THE SIERRA LEONE PEOPLE’S PARTY: PHILOSOPHY AND POLICY DIRECTION
“A NEW DIRECTION FOR A BETTER SIERRA LEONE”
The Sierra Leone People’s Party’s overriding philosophy of a unified Sierra Leone is enshrined in its motto of “One Country, One People” and is supported by the Party’s ideological brand of “Social Democracy” which seeks to merge the effectiveness of the private and market economy initiative with the compassion of state intervention in protecting the vulnerable and the marginalized in society and ensuring optimal production and wealth creation whilst assuring social justice.
It is this ideology that will inform the economic and social programmes of future SLPP Governments and one on which our future manifesto will be based.
The Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) is committed to uprooting injustice in all its plenitude and alleviating poverty in our society. The SLPP in Government laid the rudiments and structures that brought serenity to war ravaged Sierra Leone and set our nation on the path of democratic rule and political stability. These assurances form the core of the Party’s ideological base as a “Social Democratic” Party.
Since its exit from power into opposition in 2007, the SLPP has redeployed its efforts to extend its “umbrella” role as a unifier of this nation, and to restructure its social contract with the people of Sierra Leone in terms of the social, cultural, economic, educational and political dimensions within the context of a multi-party and multi-ethnic environment.
The SLPP as a ‘social democratic’ party will assiduously work towards the attainment of “A Better Sierra Leone” adopting “A New Direction” and guided by the following principles:
- A lean and cost effective government machinery and a diminution of the complex legal and regulatory processes that restrict and blunt entrepreneurial initiatives;
- A private sector - led growth bolstered by public-private sector partnerships to protect the vast majority of our working people, consumers and small and medium scale enterprises;
- A sustainable rural agricultural policy that is driven by the immense proficiency and productivity of our scientific research institutions and an amalgamation of the astuteness of our farmers and the business ingenuity of our entrepreneurs;
- Quality education, health care, child care and the provision of other social services for all persons through social partnerships with strategic stakeholders;
- A reasoned tax regime that emerges out of consultation and is driven by a common upliftment, mutuality of interest, recognition of our inherent interdependence, willingness on the part of all to make a little sacrifice for the common good, and maturity in pursuing the attainment of a higher purpose;
- A sharpened and sustained attack on poverty and the assurance of a more productive life for the vulnerable and the marginalized through a system of credible social safety nets;
- An economic development agenda that efficiently and gainfully manages our mineral, petroleum and other resources, protects the integrity of our environment and takes advantage of the fast growing green markets in recognition of the immense benefits of the rural economy;
- Policies to promote national unity and stability
- A commitment to our international and regional obligations; and
- The promotion of peaceful relations with our neighbours and the rest of the world.
As a social democratic party, the SLPP believes in the ‘equality and uncensored treatment of all persons with respect to their political, social, economic and religious relations in a multi-party, multi ethnic environment; a commitment to progressive politics; the protection of the deprived and the upliftment of the socially disadvantaged.’
The significance of this belief rests in the party’s penchant to project plans and programmes that addresses the numerous social ills presently afflicting mother Sierra Leone. Our brand of social democracy denotes taking seriously issues of social advancement, especially in education, health, sanitation, water, housing, electricity and poverty alleviation as crippling barriers to progress for the vast majority of our people.
The SLPP while in power from 1996 to 2007 sought to address our nation’s infrastructural development, which had suffered from neglect and destruction as a result of years of one party dictatorship and civil conflict, as a necessity for economic recovery. In doing so the Party took the cue from the outgoing NPRC regime whose major achievement was arresting the then ongoing rapid social and economic decline and the initiation of a process of economic, social and political recovery.
The task of infrastructure development is an ongoing process. The blueprint for this, which was drawn up by the SLPP and which the present APC government seems to grudgingly accept, and therefore haphazardly follow will, with adequate revision, continue to be the road map for the nation’s urgent physical infrastructure development.
Sierra Leone has reached the crossroads at which it needs to respond to a number of critical issues raised by the following existing facts:
- Our historic underdevelopment;
- The nature of the global economy which confines our nation to a raw material producing corner and literally confiscates the fruits of our labour in a market place defined as free by the wealthy nations which ignore their own definitions.
- A dwindling natural resource base;
- A reluctant foreign investor mood which sees Africa as a major risk area for long-term investment except for the type that will exploit resources, make a quick kill, take the money and run;
- An economy that is donor driven and a nation that lacks economic independence;
- A world whose attention and resources have been shifted from a concentration on the war on AIDS, malaria and the problems of Africa’s economic development to the war on terror, relegating Africa’s problems and concerns to the background.
Our Party’s ‘social democracy’ imposes on us the responsibility to provide for our people the basic amenities of life at affordable costs and guarantee employment to those who are willing and able to work. We will give to future generations a strong foundation in community responsibility through strengthening and expanding each one’s contribution to the various entities of governance and institutions that dispense social justice, ensures fair play and guarantee that each citizen benefits from his or her labour whether he or she is a farmer, street cleaner, a doctor, petty trader, nurse, miner or an engineer.
This notion of social equity must infiltrate into the various organs of state, especially those charged with dispensing justice to every person, and guarantee him or her security of life, limb and property whether it is within a one-room apartment or a mansion on the hills overlooking Freetown.
This is what SLPP’s ‘Social Democracy’ is all about. This will be the foundation stone of our programme for the nation when we assume office in December 2011 or January 2012. It is on this rock of ideas and social commitment that the “new direction” will be based and which will help us build ‘ a better Sierra Leone’ for our people who are today suffering under a Government bereft of ideas, trapped in corruption, nepotism, regionalism, inertia, incompetence, mendacity, mediocrity and selfish self-aggrandisement.