The acting Minority Leader of the Parliamentary Caucus of the opposition Sierra Leone Peopleís Party (SLPP), Hon. Emmanuel Tommy (aka Sell-Game Tommy) has, past Friday September 4th 2009 at the SLPP Party headquarters, expressed his unreserved apologies to SLPP Executive Leader John Benjamin, his colleague SLPP MPs, and the entire membership of the SLPP for his illegal participation at last Juneís deliberations of the United Nationsí Peacebuilding Commissionís Special Session on Sierra Leone.
"I am sorry. I now realise I was wrong. I ask all whom I hurt with my actions to please forgive me. I was wrong," Mr. Tommy repeatedly stated during a meeting where he was sorely carpeted.
Hon. Tommy had incurred the wrath of the majority of SLPP members when he took upon himself to accept an invitation from Foreign Minister Zainab Hawa Bangura to misrepresent himself to the United Nations as, "a bonafide representative" of SLPP. The truth is that only one person is empowered to represent the SLPP or to designate a representative to meet external bodies and diplomatic community and that is the partyís duly elected Chairman, who is currently, John Oponjo Benjamin.
Prior to last Fridayís apology, Hon. Emmanuel Tommy had been abrasively recalcitrant on the matter and one time had even retorted to a journalist that he did, "not really care" about the consequences of his actions; actions which have been dubbed in the local parlance as "sell-game tactics" (i.e: selling the interest of larger community for few measly dollars in your pockets).
Hon. Tommy, who collected a wollop of dollars for himself as per diem for his misrepresentation, had not even bothered to consult with Party Leader, John Benjamin who had also been in America at the same time as Tommy was being passed off in New York by Foreign Minister Zainab Bangura as legitimate enough to speak on the issues under review back then.
What also angered SLPP members is that the speech Tommy gave at the United Nations, on behalf of the SLPP, was widely believed to have been written for him by APC operatives right there in America. Last Friday, Tommy confessed, as he hung his head in shame at the SLPP HQs, that he left Sierra Leone with no preparation and with little knowledge of exactly what he would be going to do. He confessed that it was only upon arrival in New York that he was told by Foreign Minister Zainab Bangura that he would be giving a Speech to the UN body.
It will be recalled by those who viewed the videotaped Speech by Sell-Game Tommy (Awareness Times has the full unedited copy), that Tommyís speech had bordered on the ridiculous as he told UN of SLPPís supposed backing of a Document known as Agenda for Change that no one in SLPP hierarchy had even set eyes on at the time.
Meanwhile, some SLPP members are still angry and want John Benjamin to reject Tommyís apologies and instead drag him in front of the partyís Disciplinary Committee currently headed by a veteran Lawyer.
However, in a chat with this paper over the phone from Kailahun past weekend, a forgiving John Benjamin has rejected such calls saying that it was time to put the past behind and move forward.
"The important thing is that he has recognised his mistake and made a formal apology to us all. It is time for us to now close ranks and move SLPP forwards," Benjamin urged followers.
Meanwhile, Hon. Momoh Pujeh, the substantive SLPP Minority Leader in Parliament who has been out of the country due to a prolonged illness, is said to now be back in the country but is seriously handicapped and only able to move with the help of a wheelchair. Pujeh, a close friend of APC Leader, President Koroma reportedly had some medical bills in USA paid with personal cash donations from President Koroma to his buddy, Momoh Pujeh.
SLPP Parliamentary Caucus is now reported to be hanging heads to find the way forward for their Leadership needs in next Parliamentary Session.
Although John Benjamin seems to be trusting of his Party MPs, Awareness Times can authoritatively reveal that our own investigations show that a number of SLPP Parliamentarians are compromised already by enticements from APC money-bags in a manner similar to during Siaka Stevens years.
One particular MP (name withheld) representing a Kailahun Constituency is said to be little more than a bag-carrier for a certain APC Cabinet Minister and has been quoted as saying the SLPP women allegedly raped were raped as punishment for the party electing John Benjamin as Chairman.
It is an indisputable fact that with ĎSell-Gameí MPs like these, SLPP has a lot of work to do to survive as an intact entity until 2012. However, a clause in the Sierra Leone Constitution, Section 77(1)(k), might have to be implemented if ever the need arises to do so. However, for now, all SLPP Youths in all Constituencies are very closely monitoring moves of their MPs.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.