Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) ‘Ataya Base’ at Calaba Town in Freetown is engulfed in a bitter row and chaos owing to neglect of the youths and grassroot by the ‘New Direction’ Government.
The youths in the Ataya Base are not happy with government ministers who they accuse of exploitation of men in the streets during elections. The argument was ignited by Mohamed Bockarie and others owing to their joblessness and misery they continue to wrestle with.
As the argument ensues other youths came in to add to the chaotic situation at the base. The quarrel and scuffle was intense and endless as the youths seem disappointed with honourables and ministers in whom they once built absolute trust and hope. The accusations and vilifications of ministers and honourables at the base would have degenerated to an all-out conflict had it not been the intervention of the elderly.
A man who appears in his mid-sixties cautioned the youths to exercise patience and restraint as government is working hard to look into their constraints. It was a bit difficult for the elderly to pacify the angry youths as they too are similarly accused to have connived with government to wreak havoc on them.
The argument ended not in peace, but in grudge and grievance as some of the youths left the base in anger and agony. Some of the youths at the premises of the base were passive participants in the argument. They similarly blamed their appalling situation on government officials who they accuse as those responsible for their predicament.
“No matter the harshness of the treatment meted to us, we have nowhere to go,” some of the youths told Nightwatch.
But others say there are alternative political parties to play politics in since they can no longer put up with the “discrimination,” “marginalization” and “neglect” in the SLPP.
SLPP almost always faces the age-old problem of elitism as those with brilliant academic credentials enjoy the largesse of politics and those without perish.
But, in elections, the half-baked most times run the greatest risk in politicking than the educated class.
The youths recalled few years back when they endured the heat of the day and chill of the night to get back SLPP to power.
They said the road to victory for the SLPP was rough and rugged adding that it was not a safe and easy ride.
They said the period was one of turbulence and uneasy calm in Freetown, the most popular stronghold of the main opposition, All People’s Congress.
However, in spite of the ruggedness of the road to victory, they made it and today the SLPP is there, but they are not considered.
By their statements, the youths seem disconnected and disenchanted with the SLPP and seem ready to turn their backs against the party in the 2023 polls.
The grumblings and grievances are loud and widespread in ‘Ataya Bases,’ some public outlets and party offices causing conflicts and scuffles among their ranks.
The grievances, if not addressed, some members say have the tendency to derail the trail of political progress of the party.
The disgruntled youths at an ‘Ataya Base’ at Calaba Town do not reserve their grievances as they spoke loudly about the neglect they continue to suffer in the hands of the party.
The youths who call for social justice has not reserved their vilification against the SLPP government as they have been deceived and dumped in the dustbin.
Bockarie says most of the SLPP youths are jobless after a wide and protracted struggle during campaign trips to various parts of the country.
“We have been left outside the party without any form of compensation after the struggle,” Bockarie says.
Most of the ministers, he says, enjoying in air-conditioned offices sit there through our hard work and struggle, but he adds they have now forgotten about them.
The uncomplimentary comments against SLPP made by Bockarie are intense argument in nature at the base.
Most, if not all of them hold and express similar opinions and concerns.
Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Government stands accused of exploitation of youths, grassroot communities and men in the streets for political ends.
The exploited Grassroot communities in Sierra Leone continue to vent out their grievances against Government as they wallow in misery and abject poverty.
Few days back, the Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa has come under the spotlight as one SLPP officials that have forgotten the downtrodden and neglected persons of the party.
The minister is accused to have exhibited bossy tendencies during party meetings and conferences, and he shuts the door against highly placed party officials.
No doubt, those were party officials that struggled in the cold to get the party at helm of state command.
A notable personality, the Deputy Women’s leader, Fatmata Bockarie similarly vented out her grievance at Minister Saffa who she accused to have treated her in a contemptuous manner.
According to her, JJ Saffa is one of the ministers she and her colleagues took the greatest risk to bring them where they are today.
The grumblings expressed by Madam Bockarie attracted a fire back by an SLPP hardliner, Fatmata Samba who showed no respect for womanhood and party structures.
Madam Samba is rudderless and uncontrollable as she uttered unprintable words never heard in the realm of politics.
In another clear case of disgruntlement, SLPP headquarters on Wallace Johnson Street in Freetown was quite recently placed under siege as the party youths went on the rampage.
During the scuffle, President Bio’s portrait was brought down and torn by SLPP irate youths who felt disappointed after the toil to restore SLPP to state governance.
The youths became much more frustrated and disappointed when the order to leave party office was issued.
It was a bitter pill for them to swallow as they ponder over a perceived wasted effort.
The penchant for SLPP youths to turn on their political party began in the 2007 general elections.
Violence of an unprecedented scale erupted at the party headquarters after elections results portrayed SLPP to have been defeated.
The post-election violence left the party in ruins. Computers and other valuables were carted away by SLPP thugs who had been securing the office.
The move was an operation ‘Pay-Yourself’ by SLPP youths.
The move to pay themselves was confirmed by the erstwhile Inspector-General, Brima Acha Kamara who superintended the elections.
The move of yester years of SLPP youths of yester years is similar to today’s.
after the defeat in 2007, the youths were disappointed by politicians who had made fine promises during the campaign.
Since the promises were never fulfilled, the building became the target of destruction and looting seen in 2007.
Apart from the loot and destruction, women and girls became objects of sexual abuse by their party male folk.
Former President Koroma was kind-hearted as he visited the scene of violence and offered the sum of Le40M for renovation to be done on the party.
SLPP headquarters was indeed renovated out of President Koroma’s offer but SLPP politicians never changed their style of disappointing the grassroot communities.
During campaigns in the 2018 elections, promises of protecting and promoting interest of the youths were prominent.
The 2018 campaign manifesto delved deep into the enhancement of the capacity of the youths to enable them contributes to nation building.
Several international reports have shown that no nation can develop if the youths’ energy is not harnessed.
The youths have a lot of energy which can be misused if not properly guided in the interest of the nation.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report recommended for the inclusion of the youths in social, political and economic spheres to realise their worth.
Leaving them in the streets after elections cannot solve societal problems; it worsens situation.
Lack of academic credentials should not be an excuse for marginalization of the unfortunate youths.
Government must come up with skills training opportunities for the youths to make them relevant to national development.