For the past four years, if not longer, the main opposition party in Sierra Leone – the Sierra Leone People’s party (SLPP) has been tearing itself apart, as various factions within the party fight to take over its leadership.
This internecine war has led to costly and length court battles, prompting questions about the party’s ability to defeat the ruling APC at the polls in 2018, and their preparedness and seriousness to govern the country.
But as the bitter struggle for power moved from the party headquarters in Freetown to the court house, all sides have realised that, whilst preoccupied with destroying each other, president Koroma and his ruling party are busy carving up the country in advance of the 2018 elections.
In the greater scheme of things, when faced with the big picture as to what matters most to an opposition political party, petty constitutional squabbles about who makes the cup of tea and who drinks from which cup, pales into insignificance.
An opposition party must look and sound like a government in waiting. And if it cannot do just that, then its relevance to the people of Sierra Leone, 80% of whom are living in abject poverty – with no water and electricity, must be questioned.
Recent squabbles about who is a member of the party and who is not – and how long they have been a member before having the temerity to want to lead the party, is nothing but a village mentality that should have no place in a modern political institution.
Attempt by party bosses to bar members that are living and working abroad from contesting leadership elections, whilst accepting their hard earned cash, which keeps the party afloat, is nothing short of self-destructiveness.
The need for the country’s Party Political Registration Commission (PPRC) to step in as an arbitrator, to help resolve dispute about constitutional changes aimed at creating an apartheid system within the party, could easily and sensibly have been avoided, had the party bosses and their warring factions focused on what mattered most.