By Morie Mussaffa
MONEY and DELEGATES are, perhaps the two most powerful instruments that a new comer to any political party can use to either surge to the top of the party or to even wrestle away leadership and power from those who have long suffered, served and paid their dues in the party. It seems like those two instruments are what Kabba, Berewa and JJ Blood (all new comers to the SLPP), have successfully used to take control, and now, trying to purge the party of Old Timers replacing them with new people.

For 62 current SLPP Parliamentarians to be denied the chance to run on the SLPP party symbol platform is a puzzle that only Berewa and JJ Blood can explain. Both Berewa and JJ Blood were not officially registered members of the SLPP more than 7 years ago. What’s worse is that when both men were members of other political parties like the NUP, they each hurled and lambasted some of the worst criticisms against the SLPP. Yet, both men managed, through the power of MONEY and DELEGATES (and Kabba’s INFLUENCE in the case of Berewa), to muscle their way into the top echelon of the SLPP upon their very first entry into the party.

Since then, its apparent that these men have seriously gone to work to make an effective use of MONEY and DELEGATES to purge the SLPP of Old Timers who had a legitimate right to question their authority, and to replaced them with new people who can’t say much in terms of legitimate rights. This goes way back to the time when the rank and file of the long serving SLPP supporters rejected Kabba’s choice for Chairman of the SLPP in favor of Maigore Kallon. Since then, Kabba, Berewa and JJ Blood may have sat down to organize and plotted to make sure that no such opposition to Presidential authority ever again comes from the lower ranks of the SLPP. J J Blood has even gone further with this purging strategy by taking it to the national level when he declared that only SLPP supporters should be the ones to hold government jobs as far as he was concerned. Now, it is widely known that, in fact, people are being sacked or threatened to be sacked from government jobs if they openly support other parties.

This was clearly demonstrated after the 2005 Konbenshon in Makeni when J. B. Dauda, then Minister of Finance and Emmanuel Grant, Minister of Energy and Power were both sacked by Kabba for merely standing against Berewa, who was fielded as Kabba’s choice. Later, John Benjamin replaced J. B. Dauda as Finance Minister under suspicion that it was his reward for nominating Berewa (Kabba’s choice) to be the Presidential candidate. John Benjamin himself, a new man in the SLPP, had established and led his own party until the opportunity came for him to become an SLPP member at the top level. This same idea of purging the SLPP of Old Timers has continued to manifest into 2007 with the way the SLPP symbols have been given out. They first of all raised the price to Le 1,000,000 to weed out undesirables (with the MONEY factor), and then the DELEGATE factor was used to vote against the Old Timers and Parliamentarians. Now, Kabba, Berewa and JJ Blood are resting easy that they now have a party of new SLPP sycophants who will bend at their beckoning.

SLPP Old Timers who have suffered and labored through the turbulent years of the APC, from hence forth, will be cast outside looking in on the corridors of power within the SLPP. Is this fair to those people? Was it even fair that the SLPP delegates chose Berewa over Charles in 2005? I am asking any SLPP die-hard to answer this question in whatever forum he/she choses? “What (SLPP) party qualification did Berewa have in 2005 over Charles Margai that made the DELEGATES chose him, a virtual new comer who knew nothing about the party, over Charles Margai’s record in the party all through the years?” My question is asking for comparison between Charles and Berewa’s party-related qualifications only. If anyone wants to bring in comparison with someone else, then let it be someone who had stood as Presidential candidate as on Old Timer like Charles, because this question is specifically about Berewa and Charles. Let’s not forget that Kabba was the one who started on this idea of displacing Old Timers in the SLPP with plenty of APC blood right from his first term. Look at the present Cabinet and count how many previous APC, NUP people occupy high posts versus Sorbeh people, for example? If Kabba was a good man, he should have allowed more Sorbeh people in this government than APC people because Thaimu Bangura joined him in 1996 to make him President. Too bad that Taimu Bangura died so soon.

For 62 SLPP Parliamentarians to lose the symbol, did not happen unintentionally and certainly not by accident. These are people who were either honestly elected by their constituencies or who got in because of Kabba’s crooked winner-take-all strategy he used in 2002 to trick Sierra Leoneans into giving him what he wanted, which was to continue in office. And it was only by virtue of that trickery that the SLPP was able to garner more than the usual 36% in the Parliamentary vote and Kabba was able to garner over the usual 40% at Presidential level. I am told that it was a premeditated strategy orchestrated to clean the SLPP of potential Old Timer opponents to Berewa, Kabba and JJ Blood’s machinations, and fill the party with their own sycophants headed by the Friends Of Solo-B subgroup.

Because of this unfairness to the SLPP Old Timers, I am writing to ask those SLPP Parliamentarians who have been dumped by Berewa and JJ Blood, to come over with their supporters to Charles Margai and PMDC, the man who was the true SLPP. One of the few people who helped SLPP continue to live under Siaka Steven’s APC, the man who never cross-carpeted for political opportunities unlike many others who did. This is the kind of man the SLPP DELEGATES should have been proud and honestly rewarded for the unadulterated and unwavering support he maintained for the party till the influence of money overpowered dedicated support.
Vote for Charles and PMDC on August 11, 2007 in order to change life for the better in Sierra Leone. Remember that you have seen and are living through what the SLPP has done the last 10 years. WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE BETTER OFF TODAY, THAN 7 YEARS AGO? If not, then the country needs to change this government now! now! now! Otherwise it will be the same old people, the same old party, with the same old ways of doing things, thereby providing the same old backward and unprogressive country. Sierra Leoneans deserve to live better than they are now.
Morie Mussaffa
New Jersey, USA


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