From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

APC Spokesman Apologises; Blames John Ben’s Fine Writing Skills for his Error
By Mohamed Kamara
Dec 6, 2010, 13:20

The APC Party Spokesman and Government Minister has last week Wednesday December 1st 2010, apologised to John Benjamin, SLPP National Leader for making the outlandish claim that going by the November 27th speech of Benjamin, the youths of Tonkolili, who rioted and destroyed African Minerals equipment in Kemadugu, had been incited by the SLPP Leader’s speech. This retraction of his words followed a release from the SLPP pointing out that Benjamin could not incite an incident that had since occurred before the said speech. According to Alpha Khan’s now debunked logic, Mr. John Benjamin’s speech he delivered at Makeni on November 27th 2010, two days after the riots, was so well written that it could not have been written in one day and so the reference to the riots within the speech showed fore-knowledge of the November 25th 2010 riots as it “might have been anticipated”.

Alhaji Alpha Khan was speaking over the SLBC Television during a live morning show in which John Benjamin himself was also present. Alhaji Alpha Khan eventually conceded that he was wrong to have accused Benjamin of being the inciter of the riots as he had no proof to substantiate the allegations except the brilliance of the speech itself.

“I write speeches myself so I know that John Benjamin’s Makeni speech was not written inside a day. It was so well written and it flowed so well to the listening ear that to my mind, it is not possible for Mr. Benjamin to have written it on Friday or Saturday. That was a wonderfully written speech. It is a speech that takes several days to write so for him to have included the Thursday riot in the speech means he knew of the riot before they happened,” Alhaji Alpha Kanu said.

In reaction, John Benjamin chuckled and thanked Alpha Kanu for the compliments but informed him that the entire speech including the reference to the mining site riot was done after the Thursday riot. He lamented that Alpha Kanu was unable to put together such a speech within one day but assured him that they within the SLPP could easily do so.

Alpha Kanu also rebuked John Benjamin for not specifically condemning the violence on the African Minerals site to which John Benjamin informed him that one of the first things the said speech did was to condemn all forms of violence and state the SLPP’s position as one of non-violence.

In what could have been a bid to save face over his overt praises of Benjamin’s speech in Makeni, Alpha Kanu then said that the APC MPs, whilst in opposition, had been able to use their “superior debating skills” to convince the SLPP Government to listen to them in Parliament whilst he said the SLPP MPs in opposition now lacks debating skills and so they “walk out of Parliament” rather than convince APC Government to change their stances. According to Alpha Kanu, the SLPP in Government listened to the APC in opposition when APC kicked against first one Mr. Sundoo and also against one Mr. Aka as NEC Electoral Commissioners because the APC MPs had “superior debating skills”. He continued that the current SLPP MPs cannot use debating skills to convince the APC against Christiana Thorpe and so “they walk out because they run out of ideas since they are bereft of debating skills”.


In response, John Benjamin said SLPP with a majority of 83 MPs to the APC’s 27 MPs during the period under review, showed respect for the views of the opposition when it concerned sensitive issues like National Elections even though the SLPP could have easily riden roughshod over the opinion of the APC MPs. This, Benjamin said, was because the SLPP believes in having a level playing field for the conduct of National Elections where all participants trusted the National Electoral Commissioner conducting the elections.

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