Salone News

APC Shocks the Nation on Daramy Issue

By  | 5 October 2006 at 00:40 | 771 views

The main opposition party in Sierra Leone, the All People’s Congress (APC) took many people in and out of the country completely by surprise on Tuesday when all of its members in parliament walked out in disagreement with members of the ruling party during the recent vetting of a government functionary.

The APC members feel president Kabbah’s spokesman,Kanji Daramy is not fit to occupy the post of Commissioner of the Sierra Leone Telecommunications Commission because a government White Paper had created some doubts about his probity and accountability a couple of years ago.The White Paper was the result of an SLPP government probe into SALPOST, the government postal agency Daramy was heading.

The APC members were saying the probe did not absolve Daramy of allegations of corruption and other malpractices although Daramy has on several ocassions pointed out that he had done no wrong at SALPOST which was in fact his brain child.

There were heated exchanges in parliament between SLPP and APC parliamentarians. The SLPP members who were in the majority in parliament finally won by voting en masse for Daramy while the APC members led by their leader Ernest Koroma were holding a press conference to register their disapproval outside.

An APC stalwart has told the Vanguard that his party is "furious" that Daramy could be approved by the same party that found his stewardship at SALPOST wanting.

Kanji Daramy hails from Koinadugu district in the north of Sierra Leone. He studied French and History at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone and later did
several courses on telecommunications abroad.

Some political analysts say Koinadugu is one of the areas in the north where support for the SLPP is increasing probably due to the presence in the party of Koinnadugu "sons of the soil" and former APC ministers like Dr.Sheku Sesay,Dr. Yembe Mansaray and others. Kanji Daramy is considered one of these new SLPP converts.

Kanji attained national prominence when the APC government of Joseph Momoh appointed him Managing Director of SALPOST. He was said to be very close to late president Momoh with whom he used to play lawn tennis. He was consequently regarded as an APC functionary by many people although he strenously denies it now.

President Kabbah consequently shocked many people when he appointed him SLPP presidential spokesman.Indeed support for Daramy is not very widespread among the SLPP rank and file but he has a very strong ally and protector in the person of president Kabbah himself. It remains to be seen what will happen to Daramy at the end of Kabbah’s term of office in July next year. His future will be very unpredictable even if the SLPP is returned to power(with a new leadership) or if any of the opposition parties wins in next year’s election.

The present APC, it seems, has never forgiven Daramy for "crossing over" to the other side and for ferociously attacking, in the last couple of months, the APC and its leader in his role as SLPP presidential spokesman. However last Tuesday’s APC walk out in parliament might be due purely to matters of principle, not politics.

This is the first time, in several months, that the APC (a party notorious for its internal wrangling) has acted as one on an issue of national concern and magnitude.

Photos: Kainji Daramy, left, and APC leader Ernest Koroma, right.