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And where is the foul play?

And where is the foul play?

The instantaneous suspension of Hon. Joseph Bandabla Dauda and Hon. Tamba Borbor Sawyerr the Sierra Leone Peoples Party by their national leader, Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin shortly after last week’s cabinet reshuffle announcement by the Office of the President at State House, does not appear to be in the interest of national unity.   (Photo:  HE President Ernest Bai Koroma)

But one thing the SLPP leader has always failed to comprehend is the importance of the President’s call for change even before he became the Head of State of Sierra Leone. He has always said it is abundantly clear that his Presidency will not just be limited to members of the All Peoples Congress but will cut across regardless of tribe, region and political ideologies and that he is President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and not APC, as in line with full practice of a new democratic governance in the country. 

Therefore, the appointment of the two SLPP members to cabinet positions is not at all a surprise to Sierra Leoneans who want to see their country being governed by a an administration of a national character, where by people are drawn from all corners of the country to serve in various positions. This must be overwhelmingly regarded by all and sundry as it is a major demonstration of President Koroma’s democratic open-mindedness, all in furtherance of putting together a government with full national representation.

While serving in parliament as a leader of the then minority APC, few years back, President Koroma seems to have maintained good ties with colleague PMs from across the house.

So, for us to see him offering cabinet appoints to opposition SLPP members especially the serving – Hon. Sawyerr, clearly manifests a political tolerance to opponents to display a healthy relationship with them.

The President’s move has in fact not only been widely welcomed but lauded by citizens in Bo, Kenema, Kailahun, Pujehun and even lauded in the north, let alone to talk of the Western area. Most anti-government critics are now viewing President Koroma as a true Sierra Leonean leader, whose main aim is directed towards uniting Sierra Leone and not divide it our yesterday people believe come 2012.

Gone are those primitive political eras when you (SLPP) used tribalism to separate the country and in the end leave the people in dismal poverty. President Koroma, a renaissance democrat of his caliber believes in the full practices of modern democratic principles, as records highlight in recent improvement in the country’s human rights situation.

Nonetheless, the suspension of J.B. Dauda and Hon. Tamba Borbor Sawyerr from SLPP should not be swept under the carpet though the opposition’s move seems to have slammed harsh criticisms to the door step of the SLPP, with opposing views on the issue from south-easterners of all works of life. The people have the democratic-political rights to make representation in governance, and every reason to throw their weights behind the Head of State of their country. Thus, Mr. JBD and Hon. Sawyerr with an overwhelmingly approval of their huge eastern region constituencies, deem it fit to form part of President Koroma’s national gender for the transformation Sierra Leone.

Much as the appointments of these two former SLPP members appear to be a burning issue to the SLPP, one has to critically weigh both the new convert-Hon. Sawyerr and the “prodigal” son, brother, father you name him, the designate minister of foreign affairs international cooperation, Dauda, does not look strange in office under the APC dispensation, despite his long stay away from comrades. As record puts it, foreign minister Dauda was up to the eve of May 29th 1992 the vice president of Sierra Leone, under ex-president Momoh. In fact, he had long pledge his staunch support to the President and the government for the growing pace of developmental in the country.

So, why the foul cry Uncle Ben? You were part of the same voices that have been shouting all over the place describing the last appointments by the President as a “Wusm” stars cabinet and now you have gone ahead suspended Hon. Sawyerr and J.B.D. for accepting ministerial appointments from the ruling party. What a violation of one’s democratic rights. Of course we have heard of recent expulsion of Hon. Legacy Sankoh, of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change, on grounds that he is not working in the interest of the PMDC but the APC, as well as the former Chairman Mohamed Bangura on similar claims.

In his wisdom the President may well have considered the coming on board of his government by both Hon. Sawyerr and foreign minister Dauda as a significant shift towards bringing the Sierra Leone together. That he has taken development to their door steeps from all fronts; Hon. Sawyerr and JBD as partners in development consider it worthy to support and work with the government regardless of tribe, regional and political in differences.

However, while anxiously awaiting the projection of more reasons from your executive for the expulsion of these two members from the SLPP party, one hopes that your national disciplinary committee would be as democratic and transparent as expected, in that it would at the end established reason against their expulsion.  The opposition’s disapproval of the appointment of its members by the President is also widely viewed as a cheap political gimmick, and has ironically turned out to be more soured on tongues of the SLPP PR units, at home and in the Diaspora, to the peak that with growing supports from the people to the President and the government, they have eclipsed the SLPP “burku tok”-talkativeness, and reinforced their trust and confidence in the APC Presidency of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma for the good works he is doing their communities and in the country as a whole. 

If I may ask, that uncle Ben and his team were there yesterday – the yesterday you -SLPP bank-rolled Emmerson to sing “Yesterday Better Pass Tiday”, and couldn’t afford your people the basic livelihood facilities such as the free healthcare delivery, good road networks, regular electricity supply in towns and cities, provide water and sanitation, housing, raised the standard of education for their children, improve on agricultural productivity and above all not a single job opportunity at their disposal. Do you still expect them to be going on shouting your hosanna having been neglected in poverty? So, where is this your cheap foul play?

Joseph Kamanda

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