By Alhaji Haruna Sani
With barely two months to elections, there are pockets of arguments among and between politicians and supporters of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) Party. Each of the sides claiming they would win the June 24, 2023 presidential elections hands down.
After a critical assessment of the circumstances and the situation in hand, I have concluded that SLPP will lose the forthcoming elections regardless of any campaign method they use for the following reasons:
1. GOVERNANCE OF VENGEANCE AND TYRANNY: Despite campaigning against bad governance of the APC during the 2018 elections, the SLPP upon winning the presidential elections has proven to be more autocratic. They also took to retaliation instead of focusing on fulfilling their campaign promises.
The party has also been widely condemned for closing the space for criticism and dialogue. The Bio-led administration apparently appears to be very punitive and intolerant to opposition. The SLPP was voted in to mend the problems of the nation, but they instead engaged in adding more salt to the already excruciating injuries, hence they will be voted out by majority of citizens for failing to fulfill their social contract with the people.
2. WOEFUL ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT AND UNABATED SKYROCKETING OF PRICES: unarguable, the APC was voted out by a majority of Sierra Leoneans on the basis of poor economic performance. But unfortunately within the past five years, the nation’s economy has been dragged into the mud, the currency moved from the 10th weakest to the weakest in Africa.
The country’s currency has depreciated to the core, with exchange rate of USSD 100 moving from Le750,000 in 2018 to over Le 2,000,000 presently. While the minimum wage remains at Le 600,000, a bag of rice has risen from Le180 in 2018 under the APC to Le 640,000 presently.
Fuel prices increased from Le 6,500 to almost Le 22,000 and over 300% increase in mobile and data tariff. Upon such poor economic management and skyrocketing of prices, majority of the Sierra Leonean populace will revert to the APC than to continue with such trend.
3. GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS UNDER THE BIO ADMINISTRATION: Series of gross human rights violations have been recorded under the SLPP administration since they took charge. Examples of such violations were explained in recent reports issued by various departments and organisations.
Firstly, it was the World Happiest Report, which ranked Sierra Leone as the 3rd most unhappy country in the world and 1st in Africa. That report was immediately followed by the damning Amnesty International Report, the European Parliament report on
human rights and the 2022 US State Department Country reports on human rights practices under President Bios Government
The above reports catalogued police brutality, suppression of opposition, unlawful and arbitrary killings, degrading treatment by government or on behalf of government, harsh or life-threatening prison condition and substantial interference with the freedom of peaceful assembly. This and several abysmal human records of the Bio administration are sufficient reasons to boot the SLPP out, come June,2023.
4. LACK OF TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY: The 2021 Auditor General’s Report clearly shows that the SLPP Government has embezzled and stolen more money than the three years of APC (2015 to 2017).
Failure by President Bio to publicly declare his asset, suspension of the Auditor General after auditing State House and exposing fake receipts and huge loss of money, trying to pass a law that would allow the president not to be accountable for international impressed and persistent failure to investigate and prosecute corruption cases against governmental officials are some of the reasons that would make SLPP lose the June 24 pools.
5. BLAME GAME SYNDROME: The SLPP campaign was mainly pegged on fixing the damage caused by the former APC regime. But five years down the line, instead of fixing the problems, operatives of the SLPP are still playing the blame game. They are instead bent on shifting the present economic woes on the APC erstwhile administration which the majority of citizens would not abide by.
AND MORE: with the five reasons advanced, the SLPP will not have any strong campaign message to convince voters to give them a second chance, consequently, the SLPP will lose the elections.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: for the average Sierra Leonean, it is not just about who wins the next elections; it is about fixing the problems. The fight against hunger, injustices and corruption are among top problems that citizens want to see fixed by government.