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Exclusive Interview: PDL Leader Speaks Out

By  | 12 June 2007 at 02:17 | 730 views

Many Sierra Leoneans we have talked to say they know very little about the Sierra Leone People’s Democratic League (otherwise known as PDL) or it’s leader or flagbearer Alimamy Bakarr Sankoh(photo). Well, the PDL has been sending numerous press releases to us and and other Sierra Leonean media over the last couple of months. We therefore decided to have an interview with Alimamy Sankoh, who lives in Europe, to know more about this organization and what it stands for. Here is how it went:

Patriotic Vanguard: Is the PDL among the registered political parties in Sierra Leone, with offices all over the country?

Alimamy Bakarr Sankoh: It would be an act of betrayal of the conscience of the Sierra Leonean nation, if not suicidal, should the PDL become part of a sinister agenda to violate the constitution of Sierra Leone; disenfranchise the Sierra Leonean people and deprive them of their rights
to elect their leaders in a peaceful, honest,
transparent and democratic environment. We don’t
want and will not participate in any conspiracy
arrangement designed to disenfranchise and dehumanise
the Sierra Leonean people.
Coming to your question, the Sierra Leone
People’s Democratic League (PDL) maintains
grassroots structures across Sierra Leone. We have
since 2004 made it known to the Election Commission in
Freetown our intention to register as a political
party. But judging by the way and manner the dictator
Tejan Kabbah is running the affairs of the country,
the writing on the wall is clear even for a blind man
to see the evil plan. The current election commission
headed by Christiana Thorpe was put in place to fail
and to impose a.... government on Sierra Leone.

We are vindicated today. The election timetable has
been tampered with, the constitution subverted and
made subservient to the designs and tastes of a one-man
dictatorship. There is currently no legitimate
government in Sierra Leone. What we have is a gang of
rogues, political prostitutes, power usurpers, thugs,
professional election fraudsters and betrayers. Any
election arrangement by the dictator Tejan Kabbah is
unconstitutional, criminal and unacceptable. The
solution now is a Transitional Government of Inclusion
(TGI) that would seek the mandate to organize free,
peaceful, transparent and democratic elections, which
could culminate into producing a legitimate, credible
and all-acceptable government of Sierra Leoneans, by
Sierra Leoneans and for the happiness of Sierra
Leoneans.

Those so-called registered political parties are
nothing than old wine in new bottles. We warn that
Sierra Leone is heading for another war with reports
of arson attacks and destruction taking place daily in
the South and East of the country; while insecurity in
the capital worsens by the passing hour. Guinean
forces of aggression continue to occupy the east of
the country with pain, misery and tribulations on our
people. All these and the presence of the US secret
prisons in the country, constitute a dangerous
threat to the security and stability of the nation.
The United Nations has opted for the path of international
advocacy in favour of the Tejan Kabbah despotism in Freetown.

The issue and which is our concern is about
constitutional order; about the rule of law; about the
basic human rights of the Sierra Leonean people; about
political decency; about genuine democracy and
democratic good governance; about security; and above
all, is all about legitimate government, which at
present are absent in Sierra Leone’s body
politic.

PV: When, where, how and why was your party formed?

ABS: The idea of forming the Sierra Leone
People’s Democratic League (PDL) was mooted out
in 1986, by concerned Sierra Leoneans who shared
common views and ideas and saw the need to rescue the
motherland from abysmal collapse.
The country then under the rule of the All People’s Congress (APC) was
a pariah state, as the party moved away from the
democratic ethos to a totalitarian empire.

We put our heads together in search of the appropriate antidote,
and after thorough discussions and wide consultations
with elders, we discovered that the only panacea to
Sierra Leone’s political, economic, social,
environmental and cultural mess is for us to be in the
forefront of the struggle for a change of the system
or status quo, which was so wicked, so corrupt, so
unjust, immoral and anti-Sierra Leonean.

The PDL was officially launched on 7th April, 1986 at
Wellington, in Freetown with a manifested mandate to
rid Sierra Leone of the evils of tribalism, ethnic
chauvinism, retrogression and to change the
country’s bogus independence into real freedom.

