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Labor Ministry manipulates Dock Workers election

Labor Ministry manipulates Dock Workers election

The Hon. Minister of Labor and Social Security, Mathew Timbo, together with other officials of his ministry have being named in manipulating the Dock Workers Union Presidency election held Saturday June 21st 2014 at BJMS compound, Fourah Bay Road, Freetown.

According to the disqualified candidate Mr. Kekura Kargbo said he has been politically robbed of his right and said he has contested series of elections under the All Peoples Congress (APC) party and he is a holder of a honorary membership card of the APC, He has served as a Deputy National Youth Organizer and also a Councilor for ward 129 between 2010-2012 under the said party. “Today it is the APC big guns that are fighting me not even to participate in the election process because they knew I have the majority support of the work force and if they allow me in the race I will definitely win,” said Mr. Kargbo.

Mr. Kargbo named some of the APC public officials who he said have fought tooth and nail to get rid of him from the contest for no good reason but for their self gain including the Minister of Labor and Social Security Hon. Mathew Timbo, the Majority Leader in Parliament Hon. Ibrahim Bundu, The former State House Chief of Staff Dr Richard Konteh, the East district Chairman Amadu Bangura , Dr Sam Sesay Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS), Constituency 104 Vice Chairman Ibrahim Bangura and Dauda Sulaiman Kamara.

The disqualified candidate said those named corrupt government officials have gang up with some Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) big guns like the President Sierra Leone Labor Congress Mr. Mohamed Deen, Mr. Max Conteh of Labor Congress and Kpaka Kamara of Seamen’s Union are all bent against him and to make sure he did not participate in the process, knowing fully that he is the most popular candidate with ninety percent support.

According to Mr. Kargbo labor officials are now NEC officials in the electioneering process to ensure he is kicked out of the contest, a process he described as a gross violation of their constitution adding that the interim body was set up by the union workers and was endorsed by  His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and instructed them to go on with the transitional process but all has been turbulently disrupted by angry politicians.

Disappointedly, Mr. Kargbo said his Lawyer, Barrister Harding had made an application for Court injunction which he said was approved by the Master and Registrar and by the Chief Justice and was sent to Justice Paul for hearing. At this stage Justice Paul should have endorsed the Court injunction and stop the election from taking place until further notice. Mr. Kargbo said Lawyer Harding went further to appeal to Justice Paul to pass a temporary injunction for the truth to have been exposed  but according to him Justice  Paul told him he was afraid to sign the injunction except if he was given five days to enable him listen to the other side of the story.

The most disheartening part of the process according to Mr. Kargbo, is that the election which should have been conducted since March 7th this year but Mr. Abdul Kanasieu who had earlier disqualified himself by failing to follow due procedures wrote an injunction letter on the 6th of March 2014 and the election was immediately stopped from taking place without consulting them as the other side before the approval of the injunction. Justice Paul later dismissed the injunction and ordered that the election be conducted on June 21st this year.

Suddenly he said, Hon. Mathew Timbo, Dr. Richard Konteh and members of the Labor Congress collaboratively held a meeting and decided to get rid of him since he is the most popular candidate from the race. After that meeting Mr. Kargbo said the Labor Minister wrote a letter to the interim President Mr. Alhaji Musa Conteh instructed him to disqualify Mr. Kargbo although he has gone through all the processes that qualifies him to contest as candidate for the position. Alhaji Musa Conteh refused to adhere to the ill motivated letter and resigned from the position as a result of continuous threats from the Labor Minister and other public officials were previously mentioned.

After the resignation of the interim President the Minister intervened with a press release signed by his Permanent Secretary that they are going to form a five man committee who were selected by the Minister himself, two from the Ministry of Labor and three from the Sierra Leone Labor Congress. Sources intimated that all of those five men selected by the Minister are not workers of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority nor are they members of the Sierra Leone Dock Workers Union. Sources also revealed that the five man committee appointed by the Minister took decision that they are going to conduct the election for the other two candidates Alpha Sulaiman Bundu and Abdul Rahman Denton using their powers to eliminate Mr. Kekura from contesting.

“My legitimacy to contest came from the workers who nominated me for the process”. Mr. Kargbo said and he quoted article 8a of the union reviewed constitution which states that “Any person vying for the position of Presidency shall write a declaration of intent including the incumbent to the union Secretary General and must be supported by thirty paid up members before forty days to the election”, a process which he said was fully observed by the disqualified candidate. Is that the way to treat a true citizen of the land? He concluded.

By Abdula Mento Kamara  

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