*SLPP CONTINUES TO DISAPPOINT AND ON THE VERGE OF LOSING THE 2018 ELECTIONS*
In the last decade, our country, Sierra Leone and its people’s have been governed by the most ruthless, corrupt and inept government of our times. During this period, we have experienced corruption to a degree that no one could have imagined. While our brothers and sisters were dying of Ebola, cronies in government were busy syphoning away donor funds. The deplorable state of the economy can be easily measured by the number of people that are unemployed, continue to go to bed hungry, or die of curable diseases.
The application of rule of law has become so disgraceful that a former Chief of Defense Force can be gunned down in his home with no arrest of a suspect with a name. Violent crimes, some politically motivated are the order of the day. Kidnapping has been introduced with vengeance. The victims are not only afraid to talk about it, but are in fact mocked by the very law enforcement that is supposed to investigate and apprehend the perpetuators. Tribalism, nepotism, and cronyism have all taken over the corridors of our public institutions in full view of the public.
All these are happening in a country where we claim to have one of the oldest political parties in Africa as the main opposition. The aftermath of the 2012 elections left the SLPP entangled in bitter internal power struggle. The uncompromising struggle for dominance by the respective factions has reached a climax that one can no longer find it convincing to believe that their supporters belong to the same party. The failure of the SLPP to organize, unify, and remain purposeful in holding the ruling government to account on several national issues has gone down in history as a missed opportunity to present an attractive alternative. And the total lack of an effective national administrative framework that is focused on addressing issues that stand to affect the outcome of the 2018 elections is becoming very worrisome.
It is no longer a secret that the 2018 elections are set to go on as constitutionally mandated. After losing nine years of time to convince voters, the SLPP has less than a year to prepare for the elections. As one group of supporters of SLPP factions continue to fight inside and outside of courtrooms, others are busy masquerade around the country creating a carnival-like atmosphere with fanfare as if they are preparing for a popularity contest. On the other hand, operatives of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party are busy planning and orchestrating actions, some illegal to win the next elections.
This week, a video surfaced on social media showcasing the arrival of voter registration materials. Not a single SLPP representative was seen present at the airport to monitor the arrival of these materials. This reminds me of the infamous arrival of the 2012 ballots at Lungi airport where a suspicious box marked with the name of a mining company in the country was mysterious found among the loads.
After crying over the outcome of the 2014 census and failing to monitor the recruitment of officers for the voter registration, SLPP has once more failed to even notice the arrival of voter registration materials into the country. While they were at each other’s throat, the APC Government sneaked voter registration materials into the country at 4:00AM. Now, let me give you an election rigging formula that I cannot put passed the criminal minds in the APC. Let us assume for a moment that the2014 census numbers questioned by the SLPP were in fact inflated with hundreds of thousands of names of people that do not exist in APC so-called strongholds.
To let those fake names be reflected in the voter register, assume that operatives of the APC party were recruited as voter registration officers. And now assume for a moment if some of the voter registration machines that have just landed in the country were diverted to the hands of these compromising officers or even other operatives of the APC, they can register those fake names from the census numbers in the voter registers with ease. They can even take those stolen machines outside of the country to register anyone that could vote for their party.
So, even if SLPP representatives decide to look over the shoulders of voter registration officers, the actual fake registration will be taking place behind closed-doors elsewhere. When voter registration cards are printed, the APC operatives can claim those fake voter cards ahead of election. Keep in mind that while a biometric registration can prevent an individual from registering more than once, systems override can in fact allow a given person with the same bio data to register several fake names in the voter roll, thereby giving them several voter registration cards. That person can then vote several times and in different locations on the election day. Also, nothing can stop compromised voter register systems from accepting dummy bio data just to accommodate those fake names. And don’t tell me about the ink that is placed on the fingers of voters after voting. Those can be removed or totally be ignored by compromised presiding officers at polling stations.
So, while uncompromising flag bearer fanatics continue to fight each other while those charged with the administration of the party affairs abandon their duties and chose sides, the party is left with no administrative framework to prepare for the coming elections. As we continue down this slope, we are not only failing to present an attractive alternative, but we are doing so at a great deal of disappointment to the people of Sierra Leone. And in the event, the SLPP is squandering whatever is left of a chance to win the 2018 elections.
*© Benjamin Eya Kaingbanja (Son of an Educated Farmer)*