From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

SLPP & APC Lock Horns in Tongo
By Abdul Fonti
Feb 11, 2010, 17:30

Reports monitored by the Awareness Times Newspaper from the eastern part of the country indicate that a stiff power struggle has erupted in the mining town of Tongo between the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party and the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).

The political scenario between the country’s two main political parties in the eastern district of Kenema has assumed top gear as the two engage in a battle for supremacy for the Councillorship of Ward 42, in Constituency 14, Tongo Town.

A Local Government Bye-election to replace the only APC Councilor in the entire Kenema District, who recently passed away, is scheduled to be conducted by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Saturday 13
th February 2010.

APC’s Ernest Koroma

The People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), who are also taking part in the elections, are yet to make much of an impact in the entire process preceding the election, since the SLPP and APC have already out-staged the other parties.

Meanwhile, a high powered SLPP delegation, led by the National Chairman of the party, Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin, recently left Freetown and stormed Tongo in a bid to add more weight to the campaign machinery out there.

SLPP’s Women’s Leader Isata Jabbie Kabbah, Eastern Region Chairman Patrick Foya, Hon. Bernadette, Hon. Kai Samba, Honorable Konuwa and Hon. Mathew Nyuma were all in full campaign gears as they joined hundreds of supporters and sympathizers in the party’s campaign rally held on Tuesday 9
th February 2010 in Tongo.

SLPP’s John Benjamin

SLPP’s John Benjamin told the Awareness Times in a telephone interview that the SLPP left Freetown for Tongo as a united force “to defend and assume the seat that rightfully belongs to us”.

He said the SLPP will no doubt win the forthcoming election in that part of the country, as according to him the party lost the seat to the APC during the last election as a result of the wrong candidate choice the party made. “Party members protested that the candidate was not from the Ward nor was he their popular choice, thus the unfortunate scenario in the last election” John Benjamin disclosed, whilst adding that the present candidate, who happens to be a member of that ward, was selected by residents themselves.

He said the SLPP will also win on grounds that “Tongo is yet to record a single development since the APC assumed power”, adding that the same schools and hospitals constructed by the SLPP are just the same facilities still present there.

“The hardship that has befell the people in that part of the country since the APC assumed power will also contribute to the loss of the APC” he affirmed.

Meanwhile, the APC is very confident that the ward in question is theirs, and that they are ready to record the same success as they did in the last election.

APC’s rally which was held yesterday also recorded a good turnout.

It could be recalled that the SLPP won the seat in the first Local Government Election of 2004. They were however bulldozed by the APC in the 2007 elections; a time when the APC swept all the seats in Kono (a place very close to Tongo).

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