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JOB Praised for Reuniting SLPP

28,Mar 2019
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By Prince C. Kamara

As President of Sierra Leone and Leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) between 1995 and 2007, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah embraced all those who contested against him for the leadership of the party in 1995. In fact, after emerging as party flag bearer in 1995, the late Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, who understood the essence of working together, called on all party members and supporters to unite behind his leadership in the interest of the party.

 

It is understood that after he emerged winner of the run-off Presidential election in 1996, Tejan Kabbah brought everyone together and tried to unite the country, after a bitterly contested presidential run-off election with Dr. John Karefa-Smart of the UNPP. In fact, most of the people who contested against Tejan Kabbah for the leadership of the party in 1995 were later appointed Cabinet Ministers in his government.

Charles Francis Margai, Dr. Sama Banya (Puawui) and Dr. S.B. Saccoh were later brought to the Cabinet as a way of uniting the party. In 2005, Tejan Kabbah was succeeded as leader and flag bearer of the party by his right-hand man, Solomon Ekuma Berewa.

Berewa was challenged for the leadership of the party in 2005 by some well-known personalities in the party including Charles Margai, Julius Maada Bio and J.B. Dauda. After they lost the flag bearer election, Charles Margai and J.B. Dauda left the party to try other options in politics. Charles Margai formed PMDC and J.B. Dauda joined the APC party and was first appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and later Minister of Internal Affairs.

Current President, Julius Maada Bio stayed in the party and campaigned vigorously for Berewa in the 2007 elections. The SLPP lost the 2007 elections and went into opposition for almost eleven years.

After being declared winner of the run-off election on 31st March 2018, President Bio embarked on uniting the party, by appointing some of his political rivals into his Cabinet. Alie Kabba was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Alpha Timbo as Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, and Ambassador Umaru Bond Wurie as Senior Adviser to the President at State House.

One notable person still missing in the government is John Benjamin, former chairman and leader of the SLPP. Whether one likes it or not, John Benjamin is a big hitter in the SLPP. He has a vast administrative experience, both in governance and in the public sector. Since joining the SLPP in 2004, John Benjamin has been a household name in the party. It is highly likely that at some stage, he might be given a major role to play in the current government. He was the last SLPP Minister of Finance before the party was defeated in the 2007 general elections. He also served in the NPRC administration of Valentine Strasser and Julius Maada Bio.

President Bio has been very magnanimous in victory. He, more than anyone else, understands the importance of party unity.

John Benjamin continues to be playing a key role in bringing back all those who left the SLPP before the 2018 elections.

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