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COCORIOKO » 2004 » May

Archive for May, 2004

John Benjamin , Septimus Kai-Kai and John Karimu named in dogfight for Kailahun District Council Chairmanship

Monday, May 31st, 2004

JOHNBENJAMIN2

JOHN BENJAMIN 

Monday May 31, 2004

 Kailahun District is turning out to be another battleground for political ascendancy by Sierra Leoneans determined to become President , after the incumbent Head of State, Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah , retires before the 2007 General Elections.

A Sierra Leone Political Insider, who spoke exclusively with COCORIOKO   today , noted that Kailahun may become famous in the years to come for providing one of the many-cornered battles looming for the Sierra Leone Presidency when Pa. Kabbah retires.

According to the insider, John Benjamin( pictured on the right )  , former NPRC Prime Minister and ex-NUP Chairman and the Information Minister in the SLPP government, Professor Septimus KaiKai are both gunning for the Presidency .

John Benjamin  was returned unopposed in the Kailahun Njaluahun Ward Constituency during the local Council elections and  the battle for the Kailahun District Council Chairmanship is between him and Mr. Moinina Conteh , another  winner of a local council seat in the same district for the ruling SLPP.

“John Benjamin’s ultimate aim is to become Kailahun District Chairman from where he can leverage his way into another bid for the Presidency, this time, though, through the SLPP, ” the insider narrated. “But”,  he went on : Moinina Conteh is being backed against John Benjamin  by  Information Minister, Septimus Kai-Kai  , who also wants to be President of Sierra Leone and sees Benjamin’s success as Kailahun District Chairman as a threat to his ambitions. “

The insider went on : ” However, current indications are that Benjamin will win against Moinina as he and DR. JOHN KARIMU ( Benjamin’s buddy in the NPRC : Karimu was their Minister of Finance ) , now Head of the National Revenue Authority ( NRA),  are spraying cash to all successful councillors.  “

BENJAMIN, KAIKAI AND KARIMU ARE INVITED TO RESPOND TO THESE ALLEGATIONS .

Big- money politics by Kabbah’s cronies cost APC the local elections

Monday, May 31st, 2004

By KABS KANU :

TEJANKABBAH6

PRESIDENT AHMAD TEJAN KABBAH : He has well-placed citizens in public service and private enterprises spraying money on the ruling SLPP to stay in power .To President Kabbah’s credit, until otherwise proved, his government did not rig the elections. The votes, rather, were influenced by big money , being sprayed all over by Kabbah’s cronies.

Monday May 31, 2004

When President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah keeps opening his arms to corrupt politicians who had sacked the national treasury before (Like former SLPMB Chief M.K. Suma ) , unknowing members of the ruling SLPP criticise him for bringing discredit to the party.

However, it is now known that President Kabbah’s ploy has more to do with ensuring the longevity of SLPP rule than just giving the officials leeway to loot the economy more.

A well-placed political insider , who spoke exclusively with the COCORIOKO newspaper this morning , gave the full dirt about what is going on in Sierra Leone today —It is Big-Money Politics at play.

To the credit of the SLPP , they did not rig the elections. Irregularities occured ofcourse, but according to the insider, the elections were free and fair. The opposition APC could have swept the Northern Province and won seats in the South/East , but he informed this newspaper that big money was playing a significant role in Sierra Leone politics.

According to the political insider, former APC members bribed heavily to help the SLPP win in the Northern Province. He said that the opportunistic -APC members have realised that the political honey spewed more from the plates of the ruling SLPP than the APC. Simultaneously, the insider went on, the old, discredited politicians of Sierra Leone have subtly decided that they could maintain their stranglehold over Sierra Leone by uniting with ruling party prepared to welcome them , once it ensured the party logevity in power.

The APC had a lot of goodwill from voters disenchanted with the SLPP, but the biggest handicap facing the party  is money. The insider confided in this newspaper that the APC were disappointed when M.K.Suma crossed over to the SLPP because he was traditionally one of the party’s “cash cows “. The APC could not even generate enough money to field candidates in all the constituencies and this , the insider went on, contributed to 88 SLPP candidates going unopposed.

The insider also told this newspaper about the in-fightings of politicians determined to lay hands on the Sierra Leonean Presidency when Kabbah leaves. He cited the example of the race for the Chairmanship of the Kailahun District Council. According to him, the hottest aspirants for that position are former NPRC Prime Minister and ex-NUP Chairman, John Oponjo Benjamin , who was returned unopposed in the Kailahun Njaluahun Ward Constituency and Moinina Conteh , another winner of a local council seat in the same district for the ruling SLPP.

