From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Sierra Leone: A Brief Look at Tamba Sam and a Call for John Benjamin to Hand Over “SLPP” to Julius Bio
By Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden
Feb 4, 2013, 13:00

I have entitled this piece with a reference to the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party(SLPP), in quotation marks. This is deliberate and signifies that I do not consider what we currently refer to as SLPP to be the real SLPP that was formed in 1951 by great men and women of Sierra Leone. Instead the nomenclature of “SLPP” has been applied to a mixed bag of elements with each element having its own selfish agenda.


It is that mixed bag of elements which, in 1996, signed a deal with former NPRC military Head of State, Lieutenant Julius Maada Bio, to ensure the late Dr. John Karefa Smart did not ascend to the Presidency of Sierra Leone. In the event, some 17 years ago, that mixed bag calling itself “SLPP” went on to win the February 1996 elections with the understanding that one fine day, Lieutenant Julius Bio will come back to take over from that entity I now cite as “SLPP”.


As far as Bio is concerned, he is on a mission to ensure he takes back from “SLPP” what he had given to “SLPP” some 17 years ago.


Now, “SLPP” Spokesman Musa Tamba Sam was on radios last weekend with uncouth and abusive words hurled at John Benjamin who is currently ‘titled’ as Chairman/Leader of the SLPP but without the respect that goes with such a position. Tamba Sam is reported to have been a senior member of RUF rebels. Upon Tamba Sam’s return from Guinea where he exiled himself after the war, Tamba Sam was rehabilitated by the then Finance Minister John Benjamin who now has no respect within “SLPP”.


Instead of fitting respect, what we have is a situation unfolding which is similar to as on 16th January 1996 when then Head of State, Captain Strasser, was overthrown by Lt. Bio. So is it that 17 years later on 16th January 2013, another plot was undertaken to overthrow John Benjamin from the helm of the “SLPP” which position Julius Bio sees as belonging to himself.


"SLPP" & PA.O.PA destroying Benjamin's fine gentleman image


This time, unlike the Strasser overthrow of January 16th 1996, there was no Captain Kwaigor to assist Maada Bio via detention of Lt. Christopher Stevens and disarming of strategic weaponry.


Rather, this January 16th 2013 plot which extended into January 17th 2013, involved the use of Baboon Canes and Mammy Cuss as the overthrow tools used.


Yes my dear readers, the eerie fact is that precisely again on 16th and 17th January dates which were the EXACT SAME pivotal dates in 1996 on which Maada Bio plotted and consolidated his overthrow of Strasser from NPRC were the same dates in this year 2013 that Maada Bio’s groupies plotted for John Benjamin to be overthrown from “SLPP” with Baboon Canes and Mammy Cusses. Just go back to the records and check the dates! What a coincidence indeed! But it gets even more eerie. Please continue reading...

Late Captain Prince Ben-Hirsch
A sad aspect is that this January 2013 public humiliation and molestation of John Benjamin happened around the 21st anniversary of the death of the man who is the link between John Benjamin and Maada Bio. That is, the late Captain Prince Ben-Hirsch who was killed on January 21st 1992.

Factually, nobody really knows who killed Ben-Hirsch on 21st January 1992 but what is very clear and what nobody has ever disputed is that it was a well-planned, carefully orchestrated and pre-meditated killing of a gallant officer. So, questions can be asked whether those who planned his death did the groundwork for the ambush some several days before January 21st 1992; like maybe around January 16th-17th 1992?


Is it another coincidence in the dates or what? Food for thought especially as Julius Maada Bio who was second-in-command to the late Captain Prince Ben-Hirsch, has been serially accused by some of the late man’s soldiers to have something to confess about that death.


The first I ever learnt of such an allegation of Bio having hands in the death of Ben-Hirsch was in August 2011 from the lips of Maada Bio himself who personally lamented to me that he thinks John Benjamin hates him because Benjamin believes Bio was part of the plot to kill his brother Prince Ben Hirsch on January 21st 1992.


