Why the hue and cry by antagonists of the All People’s Congress ( APC ) over the new APC / China Communist Party building about to be constructed in Sierra Leone ? Are they jealous of the APC that it is about to be a proud owner of a super-structure that will soon embellish the growing beauty of the Freetown skyline ?
That can be the only explanation for the unnecessary noise that the proposed construction of the building has generated.
The APC of Sierra Leone has a long and enduring relationship with the ruling party of China that predates the APC’s ascension to power in 1968 or the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sierra Leone and China. The late Dr. Siaka Stevens, the Father of the APC, because he was a trade unionist and fighter for the workers , while aspiring to be head of state of Sierra Leone in the late 1950s and early 1960s , established relations with the polity of the then communist countries of the USSR and China, though Sierra Leone actually established diplomatic relations with China on July 29, 1971 while the very Shaki was in power, even though during the peak of that relationship, Sierra Leone remained non-aligned and never adopted the communist political system.
In his political and diplomatic wisdom, the late APC founder and Head of State, President Siaka Stevens maintained a special relationship with the party in China while intensifying and nourishing the precious relations between the Republic of Sierra Leone and the People’s Republic of China which started 45 years ago and which has yielded tremendous national dividend.
The legacy of fruitful relations between Sierra Leone and China that President Stevens left was continued by the present Head of State, President Ernest Koroma , who enlightened the nation about what had been attained through this precious relationship between the two states of Sierra Leone and China when he said three years ago : “It has been very difficult but with the support of friends like China we have been able to roll out programs of recovery to restore our utilities, get our services back and provide support for our private sector to get the market properly operating again.” That was after the Ebola scourge.
In a July 26, 2016 article in the Concord Times, Joseph S. Margai wrote :
“China has played a leading role in fostering development in Sierra Leone since 1971, when the two countries signed a communiqué heralding a unique fraternal diplomatic tie anchored on the values of mutual respect for “sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equity and mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence.”
“At the macro level, both governments have always walked side-by-side in the complex world of international diplomacy, not least at the United Nations. At the micro level, the two peoples have exchanged several cultural and trade visits spanning forty-five years, while hundreds of Sierra Leonean students and businessmen and women have been attracted to China as the preferred destination for knowledge and business, with their Chinese counterparts heading westwards in numbers. “
The relationship had always been between China and Sierra Leone, not between the APC and China, per se. Therefore where did the APC Government sell Sierra Leone’s sovereignty to China , as claimed by one unthinking commentator in the Sierra Leone Telegraph newspaper ?
As recently as May 27, 2017 , the AWOKO newspaper of Sierra Leone reported that “The Chinese Economic Counsellor Mr Shen Xiaokai has said that China is the biggest trading partner to Sierra Leone and he will want to see more export going to China through the belt and road.” The Economic Counselor went on to say : “I want Sierra Leone to have the opportunity to do business with China and other countries through the belt and road and it is prudent that even though they are not within, they can still benefit from better trade deals and enjoy the benefits of the belt and road that China is building by breaking down barriers and building a trade globalisation for equal opportunity to all.”
Looking at the bigger picture, this relationship has always been between the people of Sierra Leone and China. It has never been an inter-party affair . If the ties with China had blessed only the APC , then there would have been justification for the noise over the new structure, but Chinese infrastructural, technical and economic assistance has blessed the whole nation.
However, political parties do establish international ties between each other separate from the diplomatic relations between their nations and the APC and the party in China, call it CPC or what-have-you , as argued earlier , had always enjoyed deep fraternal relations. That being the case, what is wrong to have at least one monument attesting to this enduring ties between the two ruling political parties of our two nations ?
Given the scale and the depth of Chinese assistance to Sierra Leone, it is very ridiculous for a contributor to the Global Times to have asserted that China is meddling with the internal politics of Sierra Leone.
A friendly nation that blessed us with the construction of the ultra-modern national stadium, the Congo Cross four-lane bridge , the ministerial complex ( Youyi Building ), the new Foreign Affairs complex , the Jui Chinese Friendship Hospital, the Mange Bridge, the Guma Hydro Power Station , the Bo soccer stadium and is planning to further construct a new, modern international airport near Freetown, the Rokel River water supply project , which according to Shen Xiaokai, the Economic Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone, will be yet another flagship project of the Sierra Leone government, as it will significantly contribute in solving the water crisis in the country’s capital city, the West Africa Tropical Disease Research Center and the Hill Station Road projects is definitely not meddling in our affairs but is helping our nation to keep pace with other countries of the world in socio-economic development.
Let us stop these petty inter-party jealousies and feuds.
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE SOLELY THOSE OF THE WRITER. THEY DO NOT CONSTITUTE THE VIEWS OF THE GOVERNMENT OR APC PARTY ON THE ISSUE IN QUESTION
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.