To the PDL, real freedom is when we wipe off
completely the tears of the downtrodden; when Sierra
Leoneans are no longer commodities that are easily
bought by politicians for selfish purposes, but are
part of the decision making process; when the
resources of the country are properly managed for the
happiness of the people; when we uplift the status of
our women; when love and patriotism become the
backbone of the body politic; and when Sierra Leone
once again occupies her position in the international
community as the nursing mother of West African
civilization.

PV: Who are the leaders or executive or core members?

ABS: The PDL is composed of Sierra Leoneans of all
shades of opinion, and its membership abounds in every
corner of Sierra Leone. The leadership, composition of
the PDL is democratic, people-focused,
people-propelled and embraces people at all levels of
its structural organs, from the national to the
Diaspora, Capital Territory (Western Area), the
provinces, districts, constituencies and wards.

PV: Does the PDL have support in Sierra Leone and where does
it have the strongest support and what’s the
demographic of its supporters? Are they youths? Older
people? The masses? The elites? Who are they?

ABS: We have a mission and vision to restore the
dignity and integrity of Sierra Leone. We have existed
for twenty-one years since 1986. And we were very
active in all these years. We are not the other
political parties that have divided Sierra Leone into
Mendes and Temnes, or North-westerners and
South-easterners or their agents in new names. Our
allies are the masses: the poor, the deprived,
marginalized, the robbed, the disenfranchised, the
neglected, the dehumanized, the degraded masses; the
workers, teachers, farmers, unemployed, illiterates,
educated, former rebels, former junta forces, former
supporters of the SLPP and APC, those in the dock and
all sections of the Sierra Leonean society.

Fanaticism, religious intolerance, political
gangsterism, rude tribalism and degeneracy have no
place in the PDL, the Party for National Rebirth.

PV: How will it be financed?

ABS: We are a third and alternative political force;
we are a new breed that is not an apron
string to either the SLPP or APC or their likes. The
difference here is that, we are not moneybag
politicians and are not associated with political
godfathers in the country. Ours is purely a patriotic
platform and the answer to the national call for sons
and daughters of the soil to stand up against
settlers, colonialism, and against the treatment of
Sierra Leoneans as fifth class citizens in their only
God-given land called Sierra Leone and against the
pauperization of the Sierra Leonean people by those
rogues, thieves and pen-robbers.

We are not the politicians who wrecked the Sierra Leone
Produce Marketing Board (SLPMB); we are not those who
robbed the nation of eight hundred million dollars in the
criminal guise of hosting the former Organisation of
African Unity (OAU) in 1980; we are not among those
who looted the national treasure to own property abroad
and maintain private foreign accounts; we are not
responsible for the closure of the Sierra Leone
Railway (SLR); we are not responsible for the Haja
Dordoh and other rice squandergates in the country; we
are not responsible for the dumping of foreign industrial
toxic waste in the country and the continued pollution
and degradation of the Sierra Leonean environment, and
now using the ill-gotten wealth to disenfranchise,
divide and pauperise the nation.

We are not those politicians who have sold the dignity
and integrity of the Sierra Leonean nation to foreign
criminal adventurers in the likes of Indian born
international money launderer Rakesh Saxene; to dogs
of wars like the South Africa based Executive Outcomes,
London Based Sandline International, Life Guard and
freelance mercenaries. We are not involved in the sale
of the Sierra Leone Oil Refinery to the Abacha family in
Nigeria. We are not involved in the selling of parts of
Sierra Leonean territory to Guinean forces of
aggression, US military establishments and secret
prisons in the world. We are not a party to the
recruitment and deployment of Sierra Leonean
ex-fighters into the US led war of aggression and
occupation in Iraq. We are not a party to the Tony
Blair and Tony Baldry economic adventurism in Sierra
Leone.

The same yester political gurus who have reduced
Sierra Leoneans to paupers today have recycled
themselves in different political organs to entrench
the decadent system.

