Funny things about politics. Things seem to happen at the political center – when there is one – but seldom do big things happen because of the center. Political shift are driven by the fringe elements. Sir Governor Clarkson was a wild- eyed goofball abolitionist. But years after his death, the Emancipation Proclamation became the driving force behind retaining the structure of unity in Sierra Leone. Solomon Berewa represented the SLPP in the 2007 and lost the Presidential election. Today’s the SLPP would consider him unacceptable SLPP candidate.

So it pays to keep up with what’s happening on the fringes. Take this one: if not thousands of SLPP supporters are deceived by Abu Bakarr Messeh Kamara {PIPUL PIKIN} that President Koroma “owed” the sum of 3.3 billion dollars meant for the people of Sierra Leone in the fight against Ebola. They believe apparently that this money was appropriated by unspecified source that only Messeh and his SLPP team are knowledgeable of; and that neither the Auditor General Report nor the SLPP Parliamentarian has said anything about it. They believe Messeh, whose best people couldn’t tie their own shoelaces when the outbreak hit our land, is capable of this. There is ample refutation of this stuff; some of it can be traced to the relentless fear monger Maada Bio who relegated himself as just an ordinary tormentor but not a real contender in the last Presidential election against the highly charismatic and outstanding President Ernest Bai Koroma.

The important thing’ though, is not that people in the SLPP believe Messeh and his likes, but that they are prepared, willing and even eager to believe such preposterous claptrap. The distrust of the APC government, among an alarmingly sizable portion of the SLPP population, has risen to pre-revolutionary level. Moreover, this distrust is not purely the product of modern democratic politics. The SLPP distrust every good thing the APC is doing. They even distrust themselves between their leaders. But as much as the SLPP continue to hate the good things the APC government is doing, it clings desperately to the part of their Party.

Arguably, then, we are being held together these days by bitter disagreement.

Honestly, I think that is largely true, and it’s not a good way to continue. The country will work a lot better if people agree more in positive terms, and if we trust the government more; it is, after all, a government we put together through elected representatives, and one which we can change in the same way.

Truth to tell, each side has considerable reason to complain about how the other is or was forcing expenditures of tax Leones. Routine violations of civil liberties and relationships with contractors that looks as ugly as incest. But the APC manifest true sincerity in prosecuting offenders whilst the SLPP papered over their cracks. And that led to the high degree of ineffectiveness, insensitivity, incompetence, mismanagement and share failure on the part of most departments in the then SLPP government. And the Armed Forces and the intelligence agencies failed to do a good job in protecting our physical safety, and the civilian agencies, under tremendous financial stress, are mostly unsuccessful in their mission.

What would the SLPP do?

Execution may be difficult, but good policy is always simple. The prescription is, stop screwing up. Then communicate the success of the APC government work under the exceptional leadership qualities of His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma as well as the failures. Both of these things require political leadership of a kind that simply has been absent for a long time in the SLPP.

By Mahmud Tim Kargbo