The chairman of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) John Oponjo Benjamin has called for an end to what he described as ‘watermellon’ politics in Sierra Leone.
He made this statement at the Ahmad Tejan Kabbah hall at the Eastern Polytechnic compound along Combema road in Kenema city, when he was addressing party stalwarts during his first visit to the area as SLPP chairman.
He expressed his delight in visiting the area along with the National Chairlady of the SLPP party Madam Isatu Tejan Kabbah who is also visiting Kenema on the invitation of the Kenema district women’s wing of the party since the election that brought her to power a couple of months ago.
The national chairman of the party described Kenema as the heart of the party and promised to invite Madam Isatu Kabbah during his own official visit which has been slated for the dry season. Benjamin added that the party is a national party that is why during their regime ministers and other civil servant were not recruited from one particular region but across the country.
He expressed his dismay over the manner in which the present ruling All People’s ‘Congress (APC ) party is appointing it’s leaders, noting the appointment of cabinet ministers and other civil servants lack national character pointing out that 80 % of them are done in favour of the northern region of the country.
The SLPP chairman reiterated that the Eastern and Southern regions were deliberately excluded from holding key ministerial and other positions.
Benjamin blamed the present financial problem the country is experiencing at the moment to the country’s finances being in the hands of the Northern region alone, adding even where they are not qualified for certain projects. He maintained that most of the projects the present government is implementing like the Bo to Masiaka highway, Bo to Kenema highway, the Masingbi to Makeni highway and the Kenema to Pendembu highway construction projects, were all initiated during the regime of the SLPP adding they will strictly monitor their implementation.
He did not hide his disappointment in the recruitment of ‘Leatherboot’ and others like him into the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) force which the SLPP spent time and resources to build its image and re-brand it as the Force For Good. The national scribe of the party says regarding that the people of Kenema that they have manifested their commitment and loyalty to the party and called on them to work as one as there is only one SLPP party in the entire Sierra Leone that serves all irrespective of the region and tribe.
In his statement the National Secretary General of the SLPP Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa disclosed that the party strongly condemned the decision to close the Unity radio station in Freetown and that they have instituted legal action aimed at reversing the decision. He described the action as an attempt to silence the SLPP, something which he says is impossible.
He called on party members to register with the party and to help bring back their brothers and sisters in the other parties to the SLPP because according to him unity is strength and it is only through unity that they can bring back the SLPP party to power in the next general elections come 2012.
By Saffa Moriba in Kenema