“John Benjamin’s ultimate aim is to become Kailahun District Chairman from where he can leverage his way into another bid for the Presidency, this time, though, through the SLPP, ” the insider narrated. “But”, he went on : Moinina Conteh is being backed against John Benjamin by Information Minister, Septimus Kai-Kai , who also wants to be President of Sierra Leone and sees Benjamin’s success as Kailahun District Chairman as a threat to his ambitions. ”

 

 

APC supporters in New Jersey go wild with jubilation

Saturday, May 29th, 2004

 ERNESTKOROMABEFOREELECTIONS

….Big Celebration  Dinner planned Saturday Sept. 25.

……Ernest Koroma and New Mayor of Freetown  expected for ceremony

Supporters of the All People’s Congress ( APC ) in New Jersey have gone wild with jubilation over their party’s local elections  clean sweep in Freetown and the Northern Province –momentuous victory that they now consider a grand dress rehearsal for their likely return to power following the  2007 General Elections.

Party Spokesman, Alex Mansaray, who only returned last week from a trip to Sierra Leone and other West African states,  and many other supporters this newspaper spoke with yesterday,  were lost for words to describe the dramatic turn of political events in Sierra Leone, where the ruling SLPP lost  ground to a party the NPRC junta thought they had effectively extinguished in 1992 when they staged what was then a popular military coup .

And now New Jersey, which appears to be gradually becoming the APC  bastion in America , is planning a big-do —A Victory Dinner and Dance –on Saturday September 25, 2004. The grand occasion , which will be in the form of  a Black-Tie Dinner with a three-course meal, will be held  at the Quality Inn Restaurant in Somerset, New Jersey ,  and will bring together supporters of the party from all parts of the continental USA .They will receive and honour the new Mayor Of Freetown  and the leader of the party, Ernest Bai Koroma.

Alex Mansaray has asked all APC  supporters to mobilize and be united for the good of the nation, noting that from experience Sierra Leoneans have now  accepted that only the APC has the political will to develop the country.

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR THE VIEWS OF SLPP SUPPORTERS ABOUT THE DEVELPOMENTS IN SIERRA LEONE

FREETOWN REJECTS SLPP WUTEHTEH

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

Wednesday May 26, 2004

The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has suffered a rather devastating blow after that resounding success scored at the general and Presidential elections exactly two years ago. This time around the party has woefully failed to click in the Local Council elections held last Saturday in the Western Area.

 ERNESTKOROMABEFOREELECTIONS

ERNEST KOROMA : HIS PARTY IS ON THE MARCH ONCE AGAIN

They woefully fell prey to their long-term rivals the All Peoples’ Congress (APC) who swept the polls in almost the entire Western Area. The APC seem to have repeated the 1964 feat when they swept the polls of the Freetown City Council election that paved the way for the late Siaka Stevens to become Mayor of Freetown. It was from that position that he led the APC to defeat the SLPP in the next General Elections.

The landslide victory of the APC has been attributed to the voter-apathy adopted by most citizens in the Western Area, more especially those in the elite class who did not even bother to register. Majority of them adopted the not-too-interested stance. Some later regretted that they did not register when the photographs of the eligible contestants were placed over the various wards in the city.

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 A teacher who registered for the exercise, but did not cast his vote said, “how can I go to the polls when my April salary is not yet paid?” However last Saturday’s elections have some hitches as confusion and irregularities tend to mar the rebirth of Local Council elections after a lapse of almost three decades. In about six areas, elections were cancelled because the names of the candidates were printed alongside the wrong symbols on the ballot papers The SLPP however will be represented in the City Council through Aruna Bangura who made it at the polls in Central 11. Down in Kono, the All Peoples’ Congress lost all the seats it contested. In Kamakwie, veteran Sports Journalist of the former Daily Mail Newspaper, John Roc Kargbo made it through under the banner of the APC. The SLPP took consolation by winning some seats in the strong hold of the APC in Port Loko. Up in the Mountain Rural District the SLPP made a clean sweep through Godwin Thomas, Edward Caesar and Idrissa Kamara. The Secretary General of the SLPP Mountain District, Mende Bangura also won a seat as an Independent candidate. Meanwhile it has been reported that the only successful independent candidate in the Kenema District was reported to have died in a road accident along the Bo-Kenema highway last Sunday.

