From the Editor’s Keyboard

Hindolo Trye Goes APC: A Reaction from Victor Reider (SLPP).

14 June 2006 at 00:55 | 428 views

"Nobody should challenge the choice of anybody including Mr. Trye to choose his political association but what I will contest is the dishonesty that characterises the present endeavour."

The saying that only God and fools don’t change finds expression in the recent preference of Hindolo Trye for the All People’s Congress Party (APC).

Nobody should challenge the choice of anybody including Mr. Trye to choose his political association but what I will contest is the dishonesty that characterises the present endeavour.

I noticed that he has tried to find justification on the weak premise of members of the SLPP who were former members of the APC, implying that the former APC and the current SLPP are one and the same. This is extreme political dishonesty.

To start with, every political system has its ideological foundation however confused it may be. That is why throughout Siaka Steven’s sojourn in the SLPP he found it very difficult to emerge as Leader even when he collaborated with Sir Albert Margai within the splinter People’s National Party (PNP). This was so because the SLPP is a conservative Party founded as a compromise between the docile Creole elements of the then colony and the emerging protectorate elite.

This mixture attracted the colonialists who were anxious to offer conditional independence to Sierra Leone which will enable them to continue enjoying the superior standing they had. Therefore, to maintain the status quo, they needed a right conservative party and that was how the SLPP had the support of the then British colonialists.

Siaka Stevens realized that it would have been impossible for him to take on the leadership of the SLPP after the disappointment he encountered in his alliance with Albert Margai who after winning by a vote the leadership of the SLPP in 1957, allowed age to be the reason why he left it for his elder brother Sir Milton Margai.

Before the pre independence delegation to Lancaster House in England, Mr. Stevens who became a delegate started to campaign for elections before independence which eventually gave birth to the APC after himself, Mohamed Fornah, Ibrahim Taqi and others were detained at the Pademba road Prison on the eve of independence. Mr. Stevens had rejected conditional independence at the Lancaster House meeting.

Once we understand these facts, we know then that the APC was formed as a resistance to conditional independence. al It is also important to know that Mr.Stevens even had to deceive the then socialist bloc countries led by the Soviet Union that the APC was a socialist party. This in itself, should let my readers understand that the APC and the SLPP have never been the same and cannot be the same. They were founded out of different historical circumstances and ideological principles.

Freedom of Association
However, it should be noted that it is the right of every citizen as provided for in our constitution to freely associate. Therefore, if some SLPP members chose to be members of the APC at the fall of the former, that in no way changed the fundamental basis of the SLPP.

On the contrary, these opportunists ended up being collaborators in the destruction that was perpetrated by the APC government. In other words, instead of them changing the APC, it was the APC that obliged them to comport themselves according to the ideological tenets of the latter, which taught them for example, that in an election the physically violent and financially strong should prevail.That the biggest thief should be promoted to enable him/her to steal more. A party which teaches that as long as you can share your loot with the President,you are sure to survive the political tornado. A party whose leadership firmly believed that education was the preserve of the rich and powerful.

Affirmative action
It was against these wretched situation that Mr. Trye led the students of this country to a spontaneous strike that lasted for about 48 hours within which time Siaka Stevens went into hiding. If all was well, I am sure he never would have allowed himself to have been drawn into what later gave him license to become a minister in a junta regime.

APC OR NPRC which is which?

To understand the dishonesty from another perspective, let us briefly compare the APC and the NPRC. Let it be known that if the NPRC that overthrew the APC had done well, the APC would never have been resurrected with a 5% vote in the 1996 Parliamentary elections; talk little about their contesting the said elections.

It is equally important to understand the origin of the NPRC in other to understand its historical role. As a result of the mal governance, ineptitude and callousness of the APC regime, every facet of our socio economic livelihood was negatively affected to the extent that to gain entrance to the military you should either have been a relative of a politician or an appendage of the system. As a result, there was hardly any among the coupists who did not fall in the above category. Thus, as Malcolm X would have aptly put it “it was the chicken coming home to roost” as the beneficiaries descended on their benefactors on that fateful day.

By 1992, a year after the start of the war; it was long enough for the ill equipped soldiers at the battle front to understand that the real enemies were not the misguided rebels but the backward oligarchy in Freetown. Therefore, it was not surprising when on April 29, 1992 what started as a mutiny of deprived soldiers ended up bringing down one of the most oppressive regimes in Africa. A regime that has resisted democratic change fell in two hours from the moment the boys realized that it was not as strong as it portrayed itself. That it was used to brutalizing innocent and defenseless women, children and adult males with impunity did not in any way give them strength. On the contrary, it rendered them completely isolated and weak without any support from the people.

Hence, the jubilation that followed its fall. The euphoria was so prolonged that the citizenry failed to recognize the danger of having to be governed by very young and inexperienced soldiers most of who were to sleep in comfortable houses for the first time in their lives. Ride their first car which cost they did little to know. Have their first dates with presentable ladies arranged for them by people who were supposed to properly guide them into the things they ought not to do and those they were to have done.

The shepherds
When all is said and done, the soldiers of the NPRC regime had the good fortune to have been shepherded by very ‘revolutionary’ comrades among who was the great Hindolo Trye. As we all know, he served as the information Minister in the junta where I am sure he will agree with me that perhaps the only things he achieved were to get an advert against the dangers of cigarette smoking on radio and a Freetown television station that was brought about by the NPRC’S relationship with Frank Yui, a Chinese con man who was among those who brought embarrassment to our CountRy in Hong Kong where he was wanted.

In any case that is not the issue now; the issue clearly is the attempt by Mr. Trye to equate the APC which he revolted against to the present SLPP.

In our bid to compare the APC and the NPRC, we note that the war which was one of the pretexts for the coup, reached Waterloo when the latter were in control.

The standard of living dropped to an all time low. Workers went without salaries for months on end. Corruption that was already instutionalised was further enhanced since nobody had the guts to query the junta operatives. They were busy scooping all that was left over from the APC reign. The schools system collapsed, to the point that we spoke little or noting about such important social necessities as our preoccupation became to end the war which they had completely lost control over.

If it were not for God Almighty, Bintumani 1 and 11 and the February 26 demonstration of the women, we probably would have been longer under the yoke of the regime as they tried to maneuver and manipulate our people to no avail.

First, it was a palace coup in which Captain Strasser was thrown out for Maada Bio who attempted to get support for his peace before election call that fell into deaf ears as the people were determined to have elections at all cost. He eventually conceded and the nightmare passed only to be recalled in history.

The regime was that reckless, callous and insensitive to the welfare of the people to the extent that APC operatives started saying that they were better off and personalities like Eddie Turay, Serry Kamal etc had the courage to face the People and were able to have 5% votes in 1996 general elections which exonerated their party that Hindolo Trye is now not surprisingly proud to be a member of.

No surprise
It would have surprised me if Mr. Trye had opted for the SLPP, basically because from the above it is clear that between the APC and the NPRC, the former is the better of two evils. And both can in no way compare with the SLPP whose record before the advent of the APC in 1968 and its second inning in 1996 is unprecedented in the area of governance in Sierra Leone. But Mr. Tyre would prefer a regime where accountability is absent. Where there is no direction, and recognition is based on how much praise singing you are able to do. A government that will not account to the people through elections. A system where competition is absent...etc

In any case, while we look forward to every Sierra Leonean joining our party, we would prefer those who understand the basics about politics and not those whose only claim to politics is to have led a spontaneous demonstration.

National Publicity Secretary- SLPP.

Photo: The author