In our flashback series , we are trying to expose the real colours of the Leader of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) , Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin ( Inset ) , and show that neither he nor members of his doomed political party have any moral authority to accuse President Ernest Bai Koroma and government of wrongdoing because when it comes to the most depraved acts of corruption , rigging of elections and undermining of the economy and the growth of democracy in Sierra Leone, nobody does it better than the SLPP. We have looked at how the main actors of the SLPP –John Benjamin, John Karimu, Sama Banya and Patrick Foyah–on the eve of the 2007 Elections seized Kailahun District and unleashed thuggery on the then APC Presidential candidate Mr. Ernest Koroma and the PMDC Leader Charles Margai , preventing them and supporters from entering, let alone campaign in the district . The desperate men also caused over-voting to take place in key constituencies. in Kailahun. We have also reproduced a press release from the APC Secretary General Mr. Victor Foh in which he outlined steps the SLPP had taken to rig the 2007 elections, including tampering surreptitiously with voter registration.
Today, in our flash back, we are going to look at one of the most shameful moments in the life of the SLPP, when their own-appointed Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Eugene Davies, resigned and publicly announced that he was quitting because the SLPP forced him to rig the Local Council Elections and not satisfied with that were still interfering in his work. That was in 2004.
COCORIOKO was one of the newspapers that took up the battle against the SLPP for their apparent criminal acts at a time when misguided opportunists, fifth columnists , confusionists and unstable miscreants within the ruling APC today, who have the audacity to lie that we only joined the struggle in 2007 ( Shame on them ) , were busy carousing with the SLPP and massaging the ego of former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and his government. Yes, while they were busy currying favour from the SLPP, we were risking our lives and the safety of our relatives in Sierra Leone speaking out against the atrocities being committed in the nation by the SLPP. God will reward the brave men and women of Cocorioko then–Kabs Kanu, Sylvester Suarey , Olu Faulkner, Chernor Ojuku Sesay and Tamba Borbor (who later brought in Joseph Kamanda in 2005) for being bold to challenge the SLPP as they sought to take the nation to the cleaners.
In 2003-2004 also , COCORIOKO was the only newspaper then that provided coverage for the then newly-established APC NORTH AMERICA – which had loyal and unswerving supporters like Raymond Kabia, Alimamy Kargbo and Alex Mansaray at the helm –at a time when nobody wanted to be associated with the APC , let alone its American Branch ( READ OUR REPORTS ALSO BELOW )
We call on everybody to read our articles and editorials then in the 2004 COCORIOKO Newspaper and see why the SLPP hates Electoral Commissioners. People can now understand why the SLPP is harassing the life of the present Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Christiana Thorpe. People will also understand now when some of us say that the people to fear in Sierra Leone are the SLPP, NOT THE APC, AS JOHN BENJAMIN WANTS PEOPLE TO BELIEVE .
READ FROM THE UNBEATABLE COCORIOKO :
President Kabbah : His party is under fire for Elections Chief’s resignation
RISING OPPOSITION PARTY CHASTISES SLPP AND CALLS FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS
Saturday September 4, 2004
The National Alliance Democratic Party ( NADP) has complained that the latest political fiasco in Sierra Leone involving the resignation of the Electoral Commissioner, following alleged Government tampering with elections results , is ”a serious problem that could undermine the gains that the people of Sierra Leone have achieved to sustain peace and democracy and ensure future free and fair elections in the country. ” READ MORE
SIERRA LEONEANS AT HOME AND ABROAD CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION OF ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER’S CLAIMS THAT SLPP TAMPERED WITH ELECTIONS
Saturday September 4, 2004
The ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) is in the eye of a developing storm as eyebrows are being raised at home and abroad over the explosive revelations of the resigning Electoral Commissioner, Mr.Eugene Davies, that the party tampered with the results of the recent Local Council Elections.
Sierra Leone’s Elections Chief resigned from his job this week in protest against what he termed as the government interfererance with the opoerations of the Elections Commission and that his conditions of service were abysmal for a government official.
Mr.Davies’ claims have provoked a firestorm of suggestions from Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad that the matter be investigated by the international Community, especially Britain, the U.S. and the European Union ( EU) who contributed the bulk of the funds for the conduct of the elections.Sierra Leoneans said the claims would not have been serious if they had not come from so important and vital an official as the very man who conducted the elections.
“It is a disgrace ,” claimed Tejan Conteh of Maryland, USA in a letter to this newspaper. “The SLPP had all along been portraying itself as an angel and dirtying the news of the APC .Now that the Elections Commissioner has confessed that the government interfered with the results of the last elections, the matter should not be treated lightly especially by the stakeholders who want the fragile peace in Sierra Leone to hold “, Conteh went on.