I had dismissed the allegation as cheap politics from Maada Bio because I had never heard such from Benjamin; but it was subsequent to this that other soldiers who worked under late Prince Ben-Hirsch, repeated the same allegation to me. So with all these January dates circa 16th and 17th, one can only ponder at what motivated Maada Bio to tell me such an eerie allegation!

But let us go back to my topic for today which is not only about John Benjamin whom I have not personally set eyes on nor spoken to, in over one year now. Today’s topic is also about that fellow known as Musa Tamba Sam who was elected by his party members to be the voice of the party who speaks for the “SLPP” no matter his erstwhile RUF membership.


Musa Tamba Sam, on his return from Guinea, was in a love relationship with the sister of Abdul Ben-Foday (he has since married her), one of the Managers of John Benjamin’s AITH company.Benjamin using his Finance Minister position, bulldozed for Musa Tamba Sam to be given the SLPP symbol for Constituency 03 in 2007 elections even though Tamba Sam was heavily disliked by those residents who do not see him as one of them. If you think I am exaggerating, go ask bonafide Constituency 03 indigenes whether Musa Tamba Sam is a Kissi, a Mende or a Kono.


It is because of AITH’s Ben-Foday that Musa Tamba Sam was helped by John Benjamin. So for some of us to read today in local tabloids as Musa Tamba Sam exposes his ingrait nature to his benefactor with the name of none other than Abdul Ben-Foday coming up is just too interesting.


This piece is not to defend Benjamin as I have little sympathy for Benjamin’s current Baboon Cane woes. With all molestations, humiliation and nastiness which Benjamin has faced from within the “SLPP” ranks, only John Benjamin can explain what he continues to do within “SLPP” with title of “Chairman/Leader”.


Benjamin is acting like a victim of the medical condition known as Battered Wife Syndrome where a partner in an abusive relationship can not quit. Benjamin prefers to stay and accept all sorts of abuse from his “SLPP” members.


The question which many concerned friends and associates of Benjamin are pondering is why will Benjamin not hand over the “SLPP” back to the man who gave power to the “SLPP” in 1996? Because it is now clear to all that the “SLPP” of today is NOT the Sierra Leone Peoples Party created by the likes of Sir Milton Margai, Constance Cummings-John and Bai Farama Tass.


What we have today is the mixed bag of elements which Julius Maada Bio struck a deal with in 1996 after he overthrew Valentine Strasser on January 16th 1996.


As far as Julius Bio is concerned, going by his actions, “SLPP” owes him and until they pay him his debt, he has a lien on “SLPP”. It is this perceived lien of Bio that caused his groupies to repeat the January 16th 1996 overthrow tactics on John Benjamin, 17 years later in January 2013. John Benjamin needs to hand over “SLPP” back to Julius Maada Bio whilst those who wish to locate where the real Sierra Leone Peoples Party might be, can start a journey to find it within various heaps of Sierra Leone’s national polity.


My opinion is that John Benjamin has made too many sacrifices for Maada Bio’s “SLPP”. It is time Benjamin took a step back and asks himself what really he is fighting for; even as his business and personal life goes down the drains.


Is John Benjamin fighting for the Pa.O.Pa’s “SLPP” or for Sierra Leone Peoples Party?


Infact, has John Benjamin not noticed that no significant “SLPP” voice was publicly raised to support him since the events of January 16th/17th this year? No Regional, District or Constituency “SLPP” executive & no elected “SLPP” MP or “SLPP” local councillor has come out to publicly condemn the baboon cane & mammy cuss incident. So, what really is John Benjamin, a sixty years old adult who commands international and huge nationwide respect, doing within such an “SLPP”?


Can someone help me to tell John Benjamin to handover “SLPP” to Maada Bio and his PA.O.PA squad? It still is not late for Benjamin to find his self-respect where he lost it.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.