September 29, 2015 By John Baimba Sesay in Freetown
In African politics, or politics in general, the relevance of political parties to the growth of a nation’s democratic credentials is as crucial as the need for survival of the parties themselves. Governance itself is built on the existence of parties, which, when elected into office, are expected to meet those yardsticks helpful in building up better and acceptable societies from the viewpoint of democracy and the rule of law.
A party forms government. This allows political players to never downplay building on their party strength, from the perspective of numbers, and national representation, amongst others. In South Africa, for instance, the African National Congress has been in power for decades since Nelson Mandela was released from prison in the 90s, contested elections and won. Zimbabwe has enjoyed same, as in other African nations like Rwanda, Ethiopia, et al.
Sierra Leone has enjoyed a stable democracy in the last decade. Since independence, two parties have dominated the political landscape of the country – the governing All People’s Congress and the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party. The APC has managed the country’s affairs for decades and has overseen her major development efforts, especially in the area of infrastructure.
The APC, a traditionally grassroots party, believes in building itself through the masses. In May 1970 at the Third Delegates’ Conference, President Siaka Stevens highlighted the relevance of a political party, when he quoted President Kenneth Kaunda thus saying, “To quote my good friend, President Kaunda: ‘The party is to the government what the blood is to the heart….” For President Stevens, the All People’s Congress party was the “principal tool with which to consolidate our development plan in the interest of the common man and the whole nation…” And as such it is “vital that the youth are encouraged to participate in our development, for without their support we cannot succeed. They are the leaders of tomorrow.”
Since he was appointed Sierra Leone’s Vice President early this year, Comrade Victor Bockarie Foh has been working round the clock in giving supporting hands to the President in all directions. As Principal Assistant to the President, Victor Bockarie Foh has not only politically supported the country’s development growth trajectory, he has effectively been working on building the strength and very survival and growth of the governing All People’s Congress party.
The APC as a political institution is built on the very support and love shown to it by its general membership. The party’s leadership is aware of the fact that if the party is to continue being in power, there are those values that should not be toyed with. The party is built around the people for the masses are as important to the existence of the party as the party is to the very growth of Sierra Leone’s governance and democratic credentials.
The Leader and Chairman of the APC, Senior Comrade Ernest Bai Koroma, has effectively positioned the party to a level that will forever not be forgotten. His astute leadership has been of significant help to the party. The moves by Vice President Victor Foh in the last couple of months are extremely outstanding, politically timely and within the reach of firmly positioned the party – all in a bid to supporting the party leader.
The Victor Foh factor is crucial here. He is a politician per excellence, a trusted comrade in the APC family. His moves in reawakening the good old memories of Comrade Siaka Stevens, his commitment and dedication to the core values of the APC and his promise to be loyal to Comrade Ernest Bai Koroma as S.I. Koroma was to Siaka Stevens, are all aimed at ensuring the party stays united. Loyalty counts in politics.
Being that typical party strongman, Vice President Foh has always underscored the need to build on the youth wing of the party. Since his days in China, he never ignored the need to support the youths within the party structure. This is important for a reason. “The Youth League is an essential part of the party (APC) machinery and its ideas are listened to and often acted upon. The League had been particularly important in its role of providing tomorrow’s politicians the flexible political attitude of the APC has allowed these youthful members to articulate and develop their ideas within the party structure…” (Page 161 of The Rising Sun…a history of building for the future values).
“A loyal opposition is a contradiction in terms. Human nature, being what it is, how can an opposition be loyal?” Siaka Stevens said in 1978. The APC should always take account of this, more so from the perspective of how Sierra Leone’s opposition is bent on undermining our gains as a country. The APC has indeed overseen Sierra Leone’s growth efforts and this is not to the pleasure of a few lot in the opposition. They will never be a loyal outlet given the very nature of humankind; else their loyalty to state development will itself be a contradiction.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The views expressed here are purely those of the author, and do not represent the views of Concord Times.