Social Media reports on an invasion on residence of main opposition SLPP stalwart John Oponjo Benjamin (aka JOB) by a gang of men with offensive weapons, has sparked off heated written attacks on Benjamin by members of bitter rival faction of their SLPP known as the ‘PAOPA’ faction. The invasion itself on the Benjamin residence in the early morning hours of Saturday 15th August 2015, left Benjamin’s people bleeding from machete stab wounds.
The news was first broken on social media early on Saturday morning by relatives of John Benjamin. His brother David Benn Hirsch posted the news flash alongside photographs on Facebook whilst his second son John Benjamin Jr. also posted the details on many social media Whatsapp groups. The postings soon went viral.
FROM JOHN BENJAMIN JR.(posted with pictures): A group of men armed with cutlasses, knives, and sticks attacked the residence of John Benjamin an hour or so ago.
A returning resident interrupted them as they were attempting to scale the fence hit some of them with his vehicle ramming the gate open and alerting the residents inside and neigbours who were able to fight back and force the assailants to run away.
John Benjamin is safe, and has given statement to the Lumley police station on what ensued.
A neighbor and a resident were not so lucky and sustained injuries to the face and head. They are being treated at the Lumley health center.
More details to come as I get more information.
Well, shortly after David Ben and JB Junior posts came series of written attacks from other SLPP members questioning credibility of John Benjamin. The SLPP members had no sympathies for their former party chairman and leader and painted him as a liar and an attention-seeker. These written attacks were posted in response to John Benjamin Jr. by other SLPP Supporters but this time belonging to the faction called PAOPA that is backing Julius Maada Bio who is facing competition from John Benjamin.
Down below is one such sample of an attack on Benjamin by an SLPP-PAOPA social media participant based in London.
SLPP PAOPA MEMBER, : Folks, violent pictures being peddled around as attacks on JOB’s compound are untrue. It was a skirmish between his neighbours due to a dispute that is unrelated to him, I am reliably briefed from Freetown early this morning.
But as usual, JOB and his carbal are deliberately using it as an internal SLPP flag bearer fight which is not true. The obvious intention is to link it to PAOPA and further link us to violence in the party.
While their propaganda of alluding continuous violence to us is a deliberate lie, we must take it very very seriously, I must hasten to warn.. In politics, perception matters, and most times propaganda sticks.
Growing up in Kenema in the early seventies, [they] used to kill sheeps and goats, spill the blood on dirty cloths and throw them on the streets after shouting all night of being killed and eaten by cannibals. The perception of cannibalism in Kenema got prevalent and went national even though no one ever reported any one missing. That was how [they] destabilized the SLPP in our strong hold and got away with it.
Anti Maada Bio have now vigorously adopted the same scare tactics to placate us to the electorate. It worries me greatly because our people some times lack the sophistication to process facts. We need to embark on massive sensitization and educational radio programs to educate the people.
Silence, as they normally say, is golden, but we are at war which requires briefings/explaining of our position/s on critical matters.
War also requires propaganda. I am sorry to say that the anti-PAOPA are pinning us to the wall in the propaganda war. We cannot continue to be complacent on that front.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.