IN DESPERATION! Neocolonial government of Sierra Leone bans African People’s Socialist Party

The Interim Leadership Committee of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) of Sierra Leone wishes it to be known that the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) of Sierra Leone has ultimately banned the African People’s Socialist Party and its membership from participating in any political activity in the country in the name of the APSP.
This decision of the PPRC was contained in a public statement issued on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 and widely disseminated through radio stations and other forms of media across the country.
The statement, according to the PPRC, was to inform the “entire citizenry of this country that no such association has ever registered with the PPRC to function as a political party neither has the commission been contacted by Mr. Bah and his group for registering a political party.”
The PPRC also claimed that it was not aware of the existence of the African People’s Socialist Party and it is dismayed that the party’s leadership has used the media in Sierra Leone to propagate the existence of the APSP in Sierra Leone.
The Interim Leadership Committee of the African People’s Socialist Party however views the statement from the PPRC as completely unfortunate and a direct infringement on our democratic rights. We believe that the current decision of the PPRC to ban the APSP from participating in political activity in Sierra Leone is not independent of the designs of the neocolonial political elites of Sierra Leone to utilize institutions and legislations to suppress the genuine desires and aspirations of our people to overcome the poverty and under-development perpetuated in our various communities by the very middle class politicians.
It should be remembered that the PPRC statement against the APSP came in the wake of a sustained campaign by the APSP against the newly imposed tax legislation on the people of Sierra Leone by the APC-led government of Ernest Bai Koroma.
The new tax policy, a Goods and Services Tax, increases by 15 percent the prices of all essential goods and services in the country, and has been vehemently rejected by the workers and peasants whose conditions remain miserable and poor due to the policies and programs of middle class politicians in power.
The African People’s Socialist Party initiated a campaign that exposed the new tax legislation as part of a deliberate decision by the neocolonial government of Ernest Koroma to further worsen and deepen the poverty and hardship facing the majority of the masses across the country.
The APSP has been calling for an investigation of officials of the National Revenue Authority who are responsible for collecting taxes and revenue and for a public disclosure of the total value of the revenue generated from taxes to be made public so as to determine whether tax monies have been used for national development or benefited only the middle class politicians.
“A public disclosure of the total amount of revenue collected by the National Revenue Authority during the last two years should be made public so as to allow the tax-paying masses the opportunity to independently determine whether the value of the taxes paid during such a period has been sufficiently and reasonably used to provide the much needed social services required for economic growth and national development,” the APSP has demanded.
Apart from being the first and only political party that called for the reversal of the new tax policy, the APSP was the only political organization that genuinely and effectively articulated the interest and aspiration of the many workers and peasants of Sierra Leone whose voices and interests are never considered by the political elites when formulating policies.
The effectiveness of the APSP’s position even warranted the World Bank, IMF, DFID, EU and the many imperialist organizations operating in Sierra Leone to issue a joint communiqué challenging the APSP’s position and supporting the efforts of the neocolonial government of Sierra Leone to impose the new tax legislation.
On Monday January 11, 2010, the African People’s Socialist Party also issued another public statement denouncing the joint efforts of the international financial institutions to aid the implementation of the new tax legislation in Sierra Leone.
The APSP stated that the decision of whether a tax policy is appropriate and acceptable should not fall within the mandate of international bureaucrats but the citizens of Sierra Leone.
The statement equally called on officials of the World Bank, DFID, EU and their multinational partners in Sierra Leone to hands off our economy and stop forcing and pressing for the implementation of economic programs in African communities that undermine the progress and development of our people.
Consequently, it was becoming clearer that the APSP was not only at war with the neocolonial political elite but was in direct confrontation with the representatives of the very imperialist countries that single-handedly control our economy and continuously loot our resources.
The PPRC statement and decision to ban the APSP and its membership from participating in any political activity in Sierra Leone came a few hours after the Party expressed concerns over the efforts of international financial institutions to forcefully aid the implementation of the new tax legislation on the people of Sierra Leone.
This is why we believe that the PPRC has not acted independently and that its decision to ban the APSP represents a direct response to our position on a government tax policy that has been overwhelmingly rejected by the masses. 
While the PPRC claims that it is banning the APSP simply because the party has undertaken political activity without being registered by the commission, the APSP believes that this position is politically dishonest and incorrect.
It could be remembered that the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) of Charles Francis Margai, which is a break-away faction of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), existed for months and held several discussions and a number of media-related activities including interviews with the BBC before it was formally registered by the PPRC.   The PPRC never raised any alarms and never complained simply because the PMDC is a product of the same middle class.
Besides, news about the formation of a workers party has been going around Sierra Leone even before the three-day national consultative conference of November 2009 which resolved around the building of the APSP. Several press conferences and radio discussions were held in Freetown and Makeni around the formation of the APSP in Sierra Leone.
The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) never expressed concerns about the APSP or any of its activities. The PPRC’s concerns only came when the APSP introduced a sustained campaign against a particular government policy that has been overwhelmingly rejected by the masses of Sierra Leone. The PPRC resolved to invoke the existing legislations that are a hindrance to national democratic rights against the APSP only after the Party challenged the forceful efforts of imperialist organizations to enforce repugnant policies on the African workers and peasants of Sierra Leone.
This we feel is completely unacceptable and unjustifiable. It represents an open aggression against the democratic rights of workers and poor peasants who have suffered continuously and consistently from oppressive and exploitative policies of middle class politicians aided and abetted by imperialist organizations.  
We therefore call on all freedom loving Africans from across the world to challenge this undemocratic decision of the PPRC and to struggle against all efforts to freeze the genuine desires and aspirations of the African working class and poor peasants to break free from this ongoing relationship of exploitation, greed and political repression.
The African People’s Socialist Party of Sierra Leone surely represents the exact and correct willingness and determination of the working class to challenge the suffocating and blemished petty bourgeois leadership of Africa that has sold out our resources and future to a consortium of imperialist nations and organizations.
The African working class must become the ruling class and the APSP is the only force capable of leading the charge towards the actualization of this historic political mission. We must defend and protect the APSP and its membership.
Forward to a socialist democracy in Sierra Leone.


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