WE ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE GOVT–SLPP SUPPORTERS

A cross section of SLPP members stormed our office last Sunday complaining about SLPP’s inability to win in the local council elections in Freetown.

Speaking on their behalf one of them said that they represented over 1000 SLPP registered members with party ID cards and NEC registration cards but refused to vote because the government is not doing well. He went on to say that two years ago, they rallied behind President Kabbah and the SLPP so that they would defeat the APC, which they did successfully.

According to him, because the government refused to help the poor, “we decided not to take part in this Local Government Elections, which we think is the only way we can vent our anger.” Another member in the group who is a lady said that what angered them most is the cement crisis.

She said that the cement company Leocem and the government issued a press release that the price of cement is Le16, 400 but in the shops, it is being sold for Le25, 000 and the government is doing nothing to reverse the situation. “We are tired of this government as they have turned their backs on us. We were humiliated by APC we did everything possible for the SLPP to win in 2002, but they in turn have proved ungrateful to us.”

The results coming out in the Western Area is speaking for itself. The leader of the group went on to admonish President Kabbah that the SLPP should be aware of the years ending in the figure ?7′ as they have experienced problems during such times. In 1967 he went on they lost the election because Lansana Brewah who was an independent candidate switched over to APC and Brig. Bangura took over. “In 1997, Johnny Paul overthrew us. So we want to remind the SLPP that come 2007, if they continue to suffer us we would do the same” he added.

PRESIDING OFFICER CAUGHT FORGING

A Presiding Officer of the National Election Commission (NEC) was caught forging results in the just concluded Local and District Council elections at Mile 91. According to report monitor here in Freetown, the Presiding Officer was alleged to have attempted to forge the results in favour of an SLPP candidate.

The latter was reported to have lost the election to the APC candidate. His untimely behaviour nearly brought the peaceful scene that prevailed at the area to an ugly situation. It was the timely intervention of the Police that denied the occurrence of any ugly scenario. The police also arrested a man with four different identity cards bearing the same photos, but with different names in Magburaka. He has been detained pending court action.

According to source at the Police the security situation in Makeni, which was dubbed as a flash point before the elections, was without any hitch during and after the elections. Giving an overall assessment of the security situation in the country, the Inspector-General of Police- Brima Acha Kamara maintained that despite minor election malpractices the entire process went on rather peacefully. He however said that there were some minor clashes in Port Loko between the two rival parties – SLPP and APC but his men deployed out in the field quelled the situation.

The Inspector-General also spoke about an attempted demonstration in Kenema by supporters of an Independent candidate, but the security personnel on the ground also thwarted that incident. He confirmed that at least some 16 people who were caught during the elections in some act that has no bearing to the elections law would soon be charged to court.

WESTERN AREA RURAL DISTRICT

MOUNTAIN RURAL AREA (4 COUNCILLORS)

Idrissa Kamara SLPP 986

Godwin Thomas SLPP 879

Edward Caesar SLPP 904

Mendi Bangura INDEPENDENT 834

 

WESTERN AREA RURAL DISTRICT

 

KOYA RURAL AREA (4 COUNCILLORS)

Abu Bakarr Bangura APC 1905

Cecilia Harding APC 1902

Abu Jalloh APC 1889

Thaimu Kanu APC 1772

 

WESTERN AREA RURAL DISTRICT

 

YORK RURAL AREA (4 COUNCILLORS)

Alhassan Cole APC 4421

Samuel Billy Kanu APC 4003

Mohamed A.K Kamara APC 3814

Paul Akim Sesay APC 3546

 

FREETOWN CENTRAL I

Rev. Lawrence Lawson APC 6463

Mariama S. Sesay APC 5983

Foday Mahmoud Sesay APC 6377

Samuel Bonghor Sesay APC 5828

FREETOWN CENTRAL 2

Rosalind Forde APC 3267

Herbert George-Williams APC 3243

Eugene Sankoh APC 3047

Momodu C.S. Kargbo APC 2901

FREETOWN EAST I

Hamid Samba Kamara APC 8183

Abdul Salaam Lewally APC 7546

Lambrana Mansaray APC 8141

Ahmed Samba Turay APC 7892

FREETOWN EAST 2

Ibrahim Samba Kamara APC 7181

Chernor G. Kamara APC 7287

Mohamed B. Kamara APC 6963

Sheka Koroma APC 6203

 

