Former Chairman and Leader of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), has expressed frustration over what he referred to as international partners snub to the SLPP, which he said resulting from violence within the party.
Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin (fondly called JOB), who was speaking at a press conference in his Team JOB headquarters at Campbell Street, Freetown, said: “Due to the continuing violence in the SLPP party perpetrated by the PAOPAS, we are now seeing a trend we have never seen before by our international partners over strengthening the incumbent government financially: a clear signal to the SLPP that they are unwilling to support a violent presidential candidate”.
Whilst recalling the violence in the SLPP, Mr. Benjamin highlighted the brutal murder of one of his supporters called Daddy George in the Eastern Province headquarters of Kenema, as well as the broad day light knife attack on Franklyn Rogers and Dr. John Karimu in the capital Freetown. He further explained: “I was personally chased in broad daylight in Kenema by Mr. Bio’s notorious thugs, under the directives of one Mr. Fokai Demby. When they could not get me because of the security surrounding me, they turned round and stabbed, killing one of my prominent supporters Daddy George in Kenema.”
Delving on the attack of Mr. Franklyn Rogers and Dr. John Karimu, JOB said: “Mr. Rogers, like Dr. John Karimu, was attacked with a knife in broad day light outside the law courts by a mob who claimed they were supporters of Mr. Bio’s presidential campaign team, the so-called Paopao. These attacks were done before the watchful eyes of the police and no arrests were effected. Thank God Mr. Rogers and Dr. Karimu are lucky to be alive and around.”
However, Mr. Benjamin said he did not support Mr. Franklyn Rogers for leaving the SLPP to join the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC). “Mr. Rogers was a very dedicated individual who loved the SLPP. But when some people in the party such as Retired Julius Maada Bio and his supporters continue to intimidate, harass and use violence against other members of the party, it is a serious cause of concern for us as a democratic state,” Mr. Benjamin lamented.
In addition to the violence in his party, Mr. Benjamin further briefed on the intimidation of former UNIDO boss, who was flagbearer aspirant for the SLPP for the 2018 presidential elections. He said “the case of Dr. Kandeh Yumkella is well-documented when he and his ageing mother were last year attacked and molested in broad daylight outside the SLPP main Freetown offices, again by violent thugs claiming to be followers of Julius Maada Bio”.
In addition, when asked whether he was intending to quit the SLPP flagbearership race just like Franklyn Rogers and Kandeh Yumkella did, Mr. Benjamin stated: “The SLPP as I have always said is bigger than all of us. Leaving the party is never an option neither does it provide a solution to the many problems facing our country. I have always taken the view that staying within the party is a far better option; that you can engage with others and try sort out the problems.”
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.