Opinion

Disarray in SLPP camp as opposition party counts the costs of losing Tom Nyuma

19 March 2012 at 03:46 | 1821 views

By Leeroy Kabs Kanu, New York.

Maada Bio (Or is it Madder ?) thumped the table in anger until his hands turned red. Earlier, when the news first hit him he had kicked a stool which turned into an airborne missile and could have as well knocked out even Mike Tyson cold if it had hit him. His eyes were reduced to chinks as he sat fuming and fighting the tears . His attendants kept away from him because they feared that the beast in him was about to be unleashed any time . Maada Bio literally chumped at a stick in his rage. People said he once beat his wife senseless and chew off her ears in uncontrollable rage when he caught her in the arms of a lover. The U.S. asked him to leave the country after that. The Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) Presidential candidate has anger issues. And his boys know what to expect whenever Maada Bio loses his temper.

As for John Benjamin, he went beserk and almost smashed his fist through a wall but for a late realization that a broken arm will not do him any good with the present temperature in his political party . He could not believe what he had just been told. In rage, he smashed his mobile phone on the ground, the phone , like a meteor, went hurtling over the hard surface in incredible speed before disintegrating into a flashfire of tiny pieces on a wall. Benjamin screamed at his butler and almost manhandled even a poor driver who was only doing his job when he asked for chits to go buy fuel for his car. Once a gentleman in college, JOB had hung around angry men for too long to copy their ways. “Impossible ! ! ! ” , he kept screaming to himself . ” Impossible . Tommy Nyuma ? Impossible ! ! !” . He quickly took out his other mobile phone and started working Tom Nyuma’s numbers in desperation.The phone rang for long on the other end before the owner switched it off. Nyuma did not want to talk to him. This made Benjamin even more angry and a bowl left sitting on the ground took the brunt of his rage as he stamped on it with ruthless precision over and over, until he reduced it to a mangled wreck .

This , anyway , my dear readers, was just a dramatic rendition of how Maada Bio and John Benjamin would have reacted on first hearing that one of their most important members has quit to join the APC. You don’t care for some humour, do you ?

The news of Tom Nyuma’s defection to the ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) could not have come at a bad time for the Bad Boy of Sierra Leone Politics who happens to be the Chairman of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ). The numbers were not adding up at the famous Kailahun Court Barray. The figures from the biometric registration of voters fell significantly short of the massive number of votes polled by the party in the 2007 elections ( Most of them fake ballots of course as he and his thugs and waifs who had seized power in Kailahun on the eve of elections had stuffed the ballot boxes illegally, which forced the honest Elections Commission Chair to nullify the votes ). If the figures of the biometric registration remained the same all over the country, the SLPP was heading for a spectacular defeat in the November polls and John Benjamin was already rattled. To add to his misery the defection of Tom Nyuma was too much to bear. John Benjamin sat on his bed, held his head in his hands and wept like a baby. His driver braved a Tyson-styled upper cut or a horse kick to enter the room and place his hands on his boss’ back to comfort him. He was grabbed by the collar and shoved out of the room at once and the door kicked shut . Benjamin trashed everything in his room, including his TV and his Game Boy he loves playing with his girlfriends . When Benjamin recovered from his temper tantrum, he became a philosopher , preaching to similarly angry partisans, who kept calling him to verify the story , that for a plant to grow well, the weeds around it must die first.

The resignation from the SLPP and defection to the APC by former military strongman, Tom Nyuma yesterday, has thrown the SLPP into utter disarray. Known for being pretentious and to be in denial even when reality is biting them on their bottoms, the SLPP this time faced the fact–The defection of Tom Nyuma will cost them during the forthcoming elections. Supporters have been honest for once to acknowledge that Tom Nyuma, the Chairman of the Kailahun District Council, was a jewel , a man with heavy grassroots support, especially among the youths who still behold him in awe and regard him as a folk hero for the role he played in driving the rebels out of the Eastern Region during the civil war. A robust campaign for votes from the people of Kailahun by Nyuma will reduce the one-time SLPP stronghold to a toss-up district during the elections .The SLPP has also acknowledged that as District Chairman, Tom Nyuma creditably undertook many development projects in Kailahun , including the return of pipe-borne water. So how do you downplay the defection of such a valuable public servant who proved that he had a genuine passion for his people , like the President whose party he has joined ?

While some SLPP partisans are fuming at Nyuma and calling him a traitor , sensible ones have been wondering whether a team could not be put together to go and beg Nyuma to rescind his decision. Some of them have been advising officials and cadres that this was one huge setback the SLPP could downplay to their own peril. They know that with the biometric system of voting this time and the heavy security expected to be provided by the government to protect voters, there is no way they will be able to cheat , a possibilty, which if it had existed, would have made them bluff their way out of this setback by ignoring it.

Some SLPP supporters are beginning to wonder whether their party officials and journalists have not been taking them for a ride. The question they are now asking is that if all is well within their party and their chances of winning November elections are so bright as they are being told, why do they continue to lose valuable members ? Why are people defecting from the party on a regular basis ? If Maada Bio is a perfect choice of a presidential candidate, why instead of swelling the ranks of the party, he is losing members in droves ? Somebody is not telling SLPP fanatics and partisans the truth.

Even more unsettling for the SLPP are rumours that more of such high-profile defections are in the pipeline.

As the prospects of certain defeat begin to stare the SLPP in the face with more unrelenting gusto over the next couple of weeks , we should expect more frivolous complaints from the party, more bold-faced lies, disinformation, misinformation and concoction of stories , more badmouthing and bear-baiting of pro-government journalists and more plans to unleash violence and blaming it on the government with the hope of seeking intervention from a misguided section of the international community.

Photo: Tom Nyuma (in green shirt) in Kailahun.

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