FREETOWN EAST 3

Foday Kaloko APC

Abu Bakarr Kamara APC

Abdul S. Kanu APC

Gibril I.B. Kanu APC

 

FREETOWN WEST 2

Augustine Kamara APC

Collins Thomas Pearce APC

Ahmed Kabba Turay APC

Kainde Bangura APC

 

FREETOWN WEST I

Whistanley R.B. Johnson APC 2747

Eluzai Cole APC 2874

Virginia Renekeh Kamara APC 2607

Aruna Bangura SLPP 2555

 

FREETOWN WEST 3

Shaik H. Sawaneh APC

Contago M.C. Sesay APC

 

LOW TURN-OUT AT LOCAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS

Voters trickled into polling stations in Freetown Saturday to cast their ballots in the first local government elections for over thirty years. Unlike the 2002 Presidential and Parliamentary elections the long lines were not evident, dispelling hopes by election officials that late in the afternoon voters would troop into the polling stations.

 After casting his ballot at the Old School polling station Saturday, President Tejan Kabbah said he was pleased the elections process had been without violence. Speaking briefly to reporters the President said “this is a very important step in the consolidation of the peace,. the hard won peace in Sierra Leone. It’s my dream coming true, that we Sierra Leoneans should put behind us the association of the exercise of our democratic rights by way of voting with violence.”

President Kabbah noted that “This is the second major elections that we’ve had since 2002 and the nomination days for both, on both occasions passed on peaceful; and this one has so far gone on peacefully.” He stated that he was “very pleased about it” adding that “this means that we really are there as far as violence is concerned we now have it behind us.”

Meanwhile the main opposition All Peoples Congress party leader Ernest Koroma was not too happy with the entire process. Just after casting his vote at the Seventh Battalion polling booth in Goderich, Mr Koroma told reporters that in “certain areas specifically the Tonkolili District in the Yoni chiefdom, in Kono District especially in the polling station that is close to the residence of Chief Kamanda and also Kamakwei in the Sella Limba Chiefdom wherein the Chief is reported to be snatching voter ID cards from the voters and in the Tonkolili District senior government Ministers plus the Paramount Chief of the Yoni Chiefdom intimidating people”.

He also accused minister Okere Adams of threatening to kill one of his supporters, alleging that this happened in front of the police. Mr Koroma also alleged that in Mathoi and Masorie and Mathei villages”the presiding officers have commandeered the voting, they have chased all the voters out and it is just a field day for the SLPP in those areas. Mr Koroma maintained that these actions would affect the out come of the elections.

 Questioned whether he subscribed to the President’s statement that the elections were violence free Mr Koroma argued, ” No violence does not necessarily mean a free and fair elections.” He warned that they are “still committed to the process but we are observing.” He went on “I have warned the SLPP government that we are not going to accept the outcome of any chequered election in the name of peace we are not going to accept any process because we have to guarantee peace, I think we have had peace long enough for us to be able to put in place structures and systems that will guarantee our democracy.

Ernest Koroma, aspiring President , gives Cocorioko second exclusive interview about his plans for Sierra Leone : Part 3

Sunday, May 23rd, 2004
More Pictures From the visit to New Jersey  on May 19-20, 2004 of  the  high -Powered  APC Delegation From Freetown , led by the Party Leader and Presidential candidate  Ernest  Bai  Koroma
APC SEC.GENERAL AND COCORIOKO EDITOR REALIZE IT IS A SMALL WORLDThe APC Secretary General, Victor Foh, and the COCORIOKO Editor , Kabs Kanu, your humble servant, had cause to learn once again that we live in a small world.Foh, who had gone downtown and was not around when I  arrived to visit and interview the APC Leader,  came back from  Somerset with aides and met  the me  interviewing the APC Leader. 