As for PDL’s financial standing, I must be honest to
confess that we do not represent the interests of
detractors of Africa and are not receiving support of
any kind from anywhere. But I can assure you that we
have the money to participate fully in peaceful,
honest, transparent and democratic elections under a
legitimate arrangement. We do not need any foreign
company or economic godfather to finance our campaign.
We depend on our own individual contributions, and we
have the means, legitimate means to run our campaign
and to win elections in Sierra Leone. There are no
skeletons, not even one in our cupboards.

PV: Any manifesto?

ABS: Honestly, the Sierra Leone People’S Democratic
League (PDL) has a comprehensive revolutionary
political program which no other party has. The SLPP
and APC have nothing new to salvage Sierra Leone from
the ravaged system caused by their misrule. Their
recycled apostles in different organs are only
noisemakers created to sow confusion in the polity.
Who among these politicians have challenged the
constitutional legality of Tejan Kabbah’s
enclave? None. They all concentrate on talking and
making unfulfilled promises as if it is not the right
of Sierra Leoneans to benefit from the resources of
their country.

They have one thing in common, to get fatter every day
out of the tears of the people.

What Sierra Leoneans need is not vague promises. We
want change, not change for the sake of change, but
change for the good of the country and the people. To
reverse the ugly situation, Sierra Leone needs a
caring leadership with clear vision and mission, and a
well-defined national strategic policy and program.
The PDL does not buy the belief held by big party
gurus around the SLPP and APC camps that the Sierra
Leonean situation defies solution. The PDL
argues that there is no substitute to political
stability, and as long as the people of Sierra Leone
are not happy and continue to wallow in harsh living
conditions, progress is far from achieved.

What the people of Sierra Leone need is a political
grouping with fresh and progressive ideas; a moral
political organ with grassroots democratic structure
and leadership composition. PDL believes through its
aims, objectives, vision and mission, political
platform and manifesto that it can provide the answer to the
serious problems facing the nation. We are determined
to put Sierra Leone again on the right path.

PV: Did you have any convention in Sierra Leone to
elect party officials?

ABS: Party conventions are normally where political
gangsterism begins. Either you are foisted on the
party as leader or you buy the leadership with money.
Party Conventions also isolate the masses, since
representation is selective. Our understanding of
Party conventions is to meet and discuss the
achievements of the party, its failures and to add
impetus to its activities.

Our mission is to change the current colonial, corrupt
and anti-Sierra Leone motivated structures-political,
economic, social, environment and cultural. For any
government to succeed in Sierra Leone, the people at
all levels of governance must be involved. This must first
be seen in any political party that is truly for the
people.

Take for instance, Mr. Solomon Berewa of the
SLPP who was carved and imposed on the party as its flag
bearer by the dictator Tejan Kabbah. This resulted
into the fragmentation of the party and the emergence of
the People’s Movement for Democratic Change
(PMDC). In the 1996 elections, Mr. Tejan Kabbah found
himself into the leadership of the SLPP by releasing
the US dollars to party elders for support. The result
today is that, Mr. Tejan Kabbah had to concentrate on
pursuing the interests of his foreign godfathers,
while the interests of Sierra Leoneans are not catered for.
Our people in the last two terms of the SLPP under
Tejan Kabbah have seen nothing but an increase in
poverty and placing their country on the United
Nations Human Development Index (HDI) as one of the poorest
and most educationally backward nation on earth. A case of
misery in the midst of plenty.

For the PDL, every Sierra Leonean who has attained the
voting age as provided in the Constitution is a
member. We welcome yester politicians due to the African
tradition of respecting elders, but they are not given
responsibility in the Party. Every ember of the PDL
has a say in the running of the affairs of the Party
without discrimination on grounds of ethnic,
political, religious or other orientation.

Leadership of the Party at each level of its organs in determined
by one’s contribution towards promoting the
aims, objectives, mission and vision of the Party, and
not on financial weight or tastes of one person. To
become the party candidate for the parliamentary
elections depends on your contribution in promoting
the ideas of the Party in the constituency, and not on
favouritism. The same with the presidential flag
bearer and his or her running mate.

I want to warn Tejan Kabbah and his SLPP thugs that
any attempt to impose a .... regime on Sierra Leone
would be unacceptable and be resisted by any means
necessary.

PV: Thank you very much.

ABS: Thanks so much for seeking to know the views of the PDL.

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