Democracy for us in Africa where people do not respect the views of others, poses a big challenge in freely expressing one’s ideas, opinions and views, as well as freely associating with others.
This statement is made with reference to the castigation received by the wife of former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, Mrs. Isata Jabbie Kabbah, for recently making favorable comments about Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara commonly known as JFK.
The attack on Mrs. I J. Kabbah for liberally praising a member of the opposition clearly shows that the SLPP, is not liberal and tolerating enough of dissenting views and opinions to be entrusted with the mantle of State power.
As a true Sierra Leonean who looks at political events objectively and fairly, Mrs. I J. Kabbah recently at a public gathering sincerely opined that notwithstanding her being a member of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party, JFK is a respectable and honorable public figure who is fit to be the country’s next Head of State.
Mrs. I. J. Kabbah’s utterance enraged some supporters of the SLPP to the point of attacking her office and physically attacking people they met there. But for the timely intervention of the police, worst could have happened.
It has amply been proven that presently there is a modicum of free speech, freedom of the Press to criticize government, high tolerance for dissent, but what this singular event of the verbal and physical assault on Mrs. I. J. Kabba shows is that the SLPP has not got the democratic and ethical credential that is necessary to be entrusted with running of the State; given that the country is a multi-party democracy in which the constitution strongly guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of association.
It should be noted that all the political squabbling that has beset the SLPP for many years now stems from the intolerance of its members to opposing views, ideas and opinions, such as the attack on Mrs. I. J. Kabbah. However, freedom of speech and association are essential features of any true democratic society.
This is not the first time that SLPP members are attacking Mrs. I. J. Kabbah and other members of their party for holding opposing views. In the process, many disgusted members have left SLPP to join other parties where they have been received with open hands because politics must be played without tribe, region or political ideology.
Amin Kef Sesay (Ranger)