Opposition APC escalate rhetoric against SLPP in New Jersey

Coverage of the launching of the New Jersey Branch of the APC Party at Somerset, New Jersey  by the COCORIOKO Newspaper Limited. 



By Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu


Saturday September 28, 2002


The All People’s Congress (APC) escalated it’s

rhetoric against the ruling Sierra Leone People’s

Party (SLPP) today during the launching of the New

Jersey Branch of the party at Somerset , New Jersey.


In a Grand Ceremony graced by the presence of the

leader of the party, Mr.Ernest Bai Koroma; his running

mate at the last elections Mr.Dauda Kamara and many

top members of the party both in Sierra Leone and the

U.S., APC members blew their minds about what many of

them described as the mismanagement of the country by

the SLPP and the APC’s strong plans to return to power

in 2007 .Party leader, Ernest Koroma charged that the

SLPP cheated at the last elections , but the APC

decided to accept the results in the interest of peace


and reconciliation .

Ernest Koroma said that from the voters’ registration

exercise , which was a fiasco , to the voting itself,

the APC was cheated at the last General Elections by

the ruling SLPP.He stated that his party would have

rejected the results of the elections, but in the

interest of peace and reconciliation, the APC decided

to accept the results .However, delegate after

delegate remarked that the APC would not tolerate the

same situation in the 2007 elections, which they

claimed that they were going to win.


As a community Elder and reknowned Minister of the

Gospel in New Jersey, I was asked ,

along with Muslim Cleric Alhaji A.S.G.Kamara of Jersey

City , to officiate the religious portion of the



Before accepting the invitation, I reminded

the APC officials that I had criticised

the party and the SLPP a lot in the past in newspapers

and on the internet  but I had realized that the APC

was the only hope for Sierra Leone.  Mr. Dauda Bangura, the

Chairman of the occasion, and the main organizer, Alex

Mansaray ,reminded me  that the “beauty of APC

Philosophy” was that a man did not become the enemy of

the party just because he criticised it.”We accept

constructive criticisms from everybody.We are not like

other parties who hate to be criticised. We are a

democratic party ,” they both assured me , “and so

there is no problem with that”. I told them that the APC

was unique because it was the only party you would criticize

but go all around and find no other party as progressive as

it and return to declare for the party. Mr.Bangura said that

even within the party, members spoke out about things

they did not like. I was to notice this later at the

program when some speakers highlighted things going on

in the party that they did not like.


With this in mind, I went to the ceremony

this evening at the East Somerset Fire House in

Franklin Township where I found an impressive occasion

in the making, with APC red banners and flags

fluttering on the walls and adorning tables.The APC

officials and supporters of New Jersey, many of whom

regularly read my articles, who had arrived and were

in attendance, gave me a rousing welcome and

introduced me to members from other branches as “our

Reverend here”.


Iimmediately felt at ease and I joined those who had

arrived to await the arrival of Ernest Bai Koroma and

his delegation. While waiting, Alhaji Kamara and I

discussed religious issues , another beautiful aspect

about Sierra Leone where the two major religions

peacefully existed alongside each other. I saw some

SLPP members like Muniru Kallon and Brima Alpha and we

hugged each other and also spent some time cracking

jokes and discussing different stuff.


While we sat there chatting , I saw several party

members , to whom I was introduced..Conspicuously

present at the program were the two daughters of APC

founding father Dr. Siaka Stevens. They were

Mrs.Francess Tejan-Jalloh , who is a spitting image of

Pa. Shaki, and Mrs .Mabel John.I also saw sons and

daughters of former leading APC functionaries and

Paramount Chiefs from the North, who have now become

key APC operatives.


One subject of discussion ,which was to even become a

recurring theme at the occasion, was that Sierra Leone

had inadvertently been polarised into two political

parties–the SLPP and the APC. People said that

whether one liked it or not, the last General

Elections clearly showed that there were only two

major paries in Sierra Leone and one was either an

SLPP or APC member.They explained that regardless of

how many other minor parties emerged, the political

dynamics ultimately boiled down to SLPP vs.APC .

Then it was announced that the leader of the party,

Ernest Bai Koroma, had arrived with his

delegation.They came to New Jersey from Washington

D.C.where they had received “encouraging” welcome from

the U.S.Congress and the State Department, under

water-tight protection from the Police.


Ushered in by party officials from New Jersey, Ernest Koroma

and hismen entered the hall, the opposition leader carrying

his usual broad smile.When he saw me, we were both so

animated , not having seen each other since we

graduated from Fourah Bay College (FBC) where we were

both students in the late 1970s. We hugged each other

warmly and remarked about how much we have both

changed. We shared courtesies and said we were

delighted to see each other. Then APC members

overwhelmed him and his delegation with hugs ,

handshakes and embraces.


APC supporters cheered the entrance of their leader and his delegation.

Accompanying Mr.Koroma on what party supporters

regarded as a “historic visit” by an opposition leader

, were Osman Yansaneh, the National Secretary; Alhaji

Abubakar Jalloh; parliamentarians Dauda Kamara, Alfred

Gombu-Smart and Alhaji Rashin – Bundu . Other top APC

members from the American Branch who came in with Mr.

Koroma included the North American National Chairman,

Mr.Raymond Kabia ;Martin Bash-Kamara ; Daniel Koroma

,Alhaji J.Kargbo, Mohamed H. Bangura, Osman T.Conteh ,

Santigie Santos Sesay and Allieu Pat-Sowe. During the

introduction of members, Mr. Kabia lauded the valuable

contribution of other members of the American Branch

who were absent this evening : Lawyer Allieu Iscandri,

Victor Doherty, Mabinti Bangura , Fatmata Shaw and

Limatu Bangura.


When they had taken their seats, it was time for the

program to start.We sang the national anthem and it

was so euphonious and enjoyable that we almost had an

encore, before we were stopped for time

constraints.The Chairman of the program , the eloquent

and impressive Dauda Bangura, former Editor of THE


introduced by Ajibu Tejan-Jalloh, son of the late

President’s daughter, Francess , started the program.

We then proceeded to the Muslim prayers conducted by

Alhaji A.S.G.Kamara followed by the Christian prayers

conducted by this writer( Rev. Kabs Kanu ) , who doubled as religious

leader and reporter.


COCORIOKO will bring you in

series details of the speeches made in the launching

ceremony by Ernest Koroma and other APC delegates, to

break the tedium of a very long , single write-up


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