From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Sierra Leone Opposition submerged in Military Junta Wahala
By Mohamed Kamara (A News Analysis)
Jan 25, 2013, 17:20

Although main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party, (SLPP) allege of being robbed of votes in Northern Province, what they never state publicly is that, though SLPP did not win a single seat in the Western Area, SLPP won 2 councillor seats in Kambia District Local Council  (Wards 131 & 132) and one seat in Port Loko District Local Council  (Ward 189) giving it three councillor seats in the Northern Province.


The fact that the results as announced, show Northern Province voters gave three (3) councillors to the SLPP means SLPP votes scored in the North as reported by Dr. Christiana Thorpe of the National Electoral Commission are accurate and cannot be said to be a result of alleged vote-rigging.


Rather, the emerged voting patterns are a reflection of disdain and abhorrence which many sober-minded people of Northern Province have for manner in which the SLPP has been going about its political business.


Now, as a result of the SLPP being able to win two seats in Kambia district, many thinkers within the party are now rooting for a son of the soil of Kambia to be put forward for the partys 2017 presidential ticket since the party has tried two Southerners in a row; all with dismal results.


These SLPP thinkers cite the fact that the SLPP was born in the North before being hijacked by other persons. And for these SLPP thinkers, because the SLPP is seen as the sagely brains behind the defunct NPRC military junta and to some extent also, the RUF rebels, they believe a leader for SLPP should come from within NPRC leadership circles.


Julius Maada Bio, an NPRC actor hailing from the Sherbro people of Bonthe is no longer being considered by these set of SLPP thinkers who believe that another NPRC functionary in the person of one Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, a former military junta minister, should be put forward.



This proposal of replacing the NPRCs Julius Bio with the NPRCs Kandeh Yumkella on the SLPPs 2017 presidential ticket, is now a source of intense friction and power-struggle within the SLPP.


The Bio versus Yumkella struggle amongst SLPP supporters is now so bad that SLPP members are resorting to beating up each other with locally made canes to whip some sense into one another not excluding even the SLPP chairman/leader, John Benjamin. Supporters of Bio accuse Benjamin of giving quiet support to Yumkella for which they openly say they want to teach him rustic manners through the use of baboon canes.


Of course, as demanded for by contemporary SLPP culture, Benjamin is also a former NPRC chieftain. John Benjamins vehicles were recently immobilised at the SLPP headquarters by gangs of SLPP hooligans high on illicit drugs like djamba (marijuana). His personal security detail well beaten up by Bios drugged up supporters.


The fact that the use of violence by supporters of NPRC military junta actors is abhorrent to many onlookers, has escaped the SLPP followers. Not only are they using baboon canes to whip and beat up each other, but they are also using terrible abusive language within the partys buildings and its environs; even the innocent mothers of party leaders are not left out of the melee. Mothers have been subjected to unfortunate insulting expletives hurled at their persons.

When our last report on this matter hit the Internet, it sparked off a wave of discussions. One Imma Sandy, a protg of Yumkella wrote to distance Yumkella from Maada Bio as well as to blast our publisher thus:

as a journalist I advise you to be critical in posting issues like this before posting on your newpaper. Yumkellas boss was by then Strasser and not Maada Bio. Dr. Yumkella strived hard to serve his country and was one of the best ministers during NPRC junta regime. Please leave Dr Yumkella alone. He is an honourable man and should be treated such.

To this, our publisher lectured on the need for Yumkella to behave in an honourable manner immediately and make his political intentions known rather than surreptitiously hiding behind a fog. Our publisher responded thus:

Imma Sandy, please you need to understand you are talking to a Sierra Leonean formidable and top-notch investigative journalist. If I put pen to paper, it is because I am 100% certain of what I speak of. Go and ask Kandeh Yumkella to tell you whom it was who presided over NPRC Cabinet Meetings as Chief Secretary of State from the day he (Yumkella) took his Oath of Office as Secretary of State for Trade & Industry. He will tell you the answer was Captain Julius Maada Bio who was Chief Secretary of State from June 1993 until March 1995. As for Kandeh Yumkellas record as NPRC Trade Minister, Hmmmmm...! Let us not open a can of worms. All I am reporting on is his name being bandied around the SLPP party office. It is now up to Kandeh Yumkella to make his position known especially as he is an international figure.

Indeed, Sierra Leoneans are hopeful that Kandeh Yumkella will emerge from the cowardly fog within which he is immersed and provide clarity for all as to his political intentions in Sierra Leone.


Meanwhile an important SLPP member in North America, Alpha Saidu Bangura who is the erstwhile SLPP Spokesman out there, has described both Maada Bio and Kandeh Yumkella as NPRC Criminals.


Writing on Facebook, Alpha Saidu Bangura had this to say:

There is no way in this world for Maada Bio or Kandeh Yumkella(both NPRC criminals) to be our beloved SLPPs flagbearer. We, the true SLPP members will never allow that! The 2017 SLPP flagbearer will be a clean, honest and most suitable man born in Freetown to a very strong and powerful Temne family from the Northern Province. Nobody in this world will stop that, trust me. I am on my way to go put our SLPP on its right footing!

However, there are many SLPP members who are determined to resist likes of Alpha Saidu Bangura. These SLPP members believe the SLPP should always have a flagbearer coming from the South-East which is where the party currently enjoys the bulk of its support.


Similarly, many other SLPP members believe that only an NPRC junta member should hold top leadership positions inside SLPP. Another NPRC functionary Dr. Abass Bundu who was the juntas Foreign Minister, is also being presented as a possible next chairman and/or leader of SLPP to wrestle against former NPRC chieftain John Benjamin. Theyre all NPRC fighters in SLPP big leadership tussle.


Bottom-line, what all this means is that the countrys main opposition party is in a state of what is locally known as Wahala meaning troubled. This is because SLPP has whipped itself into a high state of confusion following the landslide victory of the countrys most popular Head of State in its History. The SLPP currently does not have a direction. It is troubled. Very troubled.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.