Salone News

PMDC Interim Leader to Tour the US.

By  | 8 October 2006 at 01:30 | 709 views

Charles Margai(photo), the interim leader of one of Sierra Leone’s youngest political parties the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC)will tour the United States soon.He will be accompanied by top members of the party’s national headquarters in Freetown.

According to the public relations secretariat of the party’s North America branch, Margai will leave Sierra Leone by the end of October and will start his US tour in Washington DC. He will be in DC from November 1-2 and then travel to Philadelphia (Nov. 2-6) and Georgia (Nov.8-13).

Other stops on the PMDC interim boss’ itenerary are Indiana (Nov.17), Wisconsin (Nov.18),Ohio(Nov.19) and back to DC(Nov.21-26)before returning to Sierra Leone.

The PMDC was born in Sierra Leone shortly after the controverial SLPP convention in August last year in which Vice President Solomon Berewa emerged victorious as leader.

Margai, Dauda Tombo Bangura, John Leigh, JB Dauda,Emmanuel Grant and other SLPP heavyweights condemned the convention describing it as unfair. Leigh called it a "conbention".

Reaction from the party leadership was swift. JB Dauda, a former Finance Minister, and Grant, a former Energy minister were immediately sacked. John Leigh, a US-based lawyer, though not part of the decision makers, has decided to remain in the party to, as he put it, effect changes or reforms from within while Margai, a Freetown-based private lawyer, Dauda Tombo Bangura, a US-based accountant and others quickly formed the PMDC. Grant a former high school teacher and experienced politician with a large following among Freetown residents has recently joined them.

Since its formation and registration this year, the PMDC has enjoyed a phenomenal rise in the south and east of the country, the traditional strongholds of the ruling SLPP.It also has significant support in the Western Area where the interim leader had some of his schooling and has a law firm. It is however little known in the north but this is seems to be changing.

Margai’s US tour is crucial for the party’s chances for the next elections as it needs financial resources to run a successful campaign and this tour, by all indications, is to introduce the party and its interim leader to Sierra Leoneans in th US, but more crucially, to raise funds for its forthcoming national convention in November and the 2007 elections.

The PMDC’s interim leader, Charles Margai is attracting a lot of support from the country’s youthful population because of his feisty and take-no-prisoner style of politics when it comes to issues like corruption, nepotism, political patronage,ethnocentrism and the other ills plaguing the country.He is also a powerful speaker, an essential element in African politics where oral messages and skill in delivering them are of tremendous importance.

His critics however say he is arrogant, temperamental and elitist, thus far removed from the day to day problems of the ordinary Sierra Leonean. Margai’s uncle (Sir Milton Margai) and father(Sir Albert Margai) were Sierra Leone’s earliest post-independent heads of government(Prime Ministers).

But the main fear of Margai’s critics, usually SLPP supporters, is the fact that he poses a serious threat to their party and might either capture power or pave the way for a return to office of their dreaded opponent, the All People’s Congress(APC). The APC was toppled in a coup in 1992.

Political pundits believe the PMDC will be a big player in the 2007 elections because it’s the only opposition party that has the capability and clout to take away a huge number of votes from or even defeat the ruling SLPP in the south and east of the country. It’s also capable of forcing a run off which is very likely to send the SLPP to the politcal wilderness once more. The SLPP was defeated in the 1967 election by the APC and was out of power until 1996.

Editor’s note: We have received information from the PMDC that the above is just a tentative schedule. More US states and cities will be added to the interim leader’s itenerary in due course. There are rumours that he may also visit Canada. Stay tuned.

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