 

He was concerned about the close proximity I was sitting with the party leader –for security reasons – and was  busy enquiring from aides who I was and why I had been allowed to sit so closely to the APC Chieftain. I heard him distinctly mumbling that aides have to be security-conscious.I had  known  that Foh was married to Madam Yonta Turay , whose siblings and Yonta herself  grew up  with me at Reservation  Bo in the 1960s . Her siblings Sammy, Raymond, Lydia and Evelyn were my playmates . I  took the distrust calmly and joked with Foe : “Ernest Koroma is my brother and also my college mate at FBC. I am interviewing him for my newspaper .Even you, Mr. Foe, we are connected in some way and when you soon known who I am, you will be surprised ”

 

Foh was anxious naturally to hear this  but waited patiently for the interview to end.  After  the interview, I motioned the corner to him and he followed me : “Where is my sister ( Your wife )”  ? I asked him. The APC Secretary General was then told that this  Editor grew up with members of the family in which he had married and to say he was surprised and excited would be an understatement. He was very excited as I  named all his in- laws. and recounted how his wife’s family and mine lived virtually as one family in Bo during my schooldays.Yonta, though older than me ,  and her sisters and brothers even attended primary school with me and my elder brother, Max. Her brother, Sammy , and I  were closer than brothers and  were not only classmates but played together and exchanged comics  as kids. Foh was so moved you could see the surprise on his face .

 

Foh took my hand  and led me  to Ernest Koroma and then to other APC  stalwarts, introducing me  as his “Komaneh” .He tried to introduce me to the leader, but Ernest told him  that this  Editor and himself  were buddies at FBC  in the 1970s. .

 

The lesson to be learnt from this is that we Sierra Leoneans may have our different political associations , affiliations and philosophies but we must never forget that we come from a very small country where we are all interrelated somehow by marriage, kinship, tribe , region or other considerations. Victor Foh learnt that it is a small world, but then he was doing his job. He had to ensure that the Leader of the APC  was safe .

 

Foh (Right) and the Editor  took  this friendly picture afterwards. Indeed, it is a small world.

 

 

The APC Secretary General, Victor Foh, and Mortgage Banker, Foday Mansaray( In white shirt ), with the APC Leader’s delegation and some members of the New Jersey Chapter of the APC.
The President of the New Jersey Chapter of the APC, Mr. Mohamed Azziz Nabe
Mr. Mohamed Sowe , the Internal Auditor of the APC North American Branch and Secretary General of the New Jersey Chapter
An Old Edwardians get-together at the hotel where the COCORIOKO Editor, Kabs Kanu , interviewed the APC Leader, Mr . Ernest Bai Koroma . The Editor ( Right ) , an Old Edwardian too ( Attended St. Edwards Primary School 1962-63), was excited to meet one of his boyhood  soccer heroes , Allieu Pat-Sowe (Second from right ) , who was one of the stars of the Old Edwardians soccer team of the mid to late 1960s .Pat-Sowe played alongside other Old Edwardian greats like the late Patrick Kemokai,the late goalkeeper Amadu Kargbo,  Obi Metzger, Wasiu Sunmonu, Prince Elba ,Allister Walton-Davies,  Daniel Kamara ( Fangay), Sylvanus Morado Kamara etc who captured the 1968 League Championship and the 1969 FA Cup. Obi and Wasiu joined Ports Authority after 1968 .
The Editor (Centre) seen here interviewing the APC Leader, Ernest Koroma  ( Left).  Sitting  next to them is the President of the North American Branch of the APC, Mr. Alimamy Kargbo.
 Ernest Koroma stressing a point during the interview
Alex Mansaray ( Centre) confers with the Editor while he was interviewing the APC Leader. Right is APC North America Chairman, Alimamy Kargbo, taking notes too from the leader’s responses.
Business man , Mr. Asmad Barrie, the Internal Auditor of the New Jersey Chapter of the APC.
The APC  people pose for this picture after the Editor finished interviewing the leader of the party, Ernest Koroma.
The APC Leader, Ernest Koroma , being interviewed by the Editor of COCORIOKO. .The leader is wearing a special party T-shirt with his name and position inscribed on it. Watch his right chest . Copyright. COCORIOKO.
 ERNEST KOROMA, THE LEADER OF THE APC

John Benjamin takes another throw at the dice

Sunday, May 23rd, 2004

JOHNBENJAMIN1

 

…..Contests local council elections

Sunday May 23, 2004

Former National Unity Party ( NUP  )  Chairman, John Benjamin has taken another throw of  the dice in his quest to join the Sierra Leone political rulership . He is one of the winners  of  yesterday’s local council elections, having been returned unopposed for the Kailahun Njaluahun Ward Constituency.

John Benjamin, who stirred  up the youths and radicals dying for a new political front to stop the dominance of the  two unpopular  bastions, the ruling SLPP and opposition APC,  won the seat  in Kailahun District  under the banner of the SLPP,  the party for which he declared two years ago , after his hopes of contesting the last General Elections as Presidential candidate for the NUP  were  jettisoned by the Northern faction of the party.

