Members of the Sierra Leone Motor Drivers and General Transport Workers’ Union (SLMDGTWU) in Kenema city are at each other’s throat in what has been described as a power struggle.
Police dragged scores of these drivers to the Kenema police division when a fistfight erupted at the union’s office at Mattoe Kapuwa Lorry Park.
Speaking to the chairman of the truck unit, Edward James alias Caskay, he explained that the current executive had not performed to their expectation since they came to power.
He said the past SLPP government gave the union ten lorries but because the union lacked a bank account five of the lorries were withdrawn and the remaining should have been shared by the region but the national executive did not do so.
Caskay disclosed that when any union member talked about development within the union or asked hard questions, the executive would issue a suspension letter to that member.
He further said the SLPP government further gave 450million Leones as soft loans to the national executive to open a central park with all facilities, but the park was put under a company at the Clay Factory in Freetown led by one pa Becks.
“All the truck drivers in the country gathered in Freetown late last year and demanded the executive to account for their activities with the past government but to no avail, there then we formed the pressure group and went to State House where the entire executive was dissolved and we were appointed to man the various district affairs until elections are held. Since I came, I have even continued building the office in kenema up to wall height. But the old executive here is still trying to operate a parallel executive. But they have been dissolved and we too will not accept it,” he noted.
Getting the regional chairman’s version, David Taylor explained that he received a letter from Freetown after which he then summoned all the membership to a meeting at the office to explain its contents to them.
“Mr James then came with his group and said the meeting would not go ahead, an argument then ensued and he assaulted me in the presence of police personnel. I then made a report against him. At the police station he then spat on my face at the door of the Local Unit Commanders (LUC)’s office in the presence of a police officer too. I then obtained a medical form and went to the hospital, which I have returned to the police and the matter will soon be charged to court,” he stated. The office building Mr James alleged to have completed, he continued, “was built by me up to wall height and now remains the roofing which I will soon finish”.