By Tamba Tengbe – 20 August 2019
When the bells ring for generation change in the leadership of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) the name of a grassroots politician has been echoed loudly by majority of supporters across the country, Philip Tetema Tondoneh, as the fittest man to run for the Deputy Chairman of the ruling SLPP party for the 2020 convention.
The current Deputy Minister of Works and Public Assets is a generational asset to the party who has served the party in different capacities diligently without hiccups at the time the positions were unattractive. He started his political career as student leader at Milton Margai College of Education, Science and Technology by pioneering the reinstatement of political parties when the NPRC wanted to dismantle the functionality of the existing parties in the country. His astute leadership in the Eastern Region as then Acting Publicity Secretary of the party from 2015-2017 at the demise of late Honourable Musa Tamba Sam has urged many to support him for the Deputy Chairmanship position at a time the party needs pragmatic leaders to champion the political agenda of the party, particularly when he is seen as a passionate follower of the Bio ideology since 2005 when the President Bio declared his intention to run for presidency.
His declaration has not come as a surprise to many in the circle of party, being an interactive politician who always resonates with the grassroots supporters of the party. When he turned down the then APC offer, he suffered a serious setback where his house was burnt down on November 18, 2015 during a bye election in Kono District. He said his motive for coming into the race is to ensure he consolidates the party’s victory since he believes in the grassroots.
Tetema Tondoneh’s record and stances at the Sierra Leone Parliament, when he was a Member of Parliament reflect a “practical, common sense progressive” thinker who emphasizes increased support for capacity building for parliamentary clerks through his experience as a former Policy and Programme Analyst at the Office of the Vice President between 2005 to 2007. He rose to the position of Parliamentary Technical Adhoc Committee Member at the Parliamentary Service Commission and made meaningful contributions to the Parliamentary Commission.
As a Member of Parliament, Tondoneh’s areas of special legislative interests were in support of economic growth, jobs creation, quality public education, health care. As an MP, he worked passionately for the finance and economic development, communications and information, housing and environment, transparency and accountability committees driving prompt development for the country.
As the current Eastern Region Chairman of SLPP a position he has held for seven years now, Hon. Tondoneh is a born leader, a very common but principled person who can annoy his detractors. He was the Deputy Eastern Region Chairman of SLPP though many political pundits believe he deserves a full cabinet position considering his structured and discipline attributes.
He was born in Jaiama Nimikoro Chiefdom, Kono District, from devoted and pious Christian parents. He started his academic career in Kono and later sat to GCE O’ Level exam and enrolled at the MMCET. He was a senior teacher at the Prince of Wales where he taught for 15 years and holds a Bsc Honours Degree in Economics from Fourah Bay College (USL) and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Njala University. He has been a prolific writer for the True Sierra Leone News Letter.
He is willing and ready to serve anybody that would emerge as the Chairman and Leader of the Party, as long as the individual believes in the Bio ideology.
He is married with 4 (four) children, one is now a medical doctor, Dr. Sahr Robert Tetema Tondoneh. His two daughters recently won an essay competition prize on Ebola survivors and have become the pride of the nation.