the ALHAJI Mohamed Mustapha and others just took the back seat and became dormant. As his premiership position continued to hang on the thread, Sir. Albert sacked John Karefa Smart, YD Sesay and few others from the north and transformed the whole party into a south eastern organisation which led to the woeful loose of the SLPP to the APC party in the 1967 elections. A lesson that may repeat itself in 2018. The 1967 elections were the last straw that breaks Sir. Albert’s political camel’s back around the north, west of the country and to his few of his south , eastern brothers. KI Kaisamba, Salia Jusu Sheriff and others from the south- east left the party as a result of Sir. Albert”s “Paooopa” political policies.
SIR ALBERT”S INTRODUCTION OF A TRIBAL MILITARY JUNTA CLIQUE INTO THE COUNTRY’S POLITICS
After Sir. Albert felt he could no longer pick his politically scattered pieces and could neither win the battle nor the war with the APC party and that the best he could do was to invite his fellow southern brothers in the army to take over state governance. Which is absolutely impossible in a time like this. And indeed the military headed by Juxon Smith came in and too over governance after he had lost to the APC.
WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND
The SLPP came back in 1992, from their political recess after a period of twenty four years via the barrel of the gun. In 1996 they transformed into a democratic political party and controversially won the elections and ruled for eleven years. But throughout the eleven years of the SLPP, members keep nursing the very bad seeds of treachery, insubordination, defections, intimidations, etc, been broadcasted by their
Now Brigadier Bio is the Sir. Albert Margai of the 21st century.
KKY is another Karifa Smart.
JOB takes the place of Mohamed Mustapha.
………………and the list goes on and on.