As difficult as finding solutions to solve the APC’s internal issues will be, and as difficult as this flagbearership choosing process will be, it is setting the stage for an era in which cooperation supplants the division that for too long has held this almighty APC party back.
One of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s best known Sherlock Holmes stories involves the famous sleuth solving a mystery by noting the significance of the dog that didn’t bark in the night. A dog that doesn’t bark, we learn, is sometimes as worthy of attention as one that does.
As with dogs, so it is with humans. Among the most meaningful platforms by the All People’s Congress (APC) Party flag bearer aspirants is Richard Konteh’s Unifier Campaign. He is truly a unifier, even following the series of small wins he is currently making, his lack of triumphalism is something to recognize. Rather he will go out of his way to set a conciliatory tone, pledging to fight for unity, progress and social justice in the APC, and that he and his Unifier team would welcome good ideas advanced by all camps and interests.
It is no secret that polarization and divisiveness have been major obstacles to progress for all interests and camps in the APC party, and in this country too. Imagine how much more we could achieve if the energies that have historically been directed to fomenting discord were redirected to pursuing collaborative strategies and finding common solutions. Now, with the Unifier’s philosophy, it appears that conditions are ripe for this possibility to become reality.
Never has the need for collaboration and working in unity been greater. In addition to the serious challenges the APC is facing internally, externally, the governing party in power is aggressively trying to undermine any progress involving the APC. As for our people, many have been crippled, and their livelihoods destroyed by countless job losses. COVID-19 has weakened our social fabric and exposed deep inequalities within our country. Responding to these challenges, while addressing other urgent priorities, such as countering climate change, advancing education, healthcare, and building a prosperous economy, is a herculean undertaking that will demand the combined resolve and collective energies of all Sierra Leoneans.
For this to happen, however, will require leadership from the APC. Drawing upon the thinking of a new wave of progressive thinkers such as Dr. Richard Konteh, the APC party needs to embrace a vision and strategy that combines a strong commitment to national unity, equality, a robust and sustainable economic growth with an equally strong commitment to allocating a significant share of the resulting gains to address social needs.
For too many years the APC party has been caught in a vicious circle characterized by a zero-sum mentality that assumes the only way for some to win is for others to lose. This, in turn, has deepened divisions and impeded collaborative efforts to grow the party and the economic pie for the benefit of all.
Not only has this approach been counterproductive, but many of the conflicts to which it has given rise are based upon false choices. Studies show that in-fighting within a party, divided camps, and social inequality are impediments to victory and economic growth.
With good leadership, the APC party has the opportunity to govern again in 2023. Fortunately, the party has the experience and means to achieve this. APC has been a trailblazer in demonstrating the power and potential of collaborative decision-making processes in difficult areas of public policy. Through deliberative engagement, such processes always enable diverse players to better understand and accommodate each other’s needs in pursuit of common solutions that advance their own interests while fulfilling the party’s overall objectives.
Finding opportunity in adversity is the essence of great politics, this is why Richard Konteh’s Unifier campaign is getting better everyday. As difficult as finding solutions to solve the APC’s internal issues will be, and as difficult as this flagbearer choosing process will be, it is setting the stage for an era in which co-operation supplants the division that for too long has held this almighty APC back. But it won’t happen on its own. The dogs of political polarization might not be barking at present, but they will start again if we let this occasion pass us by.
What is needed now is for the APC party to seize the moment by initiating a deliberative process that draws upon the current goodwill of Richard Konteh’s Unifier Campaign and other interests to develop a shared agenda for party unity, equality, economic prosperity and social progress for all.