This tribalistic act, which was roundly condemned  by this newspaper, robbed Sierra Leone of the fulfillment of the wishes of many radical citizens–The advent of another political force to challenge the SLPP and the APC — though some SLPP supporters at Leonenet were unimpressed by Benjamin’s quest–asserting that he lacked a political constituency in the very South/East from where he hails.

Benjamin’s involvement with the NPRC Military junta , which he served as Prime Minister and later as Chief Secretary  , was always going to dog his steps  and he often engaged in a war of words with one of his bitter critics, Lawyer Allieu Iscandri, who has been appointed Prosecutor of the UN-supported War Crimes Tribunal that starts sitting in Freetown, Sierra Leone on June 3.

It remains to be seen if Benjamin will  have a conspicuous role carved out for him in the political renaissance going on in Sierra Leone. Opinions were always fiercely divided also about his ability to govern, many pointing to his business acumen and success while others regarded him as inexperienced .

However, before his collegues in the NUP  killed his hopes for the Presidency, Benjamin had become very popular with the youths, especially students of Fourah Bay College and middle-level professionals looking for a fresh breath of air in the political landscape

SLPP Wahala continues in the UK

Tuesday, May 11th, 2004

STATEMENT

From :       THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 2000/ 2004  Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) UK & Ireland Branch —

To :        All Members

Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) UK & Ireland Branch

&   All Sierra Leoneans

 

YOU may have heard or witnessed the attempt by Messrs Mohamed Haji Kella, Josiah Lahai and Mrs Agnes Dugba Macauley in the name of the Elections Committee of this Branch Party under the misguidance of elders John Sorbah Green and Matthew Ganda and Secretary General Harold Saffa to conduct executive elections of this Branch Party on the 30th May, 2004.

 

YOU may have heard that their undemocratic and unpatriotic attempt at conducting Branch Party executive elections coincided in time, venue and date with a General Meeting convened by the Executive Committee at Africana Hall, Ashwin Street in London, UK.

 

You may have heard that in the absence of an updated Membership List and Voters List and with the hasty, politically-unwise and legally unfair application of Article 6.1.9 of the new Constitution of this Branch Party, the attempt by the Elections Committee headed by Mrs Agnes Dugba Macauley to conduct executive elections of this Branch Party on the 30th May 2004 was marred by controversy resulting from the disenfranchisement of about 93 % of our general membership.

 

You may have heard or witnessed the fact that in the resulting controversy at Africana Hall on the 30th May 2004 Chairman Samuel Jonjo was assaulted by Messrs Mohamed Haji Kella and Josiah Lahai and Chairman Jonjo’s public address system costing �1000= 00 and which this Branch Party had used for all previous meetings was thrown outside and damaged by Mr Josiah Lahai in the full view of witnesses.

 

You may have heard or witnessed the fact that in addition to disenfranchising over 90 % of our more than 700 general membership and refusing them access and entry into Africana Hall on the 30th May 2004, even Chairman Samuel Jonjo was denied access and entry into the hall for over three hours by a gang of non-Sierra Leonean thugs or bouncers hired by Mr Mohamed Haji Kella until a detachment of local British police intervened.

 

You may have heard or witnessed the fact that in his comments before departing from the hall, Chairman Jonjo’s statement to the police and to all Sierra Leoneans present was that “he cannot participate in elections that are flawed and that amount to unjust disenfranchisement of over 90 % of the general membership of the SLPP UK & Ireland Branch. That as a political party worth its salt and in the light of the less-than-expected performance of the party at the May-2004 local government elections in Sierra Leone, the SLPP everywhere in the world should open and be seen to open its door to all Sierra Leoneans, not close it.”

 

You may have heard or witnessed the fact that as a result of this discriminatory, shameful and unpatriotic exercise a so-called “SLPP UK & Ireland Branch executive elections” was held with about fifty ( 50 ) voters present and as a result of which all candidates for the 14 executive posts of this Branch Party went unopposed with the exception of the post of Women’s Secretary for which the winner Mrs Beatrice Wusie polled only 29 votes.

