October 11, 2016 By Mohamed Massaquoi
One of the standard bearer aspirants for the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has strongly warned his party’s lawmakers against lending support to any move by the ruling All Peoples Congress APC to stay more than the constitutionally ascribed time in power, nothing that such move would be another ploy by politicians to stay longer in power and refuse to conduct the 2018 general elections.
Dr. Kandeh YumKella said they would mobilise and march to House of Parliament in protest should lawmakers, especially those from the opposition, connive with their colleagues to use parliamentary procedures to extend the mandate of the current government, which he claimed has lost the mandate of many Sierra Leoneans.
Dr. Yumkella was addressing members and supporters of the SLPP at the party’s headquarters in Freetown last Thursday. He said the disunity among some SLPP members has given scope to the APC to do as they want, but stressed that since unity has finally returned to the party, they were ready to challenge them head-on and prevent them from manipulating the political mandate given to them during the 2012 elections.
He added that certain individuals would always be happy with the acrimony within the SLPP that had prevented the latter to come out as a formidable team to challenge gross maladministration and unconstitutional activities of the ruling APC.
He said it was now clear that after all other strategies have failed, the APC was still bent on engaging parliamentarians to extend their stay in power, thus urging that it was extremely important opposition presents a unified force that is well determined to win the next general elections
“I want you all to tell your MPs that anyone of them who extend the mandate of this APC government to 2020, we will march to the House of Parliament. We will not even allow those SLPP MPs to come back to the party,” he threatened.
The call for the extension of term for President Ernest Koroma has often and again been propagated by APC stalwarts.
It started with the ‘after you na you’ campaign orchestrated by former SLPP Member of Parliament, now National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Robin Fallay.
Fallay engaged a good number of media outlets across the country with his crusade about the president’s ability because, according to him, his enormous strides in infrastructural development across the country.
“I believed in the concept and ability of the president and in my view President Ernest Bai Koroma should be given the opportunity to rule for the third term. He is the president that cuts across the country. He is a visionary leader that worth emulating and I think he should be given another mandate to continue with his good work,” Fallah told Concord Times in an interview.
In what appears as compensation for his campaign, President Koroma appointed Robin Fallay as Chairman Board of Directors of the Sierra Leone Water Company (SALWACO).
The move was strongly challenged by then Publicity Secretary of the SLPP, late Hon. Musa Tamba Sam, who held the view that President Koroma’s Agenda for Change and now Agenda for Prosperity have not improved the living conditions of the people.
Hon. Sam had argued that although his party was rejected by voters in 2012, yet the SLPP was the only political party in the country with capacity to govern the country.
He said SLPP fought very hard to end the civil conflict and maintained peace and stability in the country.
“SLPP is the only political party that will liberate the people of Sierra Leone. The ‘after you, na you’ concept is a strategy by the APC to stay long in power. This is not good for our democracy which we collectively fought for,” Hon. Sam noted.
Another strategy was introduced by current Minister of Youth, Bai Mamoud Bangura, who also doubles as the APC Youth League President.
Bangura controversially parroted the ‘More Time’ agenda, according g to him, to compensate President Koroma for lost years because of the deadly Ebola outbreak.
He argued that the government was not in total control during the Ebola outbreak as all activities were put to a standstill, a development he argued prevented government from embarking on developmental programmes.
Meanwhile, many Sierra Leoneans both at home and abroad have voiced their views against the more time or time extension for President Koroma and his government.