By Abdulai Mansaray…..
If social media is anything to go by, the SLPP is well and truly wallowing in a sea of corruption allegations. Considering that the fight against corruption was, and has been President Bio’s prime policy, the ironies and implications cannot be clearer. Central to the recent allegations is his wife, the First Lady H.E Fatima Bio who had hitherto, personified the adage “behind every successful man is a woman”. But recent events seem to conjure the images of Samson and Delilah, Adam and Eve, and most recently Mugabe and “Gucci Grace”. But that is for another day.
But it is against this background that the creation of a National Union of SLPP Lecturers will be discussed. Reports reaching this press indicate that over 65 lecturers convened at MMCET campus on Saturday 6th February, to elect Professor Nonie as chairman of the union. According to information, this union was composed of “lecturers across all tertiary institutions within the Western area”. The aim was to “resuscitate SLPP clusters among lecturers in colleges and universities. The meeting was attended by Amb. Dr Kapuwa, the Political Adviser to President Bio, who advised the group “to be proud of their party affiliation and support the vision of President Bio as leader of the SLPP”. I feel the same………but with a difference.
The interim executive includes Mr Abdulai Brima (Vice Chair), Alhaji M Javombo (Sec-Gen), Dr Alpheaus Koroma (PRO), Dr Joe Moiba (Ast. Sec-Gen), Mr Alex Thomas (Org Sec) and Dr Charles Joe Silva (Adviser). By any standards, this is a formidable group that can pass for a think tank. Let me hasten to remind the readers that like any other citizen, this group individually and collectively deserves and reserves the right to belong to any political party of their choice.
What makes this one different is their position as lecturers in our institutions. To all intents and purposes, these are people who do not only occupy very important roles in our society, but also carry tremendous clout as midwives of our future leaders. They occupy the very nexus of our society and all that the future represents. These are people who pass as architects of our youth and future leaders of our nation.
So, what is the intention or aim of this group, taking into consideration their positions in our society? Is the SLPP embarking on creating an indoctrination camp in our educational system and institutions?
Just like the Communist Party in China, is the SLPP trying to replicate the Chinese Uighur concentration camps; to re-educate and indoctrinate our children into the SLPP mythology? Have these people really thought out the implications of such a dangerous and nation breaking idea? Whose political wet dream was this anyway?
In order to grasp the short sightedness of such an embarrassing and dangerous endeavour, let us use the current sociological and modus operandi in our country as a backdrop. It is unquestionable that at no point has our country been so regrettably divided in purpose and vision. The SLPP can shout to the rafters about its “One people, One Country” mantra, but this recent attempt could not be father from the truth. Against the cesspit of allegations of tribalism, nepotism, regionalism and many more, our country has become so divided that we are gradually losing the collective ability to see the good in others. We now find ourselves in a country where the colour of your T-shirt is enough to castigate you as an opposition member. Even our houses are now designated along party lines; thanks to the colour of the roof on your house. If I had to wear a red shirt, I have to make sure it has the Manchester United logo; to avoid being tagged as a paid-up APC member. How pathetic.
Universities and many other educational institutions have always had groups as microcosms of the national political landscape. Political parties have always seen such institutions as breeding grounds, factory outlets and production lines for their prospective and future leaders. These institutions have been very good recruiting sergeants for political parties world wide. In my day and even before that, we had APC student branches all over the country; thanks to the one-party state at the time. We had lecturers like Dr A. K. Turay, lawyer Gabbidon, Wiltshire Johnson, etc who later became core members of the failed Momoh government. But unlike what we are seeing now with the SLPP, there was never a formal or official union, group, or otherwise of lecturers designated with political party affiliations or loyalties. These individuals, like any other citizen were members in their own right.
So, when you have a group of lecturers officially moonlighting as foot soldiers of a given party, what message would they be sending to the students; considering that the student bodies usually carry the most diversified political schisms across board? What would an officially card carrying SLPP lecturer say to an APC supporting student? Let us imagine that the APC student fails a subject taught by such an SLPP lecturer. Try proving the implausibility of that student’s allegation that he failed because he is an APC member. Are we to expect admission forms to require students to declare their political affiliations? Are scholarships, internships going to be dependent on political affiliations? Will students be required to wear party colours as uniform to classes? How will these lecturers treat SLPP and APC supporting students? Equal?
Universities, colleges and institutions like all public sectors are broad churches, and by implication should be run without favour or bias. Our lecturers and teachers should be our surrogate parents who treat their children without bias. How will these lecturers demonstrate such fairness with such political badges of honour? Where will this stop, or are we about to see the University of SLPP soon? Living in a country where even the weather is discussed along party political lines, is the SLPP ready to take such an unfortunate situation right into the very essence of our society? How low is the SLPP ready to go? Are we ready to transplant such regrettable divisions from the general political canopy onto the offshoots of our innocent fledglings?
No one needs a reminder that “the foundation of every nation is the education of its youth”. President Bio and the SLPP should know better; that the beginning of every government starts with the education of our youth. But in educating their minds, we should not forget to educate their hearts too; and “BAD HEART” is not one of them. Educating our youth should not only serve as the key to “social inclusion” but also for development and peace. This Union of SLPP lecturers will not and will never do that for our youth in particular and our nation in general.
The proper and unadulterated higher education of our youth is very critical to our collective success or failure as a nation. We should use our educational systems as the foundation of our future; to empower our youths and embolden them to make their choices, as they chase their dreams. Our educational system and institutions should not be used as indoctrination camps for any political acolytes. As a nation, and as a people, our future lies in the hopes of our youths. Any attempt to contaminate such youthful dreams will lead to the replacement of an open mind with a contaminated version.
The SLPP and the Bio government must remember that as a nation, we are just about familiarising ourselves with the concept of democracy. It is still in its embryonic stage. The beauty in democracy is the reason why Bio is the President of our country today. In America, we just witnessed Donald Trump’s blatant and reckless assault on democracy. President Bio and his acolytes cannot unleash such an assault on democracy by stealth. This Union of SLPP Lecturers is an insidious assault on our newly found democracy. It is communist in nature, communist by design and Communist in aims.
Our country is already too infested with palpable divisions. By planting the seeds of divisions at the very foundation and nexus of our future will only plunge us into uncharted and dangerous territory. To all intents and purposes, this is a political wet dream; and it should remain as that; A wet dream. For the sake of our nation, for the sake of posterity, and for the sake of “One Country, One People”, please disband, abandon and discard this unwise idea to the waste basket of ideologies; where it belongs. The last things we want to see are Taiama University of SLPP, Bombali Higher Institute of APC, C4C Kono College of Mineralogy or NGC College of Agriculture.
As for these lecturers, and as said earlier, they have every right to join any political party. This includes forming a Union of SLPP supporters. But when you add LECTURERS to that name, it takes a menacingly and dangerous nomenclature. It becomes a contradiction in terms. By the way, we already have a union of SLPP Lecturers. We call them Ministers or MPs. And they don’t lecture in universities and colleges. They lecture in parliament and constituencies. This Think Tank, which is what it is, doesn’t need a Union of Lecturers to support our Dear Leader. Let’s leave that to Kim Jong-Un and Xi Jinping. I know of better ways to serve the Dear Leader, without jeopardising our nation. How long have you got?
Don’t forget to turn the lights off when you leave the room.
Copyright: Abdulai Mansaray.