Locked out by those preventing change in Sierra Leone’s opposition SLPP

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 June 2016

slpp musical chairsThe Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has lost the last two general and presidential elections, and from all accounts is destined to remain on the opposition benches in 2018, simply because it is failing to change.

With less than two years to go before general and presidential elections are held in Sierra Leone, and after nine years of failing to put up a strong opposition to one of the most inept government the country has ever had, the main opposition party – the SLPP continues to shoot itself on the foot.

Those running the affairs of the party are showing the electorate that the party is not fit to govern the country.

And yesterday’s ugly scene outside the SLPP party office, where a group of prominent party members – grand patrons of the party – all aspiring to become the SLPP presidential candidate for the 2018 elections, were refused entry into the building, was a humiliation too far.

This is just another crisis in the party’s long battle with itself, to find peace and unity among the various contenders for the leadership and presidential candidacy of the party. It does not look pretty.

Those locked out of the party office yesterday, Saturday, 4th June, 2016, are members of an  Alliance formed by most of the presidential aspirants that are working towards peace and unity in the party – the Presidential Aspirants Alliance.

They included Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Alpha Timbo, Munda Rogers, Franklyn Rogers and Dr Jonathan Tengbeh.

So why were they refused entry into the party office in Freetown?

Justice-Tolla-Thompson1The Sierra Leone Telegraph was informed yesterday by a member of the Alliance that a few days ago, a meeting was held at the country’s Party Political Registration Commission (PPRC), chaired by the chairman of the PPRC – Justice Tolla Thompson (Photo), to discuss the recent violence which took place in Kenema that led to the murder of a young SLPP supporter; and to find a peaceful resolution to the internal squabbles that is creating a breeding ground for such political violence.

The PPRC meeting was attended by all of the party’s presidential aspirants, including Julius Maada Bio, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Alpha Timbo, Munda Rogers, Franklyn Rogers and Dr Jonathan Tengbeh. Chief Kapen – the chairman of the party was also present at the PPRC meeting.

One of the resolutions of the PPRC meeting was that all of the presidential aspirants will be invited by the party chairman Kapen, to attend the party’s National Executive Council meeting slated for Saturday, 4th June 2016, at the SLPP head office in Freetown, as observers.

On the 1st of June 2016, chairman Kapen honoured that PPRC resolution and sent a letter to each of the presidential aspirants, inviting them to the NEC meeting.

Members of the Presidential Aspirant Alliance decided that it would be prudent to attend the meeting collectively.

They arrived at the entrance of the party office yesterday 4th June 2016 and were refused entry by security men who told them that they cannot enter the building to attend the NEC meeting, because the programme had changed – the chairman has changed his mind.

When asked where the decision to lock them out had come from, they were told: ‘Orders from above’.

Kapen letter of invite to aspirants - 4 Hune 2016They were refused entry into the building and prevented from attending the NEC meeting as observers, in accordance with the resolution agreed with the PPRC chairman Justice Thompson earlier in the week. (Picture: Letter of invite from chairman Kapen).

They were also refused entry into the building and prevented to attend the NEC meeting, despite producing their letters of invite they had received from the party and NEC chairman Kapen on the 1st June 2016.

Why the duplicity? This is a question that needs to be answered by the chairman of the party, and fast, to prevent his credibility and authority from sliding further into oblivion.

No one deserves to be treated with such humiliation and disrespect, let alone grand patrons of the party who had legitimate reason to enter the party office.

kapen list of SLPP invitees to NEC meeting - 4 June 2016What is seriously disturbing is the prima facie evidence suggesting that yesterday’s ugly scene was deliberately designed to cause humiliation and disgrace for the members of the Aspirant Alliance.

Whether one supports any of the Alliance members or not, constitutional justice and common sense dictates that no regulation or rule was violated yesterday by members of the Alliance. (Picture: List of SLPP grandees on chairman Kapen’s list of NEC meeting invitees). 

Why did chairman Kapen agree at the PPRC meeting to invite all of the presidential aspirants to the NEC meeting as observers, knowing full well that they will be refused entry?

Why did chairman Kapen give orders to security, to refuse their entry into the building and prevent them from attending the NEC meeting?  Was he pushed by others to do so?

