As SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party) prepares for its intra-party elections, the main opposition APC is caught up in extended injunctions.
While it is not outside the realm of politics for an incumbent party to stifle an opponent’s agenda, SLPP partisans are nonetheless upbeat that there are no worries in their camp.
But, they are worried only about the Sam Sumana Factor. Of the three, Chief Sam scares them the most.
“Chief Sam presents the only obstacle in our way. APC would be mindless to pick Samura and Maju Bah again. That would be very foolish. But although Sam Sumana is a clear and present danger to our second term ambition, we are not afraid of him. He can also be defeated,” he reiterated.
An SLPP source said Sam Sumana represented a big headache to party strategists.
SLPP’s main strategy for now is to embark on a smear campaign.
“At present, it is not that we don’t know about the Chief, the fact is that we don’t know or have enough to discredit. We are confident that APC will not go with the 2018 losing duo; they certainly won’t give the flag-bearership to Maju Bah. No party in Sierra Leone, except SLPP is willing to give a Fullah citizen a chance to be president of Sierra Leone as we have. Should anything happen to our leader, we are quite comfortable with VP Juldeh Jalloh taking over,” the source also noted.
Sam Sumana, the source said, had stepped out of the APC and formed a political party that swept an entire district in parliament.
A move, he said, no one had ever embarked on.
Later, the source went on, he came back to the same party.
Besides, he was vice president of Sierra Leone. He is not a novice. We know that APC members were waiting for his time to run, but he was removed by his own people.
Although the hatchet between Chief Sam and the APC has been buried, he said, the SLPP subscribed to the argument that Chief Sam’s sacking was unconstitutional.
SLPP knows clearly that should Sam Sumana win the APC flag, they know a real contender is in.
“Only a repeat of how he was removed from the VP position would make me rest,” he said.
The SLPP office at Wallace Johnson Street is not a welcoming place. A widespread belief holds that the young men and others that hang out at the office are unfriendly to the point of violence.
Their propensity for violence between and against their own partisans, a lot of journalists who might be tainted as belonging to rival camp don’t and won’t even venture to the party office.
The fear of embarrassment or thuggery by SLPP youths may keep the public off from SLPP premises.
The recent destruction of property at Belgium King Jimmy market by suspected SLPP thugs is a clear case in perspective.
As they gang up and chase selected cars that ply Wallace Johnson and surrounding streets, the young men were oblivious of our presence as we walked and talked with a close source at party headquarters.
The source said they were confident that SLPP stood a very god chance of winning 2023 elections.
It is hard, he said, for an incumbent African president to lose elections.
The young man also noted that a reflection of the country’s political history, apart from coups and national health disasters, incumbent presidents and parties do not lose to challengers.
He cited post-war presidencies of Tejan Kabba and Bai Koroma.
“When it was APC’s turn to eat, we sat down for ten years and waited. It is time for the APC to sit relax and let us have our turn. Why are they trying to hasten things?” A young SLPP member asked.
With the way we are performing right now, he went on, APC had no hope.
The international community wants Bio in power. What can APC do?”
Citing the recently approved $6 million by the World Bank for Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL) to conduct the mid-term census, the source said irrespective of legality or constitutionality of the census, or whether SSL is incapable of executing the census, they believe that the approved money corresponds to approval of the party’s actions.
“Look for a long time, our politics was not determined by manifesto or whatever. Now all of a sudden, people are focusing on manifesto, manifesto. Our politics is based on money circulating in the hands of the poor. As long as the poor has access to money daily, then we have no problems,” the source said.
This supporter of PAOPA’s bread and butter economics minus the econometrics, said with their party moving forward, they hoped to win 2023.
APC, he said, was still caught up in the clouds with internal squabbling that resulted to the injunctions on party activities.
“I hope they stay in that zone until we finalise our in-party elections and have our people ready for general elections,” he emphasised.
Asked about who stands as a potential stumbling block to their ten-year ambition, he said no one among the three people in the APC bore the APC flag this time round (Chief Sam, Samura and Chernor Maju Bah).