New constitutional reforms in the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) made public on Tuesday 19th August, this year, via a press statement has attracted many condemnations for the new law reformers, President Julius Maada Bio and the party’s executive.
Although the law reformers claimed to have done it in tandem with section 35(2) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, the reform emerged at a moment SLPP democrats expect President Bio to have bowed out of power.
The democrats take cognisance of President Bio’s exhaustion of his term of office since he vied for the presidential candidacy of the SLPP after the 2018 election. The ruling party says their constitutional review is in sync with the reforming global democratic trends.
The SLPP justification is held to great exceptions owing to the realities of global politics.
In the United Kingdom, United States and elsewhere, whenever a political leader exhausts their mandate within a party, they must be well placed by the system to give space to another person and a new executive through constructive primary elections.
In Sierra Leone, it is a different. God saves Sierra Leone’s democracy.
Certainly, in the two traditional political parties, SLPP and the main opposition, All People’s Congress (APC), there have always been problems of constitutional abuses.
Former President Ernest Bai Koroma, leader and chairman borrowed time after his term for the flag bearer position expired.
He was lucky enough and he continued on to 2018 through the blessings of the APC National Advisory Committee.
It happened after several consultations before a mini-national delegates’ conference was held in the North-eastern headquarters of Makeni in 2008.
The outcome of the conference favoured the former President as he was granted the constitutional mandate to continue as Leader and Chairman.
The APC decision automatically qualified him to contest as presidential candidate for the 2018 presidential election.
In Bio’s era, we are yet to see such a conference to certify him as leader of his party although he has undemocratically climbed to the top leaving the chairmanship position up for grab.
The Chairman, Dr Alex Prince Harding is now seriously challenged by his National Organizing Secretary, Jimmy Batilo Songa who enjoyed great support from the President.
Mr Songa envelops his battle for the SLPP chairmanship with party structural reforms.
Critics are of the view that the SLPP constitutional review aims at giving more time and excess powers to President Bio and his vice president, Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh as leader and deputy leader respectively although they are yet to meet 25% of promises made in his 2012 manifesto.
The entire constitutional review process was championed by the recently appointed Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Anthony Brewah.
To many Sierra Leoneans, the SLPP constitutional review is to set a platform for a smooth second term for President Bio and his Vice, a job for which president Bio re-appointed the AG.
The appointment is a mere payback after he was fired from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for alleged corrupt practices.
The constitutional review task well executed by the old lawyer is said to be the only job well done that brought A.G. Brewah around the presidency.
The AG’s move in bringing in President Bio for a second term will sustain him in the party while others considered as anti-PAOPA and anti-Julius Maada Bios find it extremely difficult almost impossible to survive in the system.
Moreover, as powerful as any dictator, all powers in the SLPP now belong to the leader, president Bio and his deputy vice president, Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh.
Meanwhile, Dr Harding is now playing a back-bencher role until the party gets to its national delegates’ conference later this year or whenever Covid-19 subsides.
Responses from political analysts via social and conventional media platforms generate mixed feelings that the undemocratic promotions of the two have placed more powers in their hands.
The dictatorial tendencies of Bio and Jalloh will no longer be contested by anybody in the SLPP, and whatever they say from now, with or without a democratic or general consensus, must be accepted.
That clearly implies that the opposition APC has not been Bio’s only target, but also key internal reforms to get firm grips over the SLPP party.
The move is to consolidate his second term bid and continue to remain so powerful even after his term as president like his predecessor Koroma is now doing.
President Bio’s tactical move in the SLPP appears as if he was comparing notes with his Predecessor, President Ernest Bai Koroma. For all what happened in the last APC political party era is being repeated by Bio.
Besides, there is massive failures on the parts of the two political parties to nurture true democracy internally for which Sierra Leoneans will continue to call for good leaders till thy kingdom.
However until APC and SLPP internally stimulate constructive and objective democratic cultures, both parties will keep reversing Sierra Leone’s democratic process. The people of Sierra Leone are at the wrong end as they will continue to struggle for a national democratic platform to produce the right leader.
As the present workload is now heaped on the shoulders of president Bio and vice president Dr Jalloh, more failures should be expected than ever.
Evidence shows that even before they were overloaded with their party’s leadership positions, they were less effective in delivering on promises made by the SLPP during 2018 campaign.
The Promises range from the fight against corruption which has been said to be mainly focused on the main opposition, free education with less quality as it has been derailed and eclipsed by the distractive Lungi Bridge project.
All these are political gimmicks by President Bio to continuously misdirect the country to doom after almost three years in office.
As the gimmicks continue unchecked, the nation perishes under the current unfavourable economic situation with low standards of living which the President and the SLPP promised to offer to the people of Sierra Leone.
Most Sierra Leoneans opine that no matter the prevalent political circumstances, President Bio should not have circumvented the 2018 manifesto for a medium-term development plan and the Lungi Bridge project.
However, President Bio must be advised to completely cancel ambition for a second as the people seem not ready to accept that owing to unprecedented scale of economic hardship.
They constantly call on the President to focus measures and policies for sound economic recovery as Sierra Leoneans are not waiting to be fed on the more time and excess powers.