At the SLPP main entrance, Kandeh Yumkella and the other Alliance members called for the attention of the national chairman, but it is understood that chairman Kapen told them: “I am sorry”.

This is shameful, duplicitous and chaotic. The opposition SLPP has a big problem with national credibility. It is carrying a heavy baggage, and yesterday’s ugly scene will not help the party shake the monkey off its back.

The surreptitious and concerted campaign to keep certain members of the party out, will certainly keep SLPP out of State House for a very long time to come, if it does not change its culture of covert discrimination and poor governance.


  1. The Alliance formed is making more problems for the party than bringing solutions to the problems of the party.
    JOB and others have no regard for the grass root supporters of the party. They feel that without them, nothing can go on right within the party.

    Posterity will judge everyone of them if they continue to bring confusion within the party. There is no point saying that only northerners should be president of the country. The people who have the calibre and integrity to rule this country could come from the East and South.

    And until they give them chance to rule, nothing good will come out for us in this country. Challenge that, you will see. We have suffered for far too long under the northern rule.

    Lets try a southerner or easterner this time round and make a good judgement as to who rules best. After all the country is for all of us. We cannot sit by and see things go down the drain because of our selfish interests.

  2. I believe Sam Momoh should read and understand the above article before making a comment. After the meeting with the PPRC chairman, the SLPP chairman invited all his party aspirants to discuss the unfortunate violent incident that took place in Kenema.

    So the Alliance was against violence. But based on your statement you have already concluded they are against Maada Bio who is a suspect.

    I also believe that Maada Bio is the over ambitious candidate, because after losing the past election miserably he should abide by the rules and regulations or primary process. The candidates should be able to speak and move freely without any fear of violence during the process.

    If he is so popular as you stated, let him form his own political party like Charles Margai or join the APC like Usu Boi to play the role of the late Sorie Ibrahim Koroma – aka AGBA SATANI, who was the godfather of political violence in the country.

    My advice to Maada Bio is, the next time you campaign for The president as you did when you arrived from London, make sure you are bold enough to put on a Red cap like Usu Boi did, instead of disguising yourself as an SLPP candidate.

  3. Gbessay Ehlogima Sam Momoh,

    I ask that you read something on temperaments, including choleric, sanguine, melancholic and phlegmatic.

    Tell me which temperament is of people with lively, sociable, carefree, talkative, and pleasure-seeking. For they can be flighty and changeable. Thus, they may struggle with following tasks through and through. And be chronically late or forgetful. They are best reached through awakening their love for a subject and admiration of people. They are the most popular, undependable and have a 50/50 per cent chance of succeeding in anything in life.

    That is your temperament. Shame on you!

  4. This is strange to many who knows democracy. How can level headed people with different political agenda form an alliance, with each having his own aim of leading this nation. This is ridiculous.

    What operates in most democratic states is that aspirants may step down when they see that they can not make headway, and that a particular aspirant has similar agenda and vision with his own. But this is not the case with these guys – Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Alpha Timbo, Munda Rogers, Franklyn Rogers and Dr Jonathan Tengbeh.

    All of them are over ambitious for power, and all target and reckon Maada as the stronger force. Hence the reason for forming this alliance. I am kindly asking them to name just one candidate instead of fooling people by their so called alliance.

    Alliance against who? What a shame! Any person you select will not rank with Maada for political popularity in Sierra Leone. I classed all of you as Doctors with high political ambition, but no idea how to coordinate them. Please show me any country where aspirants have formed alliance during flag bearer election.

    I have listened to most of your statements over the FM radio stations in the regions – all of you always speak ill against Maada. We do not believe in cheap popularity, where Yumkella is always portrayed by this media as flying to and fro on international conferences and meetings and making presentations.

    Let him pile all those presentations and keep them. Surely one day they will vote for him for maybe another UN assignment in Syria, but not for this coming flag bearer election.

  5. We are seeing a reactionary behavior of old politics, an entrenched culture not willing to change. The SLPP old guards and cronies seem not ready to put up with the wind of change by a new generation of political figures in their midst.

    I personally believe no flag-bearer can instill political transformation of modern times in anyone of these traditional parties- the SLPP and APC. For them, time remains the same, no evolution, politics is about personal gain and power control, no duty obligation and no accountability.

