By Amin Kef (Ranger)
President Julius Maada Bio and leader of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has welcomed a powerful opposition politician who publicly resigned on the 28th April, 2023 from the All People’s Congress (APC) to continue serving as Resident Minister, Northwestern Region.
The President noted that, “In continuing with our commitment towards opening up the space for other broad-minded nationalists to join the mighty Sierra Leone People’s Party today, I welcome Alhaji Alpha Bakarr Sahid Kanu CRSL, aka Alpha Khan, to our Mighty Party.
“A detribalised and distinguished political leader, with over 40 years of active engagement in party politics, he comes with an enormous wealth of experience to enrich our Party’s desire to promote meaningful change for our beloved country”.
President Bio also reiterated that the SLPP, is the only authentic political party for every Sierra Leonean, adding that they were open to welcoming all progressive-minded Sierra Leoneans who were committed to joining their national transformation agenda.
At the well-attended event in the home district of Mr Kanu, the President assured: “Ours is leadership driven by passion, love and fidelity to the nation, devoid of political rhetoric. We, therefore, welcome all progressive Sierra Leoneans committed to nation-building to join hands with us in moving the country forward. The Future of Sierra Leone is all of us!” he urged.
In his resignation letter to the APC headquarters on 28 April 2023, Alpha Kanu cited, among other things, the “persistent unpleasant prevailing circumstances surrounding my continued membership of the All Peoples Congress” as the reason for his departure.
He also stated that his focus is to help move Sierra Leone forward in the area of political and socio-economic development for the benefit of its people, an aspiration that he believed was unlikely to be fulfilled if he were to continue his membership with the APC.
Among others who publicly pledged their allegiance to the SLPP were former Coalition for Change, C4C, running mate Hon. David Bai Conteh, former Tonkolili District Council Chairman for the main opposition All People’s Congress, APC, Alusine Kamathor Sesay, former APC Hon. Members of Parliament, Mohamed Bash-Taqi, Mohamed Albert Tarawally and Mohamed Christopher Tickler Conteh.
They were joined in the defection by Alimamy Palmon Sesay of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) at Magbass and Masingbi Towns in the mineral-rich northeastern district, where President Bio with First Lady Fatima Maada Bio and Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, had gone to talk to his people as part of his working visit to the rest of the country.
Hon. David Bai Conteh told his people and the President that “My primary reason to declare today is for the development of Tonkolili District. This area used to be the breadbasket of Sierra Leone at one point. We have the Bumbuna Hydro Dam, the Kingho Mining Company here and we used to have the largest hospital. We had colleges and other institutions of learning here.
“We are bringing a lot to the country, but we are deprived in terms of development in all sectors. We have been abandoned for far too long. I am certainly sure that I have a national call to serve my country under the leadership of President Julius Maada Bio and the SLPP government.
On the 30th April, 2023 President Julius Maada Bio accepted and endorsed the declarations of three former Coalition for Change, C4C, Members of Parliament, who formally declared their intentions to join the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).
Hon. Emerson Saa Lamina, Hon. Rebecca Iye Sam, and Hon. Musa Fofanah brought with them almost all Paramount Chiefs in the district, emphasizing the point that they had consulted extensively with the local authorities, party members and grassroots before the public event which took place at the Community Centre Field in Koidu City, Kono.
The chiefs openly blessed their children and handed them over to President Julius Maada Bio, confirming the willingness of the new converts as they crossed over to what was widely referred to as “River Jordan, the Promised Land for the people and district of Kono”.
“His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, my Kono people, I am standing here today to confirm to all of you that I am the former MP for Constituency 030 and that, with my colleagues from the C4C party, we are here to officially return to the Sierra Leone People’s Party. The presence of the chairman of the Council of Paramount Chiefs in Kono District, who is ably representing his colleagues, is a symbol that we have sought the consent of our traditional authorities in our district to leave the C4C party and join the SLPP,” revealed the former leader of the C4C party in Parliament, Hon. Lamina.
He further disclosed that their decision to join the SLPP was because President Bio had restored peace and tranquility to the district and had also united them far more than any other government had done, adding that during the tenure of the APC Government, they experienced indiscriminate arrests of youths, making the district looked like a war zone.
“Your Excellency, Kono district never knew peace in the last administration of the APC. For this peace alone, the people of Kono have spoken, and they are going to vote for you overwhelmingly with ‘Operation No Runoff’. We are coming as a result of the historical injustices you have corrected for our district in just five years.