TOP HINGA NORMAN SUPPORTER JOINS OPPOSITION PMDC
The political wind of defections and new declarations continue in Sierra Leone as the nation prepares for all-important Presidential and Legislative Elections next year.
The latest man to declare his political loyalty is a top aide of incarcerated Former Coordinator of the Civil Defence Force and Interior Minister, Chief Hinga Norman. People’s Movement For Democratic Change ‘s official Moijue KaiKai sent COCORIOKO this report , written by Journalist Thomas Gbenda.
As the political tempo in Sierra Leone gathers speed the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) has scored yet another goal in its bid to take over the reins of government from the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), come the 2007 Parliamentary and Presidential Elections.
This time around, the PMDC has captured another big fish in the person of Abu Bakarr Turay, popularly known as ABT, an Investigator assigned to the Hinga Norman Defence Team at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Mr. Turay visited the PMDC head office on Hannah Benka Coker Street in the early hours of Wednesday December 27 2006, dressed in full party colours. He was received by scores of party stalwarts who immediately interpreted his coming over to the party as another big blow to the dying SLPP, and a plus for the PMDC.
In an exclusive interview with him, he revealed that he is shifting allegiance to the PMDC because he sees no bright future for the SLPP, adding that as far as he is concerned, the present SLPP is by all indications vindictive.
He said the likes of former Vice President Albert Joe Demby, Harry Will, Momoh Pujeh and Charles Francis Margai, lost their positions in the SLPP without members of the party knowing any reason for such. He went on to state that the former Coordinator of the Civil Defence Forces (CDF) and Minister in the Tejan Kabbah led administration, Chief Sam Hinga Norman, got his incarceration under the watchful eyes of the government he selflessly fought to return to power, noting on a rather sad note that to the best of his knowledge, no member of the SLPP has ever paid him an official visit or shown any sign of sympathy to him since his incarceration about fours years ago.
Mr. Turay pointed out that if the SLPP as a party could now see Chief Norman as an enemy, then he is afraid for himself. He said the President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah may mean well for the nation, but some people around him have not been adequately informing him about the real situation on the ground.
A typical example he said, was his arrest on August 5 2005 by armed police personnel who raided his residence at 0500hours, on allegations that he was planning to overthrow the government. He said judging by the way and manner in which the matter was handled, it is possible that the President was unaware of his arrest and the circumstances surrounding it. He went on to refer to his arrest and eight days detention in police custody as mere intimidation because of his affiliation with the detained Chief Hinga Norman. On why he decided to come over to the PMDC, Mr. Turay stated that he loves the PMDC, and is okay with the calibre of people behind it.
“If I truly love my country, I should make up my mind to join forces with those patriotic sons and daughters of the soil who have come together to form the PMDC with the sole aim of ushering positive changes in our beloved country”, Mr. Turay said, adding that with the calibre of people behind Mr. Charles Francis Margai, he is optimistic that the party will emerge victorious come the 2007 general elections.
He dismissed claims by certain individuals that the PMDC is made up of frustrated people who defected from the SLPP all because they felt slighted. According to him, even if that is the case, one cannot disown his own brother simply because he is crazy – something he said the SLPP has done. “I don’t see myself associating with such a party”, Mr. Turay said. He praised the leadership qualities of Mr. Charles Francis Margai, saying evidences are there to show that he is the kind of leader this country is craving for.
Asked whether Chief Norman is aware of his move to the PMDC, he said yes, revealing: “I told him I am going to join the PMDC and he gave me his blessing”. According to Mr. Turay, it is just a matter of time, Chief Norman too will openly declare for the PMDC.
Mr. Turay further maintained that he will personally ensure that Chief Norman makes a statement in that direction pretty soon. He said he will ever remain loyal to Chief Norman despite his current predicament.
According to him also, some enemies within the SLPP who do not like Chief Norman, are only anticipating his death because they see him as a threat. “I can assure you that my coming over to the PMDC is an indication that Chief Norman is not too far from same”, he added. He therefore called on supporters of Chief Norman to begin to pack their bags and bundles for an onward journey onboard the fast moving PMDC train.