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NEWS : Politics  

Removal of Sierra Leone Opposition Leader will be an act of Suicide for 2012 Elections - say Europe Branch
By Abdul Fonti
Jun 6, 2011, 13:13
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'John Benjamins Removal will be Suicide for 2012'
- SLPP Continental Europe

The Awareness Times Newspaper is currently being inundated with telephone calls and visits from members of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) from all over, expressing one hundred percent (100%) support for continuity of tenure of National Chairman and Leader of the SLPP, John Oponjo Benjamin (JOB) until after the 2012 Sierra Leone Elections. Latest of such massive support for John Benjamin comes from the SLPPs Continental Europe Branch who state that any removal of Benjamin at this point in time will mean killing the partys chances for 2012 Elections.

In an unprecedented manner, dozens of phone calls from all over Europe were made to our phone lines on Friday, Saturday and Sunday including from SLPP Executive members in the partys European Branch. Included in those calls were the ones from the Chairman and Vice Chairman of that Branch who both personally telephoned the Awareness Times over the weekend in separate phone calls, to express their outrage over negative statements being uttered by certain people against Chairman Benjamin, describing such utterances as not in the interest of the SLPP.

SLPP Continental Europe Chairman, Solomon Baimba Mansaray, told the Awareness Times that: Any attempt to remove John Benjamin as Chairman of the party at this point in time would be suicidal for our 2012 chances and might irreparably damage the SLPP.

While expressing outrage over what he described as the bad politics existing within the party structure, Mansaray emphasized thus: I do not see any reason why any well meaning SLPP member should contest against JOB at a time like this, knowing fully what JOB has done to raise the party from oblivion to its present enviable state and the confidence he has built up in many of us that now gives us hope for our fathers party.

I do agree that everybody has a right to contest in a democracy. But when you critically study the present state of the party, all we need is this type of dynamic leadership that is being exhibited by JOB, Mansaray argued, adding: We know ourselves in the SLPP, and we are not going to allow anybody to come and destroy our party this time round.

John Benjamin has raised the standard of the party to an extent that it has now become so attractive, Solomon Baimba Mansaray pointed out, noting that most of the utterances of certain people that are being published in certain newspapers are complete nonsense with an intention to deceive the gullible.

SLPP Strongman Mansaray said his team was recently in Sierra Leone and they travelled all around the country so they know those who are genuinely working for SLPP. He cited the massive feat the SLPP recorded in the just concluded parliamentary bye-election in Kailahun as a typical show of the capabilities of John Benjamin to sell the vision of the party to the grassroots.

He lashed out at the regional sentiments being raised by certain desperate SLPP members, noting that what the SLPP needs is people that can perform, irrespective of their region. It is very disappointing for people to preach regionalism in the SLPP which is a national party.

Notwithstanding the fact that I hail from the north, I am convinced beyond all reasonable doubt that John Benjamins Chairmanship is the only way forward for the SLPP at this point, Mansaray pointed out.

We will not allow people to use the party as a springboard to promote their personal interests and settle old grudges; we will not accept it! Chairman Mansaray disclosed in a very irate tone of voice.

According to the European SLPP Strongman, the persons who are so desperate to replace John Benjamin as National Chairman, are no match for the dynamic John Benjamin.

One of them, Somano Kapen, could not even inspire people to help him raise fifty million to become a flagbearer aspirant of the party, so how do you expect such a person to lead the SLPP? Mansaray questioned, adding his opinion about another contestant for Benjamins position to be: Dr. Abass Bundu? We all know his unfortunate track record and he does not even have a constituency in this country; so do people want us to elect a chairman that will bury the party?

Mansaray emphasized that there is a big difference between John Benjamin and those two characters noting that the SLPP should not be talking about what people might do for the party, but should talk on what people have done, are doing and can continue to do for the party.

Looking at his track record, John Benjamin is the best for the SLPP, Chairman Mansaray said, noting that no Chairman in the past has promoted the SLPP to the level in which John Benjamin has done.

The time for regionalism, tribalism and petty politics is over; we are not fools anymore; we know those that are working in the interest of the party. SLPP in Continental Europe is all set to storm Sierra Leone to rally behind John Benjamin and the eventual flagbearer for us to win the 2012 general elections. Mansaray promised.

Mansaray reiterated views of numerous other callers, when he said SLPP should concentrate on how to win the 2012 general elections and not on how to depose vibrant, visionary and inspirational leaders.

Mansaray assured that SLPP Continental Europe will give John Benjamin all the necessary support that he needs to move the party forward as National Chairman and Leader.

Vice Chairman SLPP Continental Europe, Ernest Smith, also telephoned the Awareness Times over the weekend to buttress the assertions of his Chairman. Like many of the dozens of other calls from Europe, Ernest Smith had no qualms to tell Awareness Times that it would be Pure Suicide of our 2012 Chances to remove John Benjamin who has a strong SLPP constituency and replace him with someone who cannot even convince 10% of his hometown to vote for him or someone who ran away from his own chiefdom he was leading.

Continental Europe is firmly behind John Benjamin and will support him to remain as Chairman of the party, Smith said.

It will be recalled that the Continental Europe Branch of the SLPP has been very supportive of the SLPP. In this year alone, they have donated computers and other logistics to the tune of thousands and thousands of dollars to the SLPP.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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