Official Spokesman for the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party Hon. Musa Tamba Sam has been criticized by both a civil society group in Sierra Leone and the erudite Minister of Information and Communications, Hon Alpha Kanu for another boycott of a national event, which is the inauguration of President Ernest Bai Koroma.
This sharp criticism on Tamba Sam came following his 22nd February outburst on Star Radio amongst other thing, that amongst, they have decided as a political party to stay in their offices and at the same time “wear black and sing funeral songs” ahead of the inauguration of President Koroma, as he still complains about the outcome of the November 2012 elections that saw Julius Bio of the SLPP defeated by President Ernest Bai Koroma. According to Tamba Sam, “this is a decision we have made and it is open for everyone SLPP member to participate....” This, he said, they are doing in protesting the pending matter they have in court, regarding the outcome of the elections, amongst other reasons. This decision by the SLPP was also stressed by Tamba Sam on SLBC TV, Friday morning.
John Baimba Sesay
Boycott of national events by the main opposition in Sierra Leone is not a new phenomenon as was seen in the dozens of events they boycotted during the first term in office.
However, Reacting to this decision Coordinator for Campaign for Good Governance valnora Edwin also in an interview with Star Radio expressed dismay at the decision of the opposition, saying, “SLPP is part of governance as they have councilors and MPs...” and that “it is rather unfortunate they will not participate as ...the same happened in 2007... “According to the civil society chief, whether or not the SLPP attends today event, “the process will still go on…” whilst stressing that, democracy is not just about elections and as such we cannot say democracy has died...Sierra Leone is moving.....
Hon Alpha Kanu, the erudite Information Minister in his reaction on the issue also expressed dismay at the decision by the opposition, as indicated by its spokesman. Hon Kanu said “it is unfortunate that a sad phenomenon” is unfolding itself in the SLPP. He referred to two types of SLPP, one being “SLPP of winners” who are in parliament and headed by Dr Bernadette Lahai and the “SLPP of losers” that has taken the role of civil society. “Today the inauguration ends the election process... they (SLPP of losers) see that they have been left behind…they are now a civil society group ....” he said, stressing that because of their civil society role, they see today’s even as a ‘black Friday’ because “ they know after today no talk of election 2012…” According to Hon Kanu, after today’s inauguration, the country will be moving fully into the Agenda for Prosperity as today marks the official end of the Agenda for Change .The inauguration, the Minister said, will be good for Sierra Leone’s rebranding effort, saying “Sierra Leone is still being considered as a war zone and this event will show how peaceful we are a s a country …it will create the environment for investors to know we are ready for business...
Meanwhile, Unisa Sesay, Chief Director of Communications Office of the President confirmed on SLBC TV, that invitations were sent to the SLPP, whilst stressing, that the judiciary is independent. “You are boycotting the people….” he told Tamba Sam who was also on SLBC TV.
President Ernest Koroma’s inauguration is being attended by several Heads of States from across the African continent, with a number of envoys from Western and Asian countries, including China and the United States of America. He was reelected with over 58% last November. He is serving his last term in office as President of Sierra Leone. He runs the country with an “Agenda for Prosperity”, which is now the blueprint for the country’s development agenda.
Tamba Sam was woefully defeated in his constituency in the Kailahun district, by a candidate from the ruling APC party. He has since then been quite, often taking the political backseat but recently bounced back, following some internal challenges within his party that saw the party Chairman, John Benjamin, lampooned by his party followers. His defeat in Kailahun was however not unconnected with his failure to reach his constituents.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.