The wheels of the Sierra Leone opposition SLPP peace process are now fully engaged

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 February 2017

The members of the newly formed peace committee of Sierra Leone’s main opposition SLPP party (Photo) have gone to work in earnest. Since their appointment last Wednesday, they have been hard at work trying to consolidate the party’s hard won peace settlement.

But more importantly, they are currently pulling together a draft document that will outline strategies for dealing with all outstanding issues that have brought so much friction and chaos in the party.

The committee has been mandated by the party to help produce a roadmap and blueprint that will unite the party, transform it into a credible opposition and position the SLPP as a government in waiting.

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An appeal to all my SLPP brothers and sisters for sustainable peace and unity 

Abdulai Braima

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 February 2017

Let us please come together and push the Peace Process with the strength of fanatical zeal that was on display during the sad stretch of our factional “warfare”. Right now SLPP needs champions of peace, not heroes of war.

The energy that we wasted in trashing one another in the last few months and years should now be channelled into the peace process.

We all know that the way forward is going to be hard and tempting. We should also recognise that the initial terms of the “treaty” are bound to be riddled with misunderstandings and imperfections.

But at least, we seem to have started from somewhere. All we need to do now is to improve on what we have instead of scrapping it all together.

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Sierra Leone opposition SLPP presidential aspirants vow to strongly hold APC government to account

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 February 2017

There is a renewed sense of hope across Sierra Leone today, after the leaders and presidential aspirants of the opposition SLPP party met on Wednesday to discuss their differences. They have agreed to bury the hatchet and focus their energies on building a strong opposition to the ruling APC.

The return of peace and stability to the country’s main opposition party is not only good for the party’s chances at the forthcoming presidential and general elections, but for democracy in Sierra Leone.

With a strong and vibrant political opposition in Sierra Leone, the country can look to a brighter future, where development and progress can be achieved through good governance, transparency, accountability, civil liberty and freedom of speech.

For the best part of the past decade, the ruling APC have governed with an open ticket and a free ride as the main opposition SLPP turned on itself, in a bitter struggle for power among the various factions. But all that is about to change.

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Sierra Leone opposition SLPP at the cusp of a long awaited peace deal

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 February 2017

 

After years of self-flagellation which almost led to the calamitous downfall of Sierra Leone’s main opposition SLPP party, there is news today of an end to its downward spiral.

Peace it seems has finally returned where there was once anarchy, division and infighting among party leaders aspiring for the presidential candidacy of the party.

All of the presidential aspirants of the SLPP had a fruitful peace meeting yesterday at the party office in Freetown, after which they all walked together across to the capital’s historic landmark – the Freetown Cotton Tree where they made public speeches to embrace the arrival of the new normal – peace.

Speaking to the Sierra Leone Telegraph last night, Alie Kabba – the architect of the peace deal and mission, said: “I am delighted to see that peace is returning to this our great party, and I pray that it will be sustained for the good of democracy in Sierra Leone, and the members of the party to whom so much is owed.”

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Parliament of Sierra Leone invites social welfare minister Blyden for clarification

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 February 2017

Sierra Leone’s parliamentarians have today granted the wishes of those that have been calling for minister Blyden to be summoned for questioning, as well as the desire of the minister herself to publicly put on record her job performance and lay to rest allegations of corruption and maladministration.

Writing to friends and well-wishers today, minister Blyden could scarcely hide her excitement at the opportunity to address the people of Sierra Leone, after weeks of what she regarded as witch-hunt and political intimidation by her enemies. This is what she said.

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Sierra Leone children’s affairs minister Sylvia Blyden denies allegation of corruption

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 February 2017

After surviving weeks of verbal insults and death threats, Sierra Leone’s minister of children’s affairs is now being accused by a local newspaper of failing to account to parliament for Seven Hundred and Seven Million Leones, she allegedly received to run her ministry. (Photo: Minister Blyden in public engagement at her office today).

Despite strongly denying these allegations and parliament’s lack of interest in the story, it seems the knife is still out for the minster who many in Sierra Leone regard as one of the hardest working public officials in the country.

A senior public official working for the country’s legal aid board – Ibrahim Kallon, was last week arrested by police and charged to court for issuing death threats against minister Blyden as well as other serious offences. He has been granted bail, awaiting court appearance.

Minister Blyden is not taking these allegations of embezzling Le707 million lightly. She is speaking out. This is what she told the Sierra Leone Telegraph today.

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Parliamentarians in Sierra Leone cannot be above the law

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 2 February 2017

Civil liberty and human rights took another massive blow in Sierra Leone yesterday, after the country’s parliamentarians clumsily ordered the arrest and detention of one of the country’s most vocal civil rights activists and chief executive of the Campaign for Human Rights and Democracy International (CHRDI) – Mr. Abdul Fatoma in the capital Freetown.

This unconstitutional bully boy’s tactics not only smacks of high-handed abuse of power, but a total disregard for the principles of probity, accountability and transparency, that are the bedrock upon which parliament itself is built.

Watching parliamentarians from the ruling APC party constantly abusing their parliamentary majority in the last ten years, has been painful enough for the people of Sierra Leone. But to also see that the country’s main opposition SLPP parliamentarians have not only become passive bystanders, but actively involved in unsavory parliamentary back scratching speaks volumes about those elected to protect and defend the constitution.

But such is politics in Sierra Leone, where every aspect of public life is merely seen as an opportunity to feed oneself, rather than an opportunity to serve the interest of the public with utmost integrity.

Abdul Fatoma has done no wrong. He was arrested simply because he persistently called on parliamentarians to account for millions of dollars, which they had received for the development of their constituencies. He had also called on the country’s anti-corruption commission to work with parliament to investigate how the funding had been spent.

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