Irony of a Peace Meeting: how it all happened at the SLPP Headquarters? Part Two

 August 29, 2017  

     Plain Ink—– By Spear Man

After the Flag bearer Aspirants have spoken, one was left without any doubt they had attended the meeting out of their own volition. That they were truly committed to the peace that was being brokered by their ordinary membership, was another matter altogether.

And if facial expression would be used to measure sincerity, then I would go for Dr. Bond Wurie as I want to believe he was genuinely more passionate and concerned about the challenges they face as a party. Months earlier, I happened to be nearby as Dr.Wurie and a onetime SLPP patron were discussing the party’s debacle and he almost broke down. It was the first time I knew who he was and it took place at the SLBC/ TV drive way, after he had just been hosted on the programme, the Podium. The next and last time I saw him again before the meeting, was at this peace meeting and his expression was as radiant as that of a boy who had been invited to a celebration he had always dreamed about.

And when his turn came to speak, you could tell his sincerity of purpose. I am not saying here the other men could not be sincere, but you could tell watching him speak that he was genuinely troubled by events within their party.

I would return in the concluding lines, to my personal observation of some of these key figures vying to lead the country’s main opposition in the 2018 polls. So as the peace process progressed, they went into groups, with a good number of the party Parliamentarians and other key figures showing up as well, the likes of  Hon. Rado Yokie, Hon.Mustapha Brima, former Education Minister, Dr. Alpha Wurie,Dr. Abass Bundu,Mr. Kanja Sesay and Ambassador Daboh .The group discussions would eventually lead to the communiqué which among other considerations, specifically stated that all court cases be withdrawn,the re-run of the contentious 39 lower tier elections and that all should have access to all party offices. At some point in the deliberations, tempers flared up between proxies of the Flag bearer Aspirants, notably Rtd. Brig. Maada Bio’s Dr. Alex Prince Harding and Dr. Yumkella’s Ambassador Daboh. Dr. Abass Bundu and Hon. Rado Yokie both staunch Bio supporters were sometimes were quite livid on certain issues. Things got heated up in the hall and at a point, there was this vivid threat of the talks collapsing altogether, were it not for the intervention of the organisers and senior party members, who eventually succeeded in pacifying the atmosphere. By the time the signing of the communiqué got underway, Mr. Benjamin had already left with the understanding that he would sign later and which he did.

Sitting there and watching/overseeing the proceedings, was the former first lady who by all indication, has certainly become an influential figure in the SLPP.”You all go out now and march together up to the Cotton Tree’’ she bellowed out to the eleven men. That was how the much publicised Peace March by the Aspiring Presidential Candidates came about. Did the peace last? We all know what has happened since then. In that hall, I took in everything note worthy and to be honest I initially felt perhaps peace had indeed come to stay at the SLPP, going by the concluding happenings that day. Most of them were charismatic looking and with the exception of Maada Bio, Ndomahina, Bond Wurie, Alpha Timbo and Munda Rogers, I was seeing the rest in person for the first time.

Yumkella has got a charming and urbane personality and has that air of confidence about him, that I want to believe his critics consider as arrogance and which might be given some room for argument, based on some of his media or public speaking engagements. His positives or shortcomings would be reserved for another day but zeroing on this peace meeting, I realized he got on well with Andrew Keilli. As the communiqué was being drafted, Yumkella  walked to a window and from there watched the seafront, slightly moving his end and tapping his feet to music drifting in from a pub close to the ferry jetty.

Bio, in his case was standing at the other end, surrounded by a couple of Parliamentarians and party figures, talking and he looked stoic, obviously cutting out the picture of a soldier. You could hardly pick out something from his expressionless face.

Alie Kabba was for me, the most eloquent of the lot that day and someone who could attract an audience quite impressively.He looked much younger and handsome in person than on photo, understandably why some women could find his persona so irresistible!

Andrew Keilli immediately sends home the gentleman aura and that he manifested during the deliberations, upon being confronted and pointed finger at by an irate Prince Harding. He calmly went to his seat and ignored the “bullet”!

Jonathan Tengbeh has quite an affable personality, so too is Francis Lahai. On the whole, the party has quite an impressive stock of products but like a business Conglomerate bedeviled with rancour, disorganised system and power struggle, they cannot even now market their products. Their preoccupation is who takes control and the business is taking a hit as prospective clients(voters) are doubtful patronising with them altogether! We all know that Peace meeting has virtually collapsed.

The Peace meeting Chairman, Dr.Dennis Bright has since resigned from the SLPP to join an emerging party whilst Yumkella has suspended his Presidential candidate aspiration in the party. Franklyn Rogers has decamped to the ruling All Peoples Congress. Bright in his opening statement during the peace conference said so much has passed under the bridge as he entreated all to end the divisions.From that February,2017 gathering,it’s been a torrent indeed under that bridge, which shockingly has not even spared Bright himself!.