From the Editor’s Keyboard

Going Down Memory Lane: The NPRC

20 July 2012 at 20:04 | 938 views

By Titus Boye-Thompson, Guest Writer, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

History is littered with people who have exhibited traits of chicanery, mistrust and sedition but the ultimate end for such people is characterized by failure and deceit. To illustrate the point, it may be necessary to look at some recent examples that are still fresh in the minds of ordinary Sierra Leoneans. Valentine Strasser may have headed what was allegedly a popular coup but the truth be told, there is nothing democratic about a coup d’etat. What the NPRC did was to over throw a legitimate government elected by the people of Sierra Leone and one in fact that had set in motion a process to return the Country back to multi-party politics the very same year that it was overthrown.

So when the NPRC claim that their aim was to liberate the people of Sierra Leone, then rationally, what they meant was that they intended to dislodge the people from their hard earned move towards democracy and a legitimized change of political dispensation orchestrated by nothing other than people’s power and a responsive and responsible Government. In the end, the Coup plotters fared badly overall, they staged counter coups against each other, attempted to kill their leader by having him thrown overboard an airborne helicopter and finally had to be dragged screaming and kicking to hand over power to a democratically elected Government against their own base instincts which is to hold on to power by force. They did not fare well at all. The end for some of them is pitiful to say the least, and some of them have suffered or are suffering so much that now, the ordinary Sierra Leonean has nothing but pity for them. They were traitors, one and all and for that matter, they could not make the transition from Power hungry Soldiers to politicians. Next door in Liberia, the same can be said of General Samuel K Doe who ended up killing almost all of the people with whom he swept to power when he took over and summarily executed William Tolbert Jnr. That Country degenerated into full scale civil war and was destroyed beyond recognition. Like their counterparts in Sierra Leone, they amounted to nothing, failed to make the transition to civilian politics and in the end left their Country worse off than they met it.

Last year saw the Arab world engulf in turmoil and conflagration spurred on by a people led revolt of draconian regimes and militaristic dictatorships. From Tunisia to Egypt, Bahrain to Libya and then till this day, lingering on is Syria. These nations rose up against their leaders who were authoritative, dictatorial and militaristic for a simple reason that they did not see themselves as having a stake in the development of their nations and despite their huge wealth, the people grew disenchanted and distanced from their leadership elites.

The lesson for Sierra Leone here is simple. Traitors are those who sell out their people because they fail to have due empathy for their sufferings and their concerns. Sierra Leone, is not a rich Country but we are blessed with something that goes far beyond material wealth. We have a President who loves this Country and there is no doubt that the people do not acknowledge this. In Ernest Bai Koroma we have a man of vision and principle, this nation willingly warms up to him as the people see the genuineness of his aspirations and his ambitions for taking this Country forwards to the next level. In him we see a good politician, a man of the people and a person dedicated to serving his Country. We do not see this in any other aspirant at this moment in time. The main opposition SLPP have offered this Country a man whose hand is tainted with unanswered questions relating to the extra-judicial killings of innocent Sierra Leoneans, a man who by his own admission was present in those critical moments before these people were killed, a man who had the authority to do something to save their lives or in the least advocate for the due process of law to have taken its course but did none of that. The SLPP in bringing this man forwards as a flag bearer for their party is playing a dangerous game by asking this Country to accept a failed military coup plotter and a man implicated in economic crimes against the State as a person fit for the highest office in the land. They do this without any avowed allegiance to an ideology upon which such a candidature was founded but rather merely on the basis of an allegiance or otherwise affiliation to a tribal or regional bias. Their strategy is malevolent, convoluted and wrong and it is for those reasons that this Country will be asked to reject that party and their flag bearer.

The SLPP must demonstrate that they can govern for the entire country and not just for the South Eastern regions. If they cannot do that, then the SLPP will be a party inimical to progress, good governance and the development of Sierra Leone. They will betray the trust of this country and their leadership will have been proven to be traitors and in the event, they will never make for good politicians. The issue at stake is the peace and harmony that Sierra Leoneans now enjoy. This peace is at stake. The development of this Country and the strides made in moving this Country up from the bottom of the UNDP Human Development Index where the Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma met it will be put in serious jeopardy. Sierra Leoneans have a clear choice to determine at the first ballot, or risk being plunged into chaos and disarray. The best option for us is to learn from the history of not only Sierra Leone but those of our neighbors. Traitors do not make good politicians. Those who over throw elected Governments are traitors to democracy…they will never act in the interests of the common man.

The achievements of Ernest Bai Koroma on the other hand speaks for itself. Who will argue that his leadership of this Country has not changed lives and brought hope to many?