The Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) has set tongues wagging once again . The National Executive Council delegation of the party arrived in the United States yesterday strangely missing the party’s Presidential candidate for next year’s all-important elections, Mr. Maada Bio, and the Chairman of the party, Mr. John Benjamin. The delegation was to have come here on a sensitization tour. However with the leaders of the party missing, SLPP officials are now saying that the team is here to bring peace to the diaspora branch of the SLPP.
MR. ALLIEU I. KANU
The SLPP delegation is led by the party’s Secretary General, Mr. Suliman Banja Tejan-Sie and other members include former Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN for Legal Affairs, Mr. Allieu Kanu and the Hon. Emma Kowa .
Originally , Mr. Maada Bio was billed to have led the delegation and all arrangements had been concluded when the SLPP announced that he had been dropped from the delegation, leading to speculations in some newspapers that he may have been denied a visa by the U.S. authorities. The SLPP never addressed these speculations . It was expected that the delegation could have been then accompanied by the next most senior official, Chairman John Benjamin. But that too did not materialize.
When John Benjamin arrived here a few years ago, he was detained at the Dulles International Airport in Washington DC by U.S. Home Security officials and was subjected to the most intense grilling on his human rights records . It took the intervention of Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the U.S, H.E. Bockarie Stevens, for Mr. Benjamin to be released.
If Maada Bio was indeed denied a visa by U.S. as is being speculated, then it represents an alarming commentary of the indescribably embarrassing and anomalous fate that Sierra Leone will face in the international community if people with human rights problems like Mr. Bio ever become President . The idea of Sierra Leone not being able to engage in any bilateral relations with the only superpower of the world, not to mention the multilateral fallouts it will provoke with the UN and other international organizations , will be a price too dear for the country to pay for electing a leader rejected by the international community because of his bloody past. We await to hear the truth.