 

DECLARATION

 

In view of the issues and events hereinabove narrated, WE the undersigned Executive Committee members of the SLPP UK & Ireland Branch, conscious of our faithful and loyal duties to the SLPP and our patriotic responsibilities to Sierra Leone and to all Sierra Leoneans hereby declare the following :

 

1.    THAT stage-managed and Soviet-style unopposed elections that

disenfranchise over 90 % of our general membership is not,

and cannot be a tradition of the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP )

any where in the world in the democratic climate of the 21st Century.

 

2.          THAT the aforesaid elections purported to have been held in the name

of the SLPP UK & Ireland Branch on the 30th May 2004 with the evil

inspiration of Messrs John Sorbah Green, Matthew Ganda and Secretary

General Harold Saffa was a travesty of democracy and consequently the

results totally unacceptable and unrecognised to over 90 % of our general

membership who have been unjustly disenfranchised and to us who are the

constitutionally -elected and lawful custodians of this Branch Party.

 

3.          THAT arrangements for proper, free and fair elections with franchise for

all registered seven hundred ( 700 ) and more members of the SLPP UK &

Ireland Branch shall be announced in due course following which

expeditious dates for democratic executive elections of this Branch Party and handing-over to a new Executive Committee will be announced.

 

 

……..                              ……..

                           Samuel B. Jonjo                                Sahr Y. O. Lebbie

                             ( Chairman )                                    ( Vice Chairman)

 

 

  ………                 …….                   ……..

 Sahr Stephen Kabbah               Malikie Saffa                  Bockarie Marah

(Organising Secretary )      ( Asst. Organising Sect.)     ( Financial Secretary )

 

 

           

 

Special Court – First Trial to Begin on June 3

Monday, May 10th, 2004
Subj: Special Court – First Trial to Begin on June 3 
Date: 5/11/2004 3:30:51 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: SCSL-PressOffice@un.org
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Special Court for Sierra Leone
Press and Public Affairs Office

PRESS RELEASE 
Freetown, Sierra Leone, 11 May 2004

First Trial to Begin on June 3

The joint trial of three alleged former leaders of Sierra Leone’s former Civil Defence Forces (CDF) will begin on 3 June 2004, in accordance with an order signed on Tuesday by Presiding Judge Bankole Thompson for the Trial Chamber.

The CDF trial will be the first of three joint trials currently pending before the Court’s Trial Chamber.

The three accused, Sam Hinga Norman, Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa, face an eight-count indictment for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. 

Charges against the three defendants include unlawful killings, physical violence and mental suffering, looting and burning, terrorizing the civilian population and collective punishments, and the use of child soldiers.

Pursuant to another order of the Trial Chamber, the trial of three alleged leaders of the former Revolutionary United Front (RUF), Issa Hassan Sesay, Morris Kallon and Augustine Gbao, will commence on 5 July 2004.

The accused face an 18-count indictment which includes charges of terrorizing the civilian population and collective punishments, unlawful killings, sexual and physical violence, the use of child soldiers, abductions and forced labour, looting and burning, and attacks on United Nations peacekeepers.

#END

The Special Court is an independent tribunal established jointly by the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone. It is mandated to bring to justice those who bear the greatest responsibility for atrocities committed in Sierra Leone after 30 November 1996. To date, the Prosecutor has indicted eleven persons on various charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. Nine indictees are currently in the custody of the Court. 

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Late Citizens’ education impacted the election – NEW

Sunday, May 9th, 2004


The National Election Watch (NEW) has observed that the lateness of citizens’ education had an impact on the elections, as many people did not know the purpose of local government. The preliminary statement of NEW states further, “inadequate sensitization about local government process was apparent as some people were saying, “I have already voted for the President, what else do I need to vote for?”

According to NEW combined with misinformation or party information, many people were confused about how to vote. “The complexity of the voting process, particularly for those voting for Town Councils, was thought to demand a greater and more proactive education process,” the statement stressed. NEW maintained that the issue of participation was affected by a number of issues.

 They also observed that some voters found it difficult to find where they should vote, as the stations where they registered no longer existed on polling day. Others found their ID card numbers not matching the polling station’s electoral role numbers and their names were missing from the register.

They also maintained that some voters were reportedly discouraged by the difficulty they found in accessing their vote due to the reasons above and returned home without voting. NEW emphasised that some Presiding Officers and polling agents had problems exercising their duties. It went on to state, “in some polling stations it was noted that presiding officers did not know about the seal required to lock the ballot box. Some did not know which information they could share with observers (such as total voter roll); and many did not know what accreditation forms were required for validation of observers.”