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NEWS : Politics  

Pa.O.Pa Charged to Court as Kenema SLPP Womenís Leader Attacked
By Our Correspondents
Aug 9, 2011, 17:12
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Madam Jitta Ngobeh, the Kenema District Women's Leader for the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) will this morning of Tuesday August 9th 2011, be at the Kenema Magistrate Court to help the Police to prosecute a bunch of lawless supporters of SLPP Presidential Candidate Mr. Julius Maada Bioís Pa.O.Pa Squad who last week attacked her residence in Kenema city, breaking all the windows and doors and causing grievous bodily and psychological harm to her sick and aged mother who they found inside the house.


Jitta Ngobeh is a staunch supporter of the current National Chairman & Leader John Oponjo Benjamin and she was the person who seconded his Nomination for the position at the just concluded National Delegates Conference that saw him win with 65% of the popular votes as against the candidature of his contender Dr. Abass Bundu. Bundu was backed by a faction within the party known as the Pa.O.Pa (ie: By Force) Group.


The Pa.O.Pa Group is a motley group of rabid and indisciplined supporters of the winning candidate for the partyís Flagbearer, Mr. Julius Maada Bio who have spent the last one year in a vicious and violent illicit drugs and alcohol backed campaign. They were given the nomenclature of Pa.O.Pa because of their stated desire that their candidate should be the SLPP Presidential candidate by all means.


Several attempts to intimidate John Benjamin into falling in line to support the Pa.O.Pa Maada Bio over the 18 other contenders had all failed; thus making Benjamin a target for vilification alongside anyone suspected of supporting him. The incidents of violent attacks including stabbings and beatings by members of the Bio-supporting Pa.O.Pa Squad are too numerous to recount. Many of them resulted in actions at the Law Courts over the last one year.


Many a time, Maada Bio will make public statements warning his supporters to desist from violence but it appeared that Bio was either unable to control his supporters or he was speaking from both sides of his mouth by privately giving them tacit endorsement. This is because his Pa.O.Pa members all continued on their lawless pathway of intimidating perceived opponents. He also continued to travel with alleged violent perpetrators in his retinue. Their tactics included the verbal and physical assaults on anyone perceived as supporting John Benjamin.


It was however widely believed that following the victory of both Benjamin with 65% of the votes to become Chairman/Leader and his SLPP brother Maada Bio who scored 39% of the votes to become Presidential candidate, the Pa.O.Pa Squad would have let bygones be bygones and teamed up with the rest of the civilised arm of the SLPP to mount a combined challenge against the incumbent President Koroma so as to bring their party back to power next year.


However, Mr. Bio has continued to openly sideline Mr. John Benjamin by undertaking activities during which Benjamin is totally excluded. Many of such activities, it has been reliably learnt, will only be known to Benjamin when he reads of them in newspapers the next day. In all those activities, Bio would be accompanied by Dr. Abass Bundu, the preferred Pa.O.Pa candidate who lost to Benjamin. Additionally, Bioís supporters have continued their violent actions and drugs-taking much to the displeasure of many SLPP members who have bitterly complained to this press about the continuing nuisance within their party.

The latest of such unsavoury Pa.O.Pa action happened last week after the National Delegates conference when well-known supporters of Mr. Maada Bio attacked the private Kenema and Bo residences of many SLPP members suspected to have been against Bioís candidature. One such victim of brutal Pa.O.Pa attack is the Kenema District Womenís Leader, Jitta Ngobeh, whose residence was viciously attacked and damaged by numerous well-known supporters of Mr. Maada Bio.


Bio supporters openly attacked the house causing untold damage which they said was a lesson to Madam Ngobeh for allegedly supporting Usman Boie-Kamara against their preferred Maada Bio. They also told her off for being the one to second the nomination of John Benjamin which they said went against Pa.O.País wishes for Dr. Abass Bundu to have beaten John Benjamin.


The Kenema police was able to eventually apprehend four of the members of the Pa.O.Pa Squad who attacked Jitta Ngobehís house and they have all been charged to court and should appear this morning in Kenema. Although they are all SLPP supporters, this time, many party members are saying Ďenough is enoughí and have urged Jitta Ngobeh to ensure the matter is concluded at the courts and the perpetrators taught a bitter lesson that the days of impunity are now long over in Sierra Leone; even if one is supporting a former military junta man associated with violence.


"It is a fact that the public warning rendered by Maada Bio to his supporters did not do the trick so only a taste of the Law in a bitter form might put a stop to the endless cycle of violence that is now associated with the Maada Bio Campaign. This is especially important because the National Presidential elections in which Bio will be contesting against incumbent President Koroma, is now just around the corner and this Nation has suffered more than enough violence," said Mr. Mohamed Sheriff of Kenema.


SLPP National Leader John Benjamin has been making frantic efforts to prevail on Madam Jitta Ngobeh to settle the matter internally within the SLPP but it is reported that she is adamant that her 75 years old dear mother, Mama Kutubu, who is sickly from hypertension, nearly died during the attack on Jittaís residence last week by Maada Bioís supporters and so she is not taking that lightly.


Jitta Ngobeh confirmed to Awareness Times yesterday that she was prevailed upon by Kenema District Elders not to quit the SLPP and she has assured that she will never quit the SLPP but she wondered as to the possible success for the partyís 2012 dreams when Maada Bioís supporters were busy antagonizing other SLPP members rather than engaging in reconciliation.


"I joined SLPP before Maada Bio did and he will not use intimidation to get me to leave SLPP. I am staying right inside SLPP from where I am going to stand up against his tactics. If Maada Bio likes, let him continue to encourage people to attack us who supported other candidates and he will see who will regret it," Jitta Ngobeh noted.


It will be recalled that the Western Region SLPP Womenís Leader Haja Rabie Allie recently resigned her position over her displeasure with the choice of Maada Bio but has also vowed to stay within the party.

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

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