Other Sierra Leoneans accused the SLPP of cheating in every elections it had conducted or had been conducted on its behalf, since it returned from the doldrums in 1995. They stated that now the accusations of veteran politician, Dr.John Karefa-Smart that the SLPP cheated in 1996 and by present Opposition Leader Ernest Koroma that the SLPP stole the 2001 Elections have been confirmed.
But supporters of the SLPP have denounced the Electoral Commissioner’s claims, describing them as self-serving and motivated by dirty politics. They accused Mr.Davies of unnecessarily trying to undermine the integrity of the democratic process that was set in motion in 1995 .They wondered why the Commissioner waited until he realised that his conditions of service were poor before coming out with the allegation that the government tampered with the last elections.
COCORIOKO has its ears to the ground and will continue to follow this developing story capable of exacerbating donor fatigue in Sierra Leone.
KABBAH’S GOVERNMENT HAS DISAPPOINTED EVERYBODY : MORE FALLOUTS FROM ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER’S REVELATIONS
Saturday September 4, 2004
Many readers of COCORIOKO have blasted the government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah as the fallouts over the revelations by the former Electoral Commissioner, Eugene Davies, continue.
Other readers have written to condemn the government for creating the situation that caused the Electoral Commissioner to resign last week. They said the opposition parties have probable cause for raising a stink against the government for the Electoral Commissioner’s revelations that the government tampered with elections.
Some of the writers questioned the motives for Mr.Davies’ revelations but said it was a disgrace that a government that makes a hue and cry about being democratic could have been accused by its own Electoral Commissioner of fidgetting with results of elections.
Many of the writers praised the one-time Electoral Commissioner for displaying what one of them called moral scruples in resigning his post when he became dissatisfied with government interferance in the operations of the commission and coming out with the truth about how the government tampered with elections results.
KABBAH’S GOVERNMENT FAILED TO ACT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE NATION
Tuesday September 7, 2004
Whichever way we choose to look at it, the resignation of the Electoral Commissioner, Eugene Davies , on allegations that the government fiddled with elections results, is a big slur on the character of the SLPP regime.
We are so accustomed to standing the truth on the head and bashing the hero or heroine and glorifying the villain that many people chose to denigrate the character of the Elections Boss than accept the fact that a deed had been done against the best interests of the nation. The government had no right to overturn a result, let alone interfere in the activities of the Elections Commissions.
If the government is not stretching credulity when it calls itself a democratic entity , there is actually no sane reason for it to interfere with elections results.
What the recent events have done is that they have authenticated the bad reputation the SLPP government has for tampering with elections results. In 1967, the Prime Minister, Sir Albert Margai called on the Force Commander of the Army, Brigadier David Lansana , to declare martial law and intervene in the affairs of state after it was apparent that the opposition APC was on the verge of defeating the SLPP in the epic General Elections that later led to Sierra Leone’s first military coup.
If the case had rested only on the allegations of Mr.Davies , one would have taken the Election Chief’s charges with a pinch of salt because he too did not act in the national interest when he waited for self-interest and dissatisfaction over his salary and conditions of service to set in first before resigning. Could he have resigned if his pay check and benefits had been as fat as those of ministers of the government ?
The bare bones of Mr. Davies’ allegations were however given meat by the revelation that the SLPP has altered the results of the Koya Ward 3 Elections where an APC candidate won and imposed its own candidate Mr. Abdul Sultan Kamara on the people.
The government should have acted in the best interests of the nation by not only allowing the Koya result to stand but by giving the Elections Commissioner a free hand to do his job .The Elections Boss is not the errand boy of any government , but a public servant paid with the taxes of the common man to ensure that the will of the people prevailed at the ballot box.
The government’s action is a disgrace to the tenets of free and fair elections and the principles of democracy. The shameful act is also a slap in the faces of those patriots who sacrificed their lives in 1997 to successfully stand up to the Johnny Koroma-led military junta which overthrew the SLPP government, with elections malpractices being one of the reasons given by the soldiers for toppling the government.
The SLPP government has driven itself into a corner where it no longer has the moral authority to talk about the gross elections abuses perpetuated by the APC during their 27 year hold on power in Sierra Leone.
It is even more disgraceful that President Kabbah, a man on whom much national sacrifice has been larvished and from whom so much is expected, has allowed all the anti-people and undemocratic perfidy to occur under his nose. Will Kabbah have the moral wherewithal to look UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim , British Premier Tony
Blair and other 1997 world leaders in the face ? It was these international personalities who stuck to their guns that the so-called democratic government led by Kabbah should be returned to power by the military junta.How cruelly has Kabbah failed them ! ! !
