From the Editor’s Keyboard

The elections are over, let’s get back to work

14 August 2008 at 04:53 | 510 views

Commentary

By Gibril Koroma
Editor/Publisher

There was yet again another clash between APC and SLPP supporters in Freetown Wednesday morning. Details were sketchy but I hear that alleged APC supporters dressed in black (why not red?) invaded the SLPP office in the city, which apparently houses the SLPP radio station, and started hitting left, right and centre. The SLPP supporters allegedly counter-attacked although we are told an SLPP radio announcer was at one point heard shrieking for help.

All this is sad and pointless in a country that has been brought to its knees by a devastating war and rising global food prices. I simply find it pitiful that supporters of both parties could spend so much time attacking each other when they should be at work. I presume they are mostly unemployed individuals or students waiting for schools and colleges to reopen in September.

I don’t like too much partying and celebrating. Sierra Leoneans will celebrate for almost anything:apart from the usual birthday and wedding celebrations, Sierra Leoneans will celebrate for things like an appointment,buying a new car, a new house, a promotion,a transfer to another city, the homecoming of a relative from abroad, a visit from the president or a minister in some city, etc, etc. The most common celebration that will send most Sierra Leoneans into throes of ecstasy is an election victory.

Now I am not a spoilsport(although some people say I tend to be too serious at times) but I frankly find this orgy of celebration among some Sierra Leoneans very annoying. To make matters worse it’s usually during election celebrations that political party supporters clash and harm each other.

I therefore call on party leaders in Sierra Leone(all political parties) to restrain their supporters and to in fact limit the number of celebrations and urge their supporters to find something useful to do with their lives. Our country does not need this senselessness. There is nothing to celebrate yet. Let me know when Bumbuna is completed or when SLPP launches a massive scholarship program and I will celebrate with you.

The elections are over, now is the time to do some serious work. Elections are just catalysts for change, most of the work comes after the votes are counted and the winner is declared.

The ruling APC and their supporters have a lot of work to do to transform their party and bring hope and joy to the rest of the country after the tragedy of the past.

The opposition SLPP has even more work on it’s plate: they not only need to contribute to national development in and out of parliament but to also see to it that peace and tranquility and good governance are maintained by the current government without recourse to violence in word or deed. They also need to strategically prepare themsleves for the next elections which are a couple of years down the road.

One way both political parties can reduce the number of clashes is to make sure that party supporters do not unnecessarily congregate in party offices with nothing to do. Idle hands are prone to mischief. I will also be very grateful if they could reduce the number of party celebrations and processions. I think they can do that if they want to, but I doubt it. Party celebrations are a legitimate way to spend party funds and pocket the extras.

I would finally like to appeal to all political party leaders to be very careful with the way they use the media especially the electronic media (radio and television). Unprofessional and negative use of the media can easily destroy a country. Make sure you have mature and experienced professionals running your radio stations, for your own sake and for the sake of the country. A radio station with negative or unprofessional people is like a bomb in the hands of monkeys.

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