The Secretary General of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Sulaiman Banja Tejan- Sie, has confessed in America that the prospects of his party in the November polls are very slim and bleak, and that ‘Solomon Berewa was more marketable than Maada Bio.’
Tejan-Sie went to America on the invitation of the Organization for Democratic Initiatives last week in time for the Democratic Convention. “The invitation was actually for the leader of the SLPP as lobbied by its supporters in the US; but since both John Benjamin and Maada Bio cannot be allowed in America, it was decided that Tejan-Sie should attend,” our highly confidential SLPP source informed The Torchlight. However, it was in a meeting with a small group of SLPP supporters in North Carolina (who were perplexed about the non-appearance of Bio in America) that Tejan-Sie made the confession.“All the indications are that Maada Bio will not win the elections. The American visa issue is a big dent to our campaign. But apart from that, all the issues surrounding the sale of passports, fake contracts, and extra judicial killings have made Maada Bio a candidate that is hard to sell both inside and outside Sierra Leone. Even Solomon Berewa was easier to sell,” Tejan-Sie was reported to have said. Our source further disclosed that Tejan-Sie urged them to rather prepare for the 2017 elections.
SOLO B : FAR, FAR BETTER THAN MAADA BIO
In the midst of that, the leader of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), Charles Francis Margai, who just a year ago was aligning himself with the SLPP and was a special guest at their convention, has stated during last weekend’s PMDC convention that saw him elected as its flag-bearer, that he has not regretted joining forces with President Koroma in 2007 “and will do it again…” in 2012. Sources within the PMDC state that Margai does not buy the message of tribalism flaunted by the SLPP, and that as far as he is concerned ‘even Berewa was more marketable than Maada Bio.’ The SLPP refused to send a representative to the PMDC Convention, even though other parties like the APC, UDM, and PLP were heavily represented at the 400-man-attended convention.
“Charles Margai is a man who does not mince his words. He told the SLPP during their convention that they should choose a good candidate. There were better and sellable candidates than Maada Bio, but because of tribalism they settled for him. You would not expect Margai to join a clearly losing side,” the source explained.
During the 30th July 2011 SLPP Convention at Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown, Charles Margai told the gathering that,“The PMDC is only waiting for the kind of leader the SLPP will elect…. If you want to win the 2012 elections, please elect a candidate that is marketable. Let your leader not be like Berewa that you were not able to sell… If you don’t have a leader that will contest against Ernest Koroma, don’t waste our time…”
Margai has now seen that it would be a waste of time to support Maada Bio whose candidature has caused many major stakeholders of the SLPP to defect to the ruling APC. These include at least three former flag-bearer aspirants, one former Minister, one former MP, one District Council Chairman, and male and female party leaders across the country.