Wednesday, 14 August 2013


 The real 'Peoples Party' was formed by a Creole Reverend from Gloucester (Up Hill - Mountain District) called Reverend Etheldred Nathanniel JONES - born 28 June1884. He changed his name in the early 1920 to 'LAMINA SANKOH' because he believed that all SIERRA LEONE must be ONE; Colony & Protectorate. So in 1948, he founded 'The PEOPLES PARTY'. He was educated both in the CMS Grammar School and the Albert Academy and then Fourah Bay College & Oxford. There was big conflict between Colony & Protectorate after 1945 end of World War 11; so he joined the race and was elected into Freetown City Council which he helped reformed, published radical articles through his Newspaper, "The African Vanguard". The country was divided, but, Lamina Sankoh had the courage to stand his ground that Sierra Leone was 'ONE COUNTRY' - all inhabitants were 'ONE PEOPLE'. So he agreed with the other existing upland party- "The Sierra Leone Organisation Society"(SLOS) and merger to become "The Sierra Leone Peoples Party" and his Newspaper became the first SLPP Newspaper. This change of name by Creole people for the sake of 'country unity' was common: the first Krio-man to get a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of London WILIAM J. DAVIES, changed his name to ORISHATUKAH FADUMA , and they even began to dress like protectorate people- all for One Country, One People. This was all in the light of constitutional changes in the country at that time. There was "the Protectorate Assembly" (PA) which was to be embedded in the constitution with seats in the Legislative Council that will give them majority seats of 14 out of 30. Governor Stevenson was not taken kindly by the conservative / traditionalist Creoles like Dr H C Bankole- Bright. But you have radicals like Mr ITA Wallace-Johnson and his Youth League. Bitter conflicts (not violent) grew between Protectorate pressure groups and intellectuals, like the Protectorate Educational Progressive Union (PEPU) and the Sierra Leone Organisation Society (SLOS) of Milton Margai and John Karefa-Smart against the traditional elite Creoles facing tribal loyalties and animosities of their opponents in the protectorate. But the SLOS and the PEPU were not at all unified: one dominated by intellectuals, the other by Chiefs. Only Madam Ella Koblo Gulama's dad, Chief Julius Gulama of Moyamba, the Protectorate's most conspicuous illuminati belonged to both the PEPU & SLOS groups and at the same time being the President of the SLOS. Other elites in the mix included Mr. Doyle Sumner, John Karefa-Smart, Siaka Stevens (a founder member of the SLOS & hailed from Chief Gulama's chiefdom attended the Albert Academy and studied in Oxford in 1946), Ahmad Wurie (commonly known as A D Wurie - Bo School) and A J Momoh-later most TOP Civil Servant and the very young F S Anthony-agronomist - who wrote critical pamphlets and credited, together with Doyle Sumner, of spreading trade unionism within the Teaching Profession and educational progress for protectorate men in the late 1940s and, one time High Commissioner to UK - Freetown born Mr Alex Cotay (A B Cotay, an adoptive interlander and editor of the Bo Newspaper- the Sierra Leone Observer and big in the SLOS.
The SLOS group saw themselves as fighting for democracy (whatever that meant then) for the "common people of the Protectorate who are taxpayers and are entitled to more representation" than the Chiefs in the PA and the type of indirect elections that was proposed then was not to their satisfaction.
Eventually after a lot of acrimony the two groups merged to become the Sierra Leone 'Protectorate' Party in 1951: major concession of principles by the SLOS was shown to the PEPU due to the persuasive nature of both Chief Gulama and Dr Milton Margai. But this alliance had all the hallmarks and seen as a 'Protectorate Party' reflecting the divide and emphasising the polarities between the Colony with its own Creole elite Party "The National Council of Colony of Sierra Leone (and Wallace- Johnson's input with his Youth league) and the Protectorate. But thanks to LAMINA SANKOH - (Rev E N JONES): the vision of unity and name - SIERRA LEONE PEOPLES PARTY (SLPP) were owed to the importance of this intellectually impressive Creole man from the Mountain District, the Founder of 'The PEOPLES PARTY' in 1949, who had the conviction and belief that Sierra Leone is ONE COUNTRY, ONE PEOPLE. So the S L P P does not belong to any one TRIBE or GROUP or SECTION or DISTRICT in Sierra Leone. NOTE THIS:
" The S L P P that fought the 1951 election was an impressively variated patchwork. Its leadership included representatives of chiefs, intellectuals, populists, Christians, Muslims, Creoles and all the major tribal groupings. To its credit, the party won two seats in the Colony, as well as gaining both seats at the Protectorate Assembly's disposal (won by Milton Margai and Siaka Stevens) and four of the seats in the gift of District Councils. An absolute majority in the legislature was secured by wheeler-dealing and winning over of Independents after the election - a skill in which Milton Margai always excelled. Thus, when the first native [i.e. Sierra Leonean] Executive Council members were sworn in two years later, all six new ministers were SLPP men - two with an Organisation Society [SLOS] background, two from the Peoples Party and two from the PEPU - Siaka Stevens's Portfolio was Land, Labour, and Mines."

 But what are the characteristics of today's SLPP? Violence, Tribalism, Regionalism! Pa-o-pa politics, with no vision! Like naughty school boys and girls, the SLPP leadership had to be called up to the 'Head Master's Office' for a 'telling - off: 'behave yourselves or you will be punished'! What a far cry from the SLOS, the PEPU, the PA days! What has gone wrong with the Sierra Leone Peoples Party? A blames B, B blames C, all the way to X blaming Y, Y blaming Z and Z blaming A- and the merry-go-round starts all over again. The Spirits of the Founder Members of all sections, religion, tribes, districts, ability, chiefs, locals will be saddened to see from their resting places, this Tom foolery that is taken place in the 'school grounds' of a Political Party that is supposed to be RESPONSIBLE with educated and elitist membership among their Rank an file!

No comments:

Post a Comment