The government of the All People’s Congress seems to be listening to criticisms of excluding former SLPP stalwarts from governance as Dr Prince Harding, the former Secretary General of the SLPP, and Brigadier Julius Maada Bio (Rtd) are members of President Ernest Koroma’s ten-man delegation to Burkina Faso.
They will be leaving Freetown today to attend a summit of Head of States and government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which takes place tomorrow in Ouagadougou.
Many political pundits have described the incorporation of Brigadier Julius Maada Bio (Rtd) in an APC delegation as a classical example of forgiveness and reconciliation, as he was one of the architects of the 1992 military coup that overthrow the APC.
“Those who were saying the APC is insensitive to southerners now need to rethink as hardcore stalwarts like Dr Prince Harding and Maada Bio, both from the south, have proven that the APC means business about national cohesion,” said one diplomat yesterday.
It will be recalled that at some point Maada Bio was a front-runner for the SLPP leadership, and in Bo last weekend during that party’s mini-convention his name featured prominently as one of those who might lead the party for the 2012 elections.
The news of the absorption of these two SLPP southern stalwarts into an APC delegation have infuriated some diehard party supporters who are now accusing the two of political opportunism.
Meanwhile, other members of the ten-man delegation are Alpha Kanu, the minister of Presidential and Public Affairs; Zainab Hawa Bangura, the Foreign Affairs minister; Richard Conteh, the deputy minister of Finance and Economic Planning, among others.
The delegation is expected in Freetown on Saturday.