    The doubt that lingers to every observer is about the capability of any of these flag-bearers to exercise command and control to put the SLPP party internal structure in good order. As events unfold, we can perceive clearly intentions to stifle the inspirations of these men, discourage their good will to bring sanity into the party.

    Nobody could have imagined such a scorn would be poured on these fine gentlemen of valuable assets to the party. They hardly would find their way through in the SLPP party.

    If these men really mean to bring about political transformation, regenerate our political system for sanity and good governance, their best option is to work together and form a new political party. They certainly will gain the support of the majority of Sierra Leoneans in and outside the country.

  6. Now I understand why Charles Margai left the SLPP and formed his own party – PMDC. SLPP is such a divisive party.

    In my opinion, the Alliance should break away and form their own party.

    They are relying on the 30% traditional votes of the SLPP banner. But after such disgrace last Saturday, they should have their own party.

    Even if they have less than 10% it is better than this humiliation, and they will be at peace.

    There is too much hypocrisy within the SLPP and even the Chairman is involved. I am sure that Maada Bio will be chosen as the flag bearer again and behind closed doors as was done in 2012.

  7. Fighting an enemy within is the most difficult fight. Especially when he or she sees his or her personal interest above his or her house, family, village, town or country.

    My prayer for mama salone is to bless us with an individual who will really look at the interest of salone first. As a country, we have a lot to do.

    “Village boy Thoery”

  8. The SLPP may have to be completely buried for progress to be made. The party is no longer built on ideas, but on promoting tribal hegemony. Another party will have to step up and take the place of the SLPP as the country’s main opposition.

  9. It’s rather unfortunate for these candidates shown on the above video clip to put themselves in that predicament because it make them look weak. What’s wrong with a simple private phone call to the party chairman who is supposed to be the head and unifier of the party to confirm the appointment, before showing up for the meeting?

    This meeting should have been scheduled to be held in an undisclosed location preferably the basement of the chairman’s house, to iron out their differences before making a public announcement of the successful outcome due to the situation that took place in Kenema.

    The party chairman should also try to enforce his authority by standing firm for the truth, because the result of a prolonged dispute is to be afraid to speak the truth. The good news is that the election is two years away and in politics it seems like two decades. So there is enough time to regroup and come out strong to reclaim State House.

  10. God is in perfect control of everything unfolding in Sierra Leone. He was the same God that defeated Pharaoh of ancient Egypt. And He who watches over Sierra Leone, like Israel, will neither slumber nor sleep.

    Please do not fret or be discouraged. But, have faith in God. For all these very painful and harrowing situations are temporary. They will be over soon. Amen.

  11. This is what happens when you make a serial coup maker your party’s flagbearer. Now it appears the SLPP is plagued with coups within their party.

    The only thing the SLPP is opposing currently is it’s own members. EBK and company are free to abuse the constitution, make money disappear into thin air, and operate without any accountability. The SLPP is blind, deaf, and dumb when it comes to the APC, but consistently attacks itself.

    Once the serial coup maker was selected, it was all downhill for the party. One has to question, what payroll is Maada Bio on? It may not be Bio alone who is being paid to cause destruction within the SLPP. It is still very interesting that Bio went on an APC Ebola tour. It is difficult to understand where his true loyalties lie.

    The SLPP needs to do a much better job of vetting candidates. What has Maada Bio been doing for the last 20 years? Can we finally see a resume that outlines his accomplishments? Can we review the details and see what makes him a suitable leader?

    Staging multiple coups does not mean you are fit for leadership. Members of the SLPP and all Sierra Leoneans deserve more and better. At this point, it is very unclear whether Maada Bio and others are on the APC payroll. It seems their only purpose within the SLPP is to create continued disunity.

    Without any scrutiny over how Maada Bio has spent the last 20 years, he may have planned and executed a coup right inside the SLPP. It is not clear what he does for a living or how he supports his family, but somehow people are promoting him as the fittest to lead the party.

    If the SLPP does not wake up soon, they will remain in opposition indefinitely. It seems there are those within the party with the sole purpose of ensuring they stay in a permanent slumber.

    • I believe that if there is no Unity among the members of the SLPP, there will be no President from the SLPP in the coming 2018 elections.

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