The government’s excuses in the face of this colossal scandal show a regime that has no sense of shame. These lame excuses prevail because the government does not care for the feelings of the people.It is taking the electorate for granted. And that is the tragedy of Sierra Leone. No government ever takes the people seriously.
HILTON FYLE TELLS CAPTIVE NEW JERSEY AUDIENCE HOW PRESIDENT KABBAH’S GOVT. TRIED TO KILL HIM FOR SPEAKING THE TRUTH
Tuesday September 28, 2004
Famed Sierra Leonean broadcaster, Hilton Fyle, on Saturday held his audience spellbound as he powerfully highlighted how he was nearly hanged by the SLPP government for telling the truth that President Kabbah’s 1998 invasion of the country with foreign soldiers and mercenaries would result in massive loss of innocent lives .
Fyle, who for over 20 years fascinated BBC listeners all over the world with his brilliant presentation of the popular NETWORK AFRICA program, was the guest speaker at a fund-raising and Awards dinner held by the New Jersey North American Branch of the opposition APC in Franklin Township, Somerset, New Jersey on Saturday night.
In an eloquent speech that held listeners captive and evoked all kinds of emotions, the former presenter of the hit SLBS/TV “GO-GO SHOW” in the mid-1970s, also meticulously and carefully outlined how the dreams for multi-party democracy by the people of Sierra Leone were cruelly dashed by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and his SLPP government.
MORE FALLOUTS FROM APC FUNDRAISER IN NEW JERSEY : FORMER AMBASSADOR LEIGH CALLS HILTON FYLE ‘S KEYNOTE SPEECH OUTRAGEOUS LIES
Thursday October 14, 2004
Former Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the U.S, Mr. John Ernest Leigh yesterday launched a blistering attack on famed Broadcaster Hilton Fyle , describing as lies the explanation given by the former BBC Presenter of the NETWORK AFRICA for his run-ins with the SLPP government during the traumatic 1997-99 period..
It must recalled that two weeks ago, Fyle held his audience at the APC Fundraising dinner spellbound as he narrated how the SLPP government jailed him and came within a whisker of executing him because he disapproved of plans by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to invade the country with foreign troops and mercenaries to restore his government which had been overthrown by renegade soldiers and rebels in 1997.
The well-applauded speech , which also questioned the SLPP government’s commitment to multi-party democracy , did not go down well with SLPP supporters and top officials, some of whom were present at the Quality Inn Hotel Banquet Hall, in Somerset, New Jersey where the occasion was held.
Now Former Ambassador Leigh( Pictured left above) has released a rebuttal in which he did not only rap the famed radiojournalist for what he called lies but sought to defend the decision by ECOMOG ( according to Leigh) not to abide by the Abidjan Peace Accord but to seek restoration of the SLPP government through a military action against the Johnny Paul Koroma junta. . FOLLOW UP THE INTERESTING DRAMA HERE.
More charges from that APC Fund-Raising….. Now , Mayor’s letter says :
SLPP GOVERNMENT NOT COMMITTED TO WORKING WITH THE NEW FREETOWN CITY COUNCIL
Wednesday October 20, 200
More charges of the SLPP government’s lack of commitment to the goal of ensuring a smooth functioning Socio-polititcal and economy system in Sierra Leone emerged from the explosive APC Fund-Raising Dinner and Awards Program in Franklin Township, New Jersey last month.
The Mayor of Freetown, Mr.Winstanley Johnson, who was the Guest of Honor, failed to turn up because of pressing engagements, but sent a letter which was read at the occasion on his behalf by the North American APC Branch President, Mr.Raymond Kabia. COCORIOKO has obtained a copy of the Mayor’s letter ,which among many things , questioned the commitment of President Tejan Kabbah (Left) and his SLPP government to the the new Freetown City Council’s aspirations.
ALEX MANSARAY HONORED BY APC
Friday July 30, 2004
The CEO OF AA Airservices of Franklin Township , Mr. Alex Mansaray has been honoured by the opposition All People’s Congress ( APC) for his outstanding stewardship as President of the New Jersey Chapter of the Party.
Mr. Mansaray was given a plaque–The Sun Award for 2004–for his outstanding performance, commitment, hard work and progress in the New Jersey Branch of the APC. The honouring ceremony formed part of the highlights of the APC’s Annual Fundraising Dance held at the Chevy Chase Women’s Club in Maryland, USA on Saturday July 24, 2004.
Talking to COCORIOKO, Mansaray expressed appreciation for being honoured and promised to do more to promote the goals and objectives of the party.
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