Sierra Leone Peoples Party and Sierra Leone
A Sierra Leonean Online:
A little over a month since the elections we've had a lot of academic analysis on why the SLPP [Sierra Leone Peoples Party] lost. Very impressive displays of our best intellect.
However, I’ve learnt that people rarely make decisions based on intelligence and logic; emotion has a lot to play when choosing a leader.
SLPP lost simply because they failed to listen to the people. Taking the voters for granted after being in power for a while is a political disease so easy to catch and SLPP is no exception.
After Kabbah’s successes, especially ending the war, they failed to recognise that people were disappointed with his second term. To the ordinary man the war was over but there was no progress. Simple.
They failed to listen that people didn’t want the shadow of military coups in our future and that Maada Bio would be a hard sell.
Even then, they might have stood a chance if they hadn't embarked on the most disastrous campaign ever. Everyone deserves a second chance and people are willing to forgive youthful mistakes. He [Bio] needed to reinvent himself completely and convince people that he had matured since the NPRC [National Provisional Ruling Council] days. He needed to focus on what he’d achieved since then, give his commitment to democracy and accept that coups were not the best solution. Instead they justified the very things that people didn’t want and tried to airbrush the period.
Online, instead of providing evidence of corruption and incompetence in Koroma’s government they spent hours photo shopping silly pictures of Koroma and preaching to the converted. The entire campaign team should be sacked for doing such a bad job.
Sierra Leoneans are not stupid and no one likes being taken for a fool.
Maada himself failed to see the damage his appointment caused his party and failed to heal the wounds within He couldn’t stop the flow of key members to APC [All Peoples Congress] and no matter how you analyse it, what people see is that he can’t unite his party so he wont unite the nation. It's that simple.
Most of all, SLPP has failed to shake of the feeling that it is tribal. Even the appointment of a northerner as running mate was not enough as people just saw it as meaningless gesture. It still fails to appeal beyond its strongholds on both grass roots level and educated level.
In Freetown with the highest concentration of education they couldn't win a seat. All the factual evidence they quote to disprove this is irrelevant. People still think it is a Mende party. Simple.
In short they lost because they failed to listen and consistently misjudged the pulse of the nation on every level. The academics can argue till the cows come home and give evidence why this is not true but it doesn't change how people feel.
President Koroma won, and remains extremely popular. He worked hard to win. His campaign went to the most remote villages and he appealed to the undecided voter. People like to feel they’re considered important. A few days before election the most apolitcal person sent me an email about his Agenda for Prosperity. Koroma speaks to the emotions.
Maybe all SLPP needs to do is listen to the people of Sierra Leone and start speaking to their hearts. It is after all the SIERRA LEONES PEOPLES PARTY