Washington DC. Their initial propaganda against the illegal AFRC regime was very effective although not nearly as it later was when Alie Bangura as Abdul Hakim, Dr. Julius Spencer as Johnny Williams and Hannah Fullah as Yeabu Dumbuya took to the airwaves under fm 98.1 radio. Those three were a team; they were funny, they were hilarious, and factual in their presentation in many respects. I remember how they gave us hope and courage during our incarceration in Pademba Road Prison. What is even more, they were a thorn in the side of the ARFC reign. The sound of their voices reached us clearly within the walls of the Prison, now refered to as Correctional Centre. Yes, name change from Prison to correctional Centre because Britain had adopted the new nomenclature of Correctional Centres in place of prison. As former loyal subjects of her majesty’ Colony and Protectorate of Sierra Leone, we’ve always followed our colonial master. I don’t want anybody to ask me how we got a radio transmitter into Pademba Road Prison; Siaka Stevens once joked that if one had the resources one could get an elephant into that forbidden place. A stragn incident took place some years back which baffled many people with the exception of some of us who were aware that nothing is impossible in the President’s guest house. A number of maximum security risk prisoners walked out of the compound without any breaking in; the door must have opened spontaneously to let them out.
After the war John Leigh was appointed Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States while Alie Bangura and Julius Spencer were brought into the cabinet of President Tejan-Kabbah. In John Leigh’s case President Tejan-Kabbah directed me to find out from the United States government weather it was in order for him to appoint Mr. John Leigh as an Ambassador and Plenipotentiary to the United States. The reply was that “Yes, provided that he gave up his United States citizenship during the period of his appointment.” In 2009 when we were now in opposition Ambassador John Leigh was a contender for the position of Chairman of the SLPP. Not surprisingly he lost, securing only two votes, probably that of his and of his nominator, Mr. Leigh resigned from the SLPP and like Ambassador Shekubah Saccoh called it a Mende man’s party; he did not stop there but apparently his eyes were now wide open and he no longer saw Mr. Ernest Koroma who was now President of Sierra Leone as one who had got to that position thanks to the manoeuvring of our ex-Roman Catholic Num Christiana Thorpe. In his eyes Ernest Koroma was the best President the country had ever had etc etc, I cannot recall weather that flattery brought him any reward from the APC leader but he has continued to be among the critics of the SLPP government past and present. In a recent twit on social media he alleged that the SLPP government of Sir Albert Margai had in 1964 expelled all northerners from his cabinet, beginning with Dr. John Karefa-Smart. In that wild and unsubstantiated statement Ambassador John Leigh had either demonstrated that he has no knowledge of the events of the 1964 or that he is just propagating fake news like the rest of the enemies of the SLPP.
The SLPP with its motto of “One Country, One People” has never repeat never expelled anybody from its ranks be they northerners, southerners etc. What are the facts? In 1964 on the death of Sir Milton Margai the then Prime Minister the Governor-General Sir Henry Lightfoot-Boston appointed Mr. Albert Margai as his successor. Dr. Kerefa-Smart, Mr. YD Sesay, Alhajie Sanusie Mustapha, Mr. Ahmed Ahmed, SL Matturi petitioned the Governor-General’s decision. They contended that the Governor-Generals should have consulted the party members before making his appointment. But the Governor-General’s position was that the Sierra Leone constitution allowed him to appoint as Prime Minister anyone who in his opinion had the support of the majority of Members of Parliament at the time. Hhis position was endorsed by the country’s Attorney General Berthan Macauley Esq. QC. It may be recalled that in 1955 there was a leadership contest between Albert and his older brother Dr. Milton Margai which Albert won by one vote. The “Elders” of the party then got together and persuaded Albert to step down in favour of his older brother, which he did. That was to lead later to the formation of the People’s National Party PNP (dubbed Pikin Na Pikin) led by Messrs Albert and Siaka Steven. Mr. Albert Margai on assuming office excluded John Kerefa-Smart, YD Sesay, Alhajie Sanusie Mustapha, SL Maturie and Ahmed Ahmed from his cabinet. Despite pleadings from party stalwarts and others to forgive the alleged offenders he stood firm; it was for that action that many people concluded that he was a vindictive leader. Late Dr. Peter Tucker who was Secretary to Prime Minister Albert Margai notes in his history of the SLPP that Karefa-Smart later wrote a letter to Sir Albert Margai suggesting that they get together and settle matters amicablely in the interest of the party. According to Peter Tucker Sir Albert did not as much as acknowledge receipt of the letter which action compelled Kaerefa-Smart to resign from the SLPP in 1966 and join the ALL People’s Congress APC of Siaka Stevens. It must also be pointed out that the APC was formed after the London 1961 conference. Neither in Sir Milton Margai’s time nor in Albert Margai’s time was anyone expelled from the SLPP nor ever since. It must be further noted that at the time that those men were dropped from Albert Margai’s cabinet Kandeh Bureh, Chief Yumkela, Alusine Kandeh, all northerners were still in the government and remained there up to the 1967 Parliamentary elections. Mr. John Leigh’s assertion about SLPP expulsion of northerners could only be product of his imagination the records are there for everyone to confirm.