Salone News

SLPP Fracas: Pressure Mounts On Charles Margai

By  | 26 September 2005 at 15:07 | 566 views

Panic and fear seem to have gripped the leadership of the ruling party in Sierra Leone as one of their number, Mr. Charles Margai, has announced the formation of a new party and has started renovating a building in the capital, Freetown to house the new party.This is not the first time Charles has left the SLPP. On two other ocassions he had left but was wooed back into the fold by party elders.

This time, once more, the elders led by party chairman UNS Jah,are in a panic mode. Frantic efforts to bring Charles Margai back into the party after sorely losing to Vice President Berewa in the leadership contest in Makeni however seem to be highly unproductive.

Now the UK branch of the party, said to be the oldest and the most influential, in an apparent desire to save the party from imminenet disintegration has stepped into the fray by simultaneously firing two letters, one to Margai, and the other to Berewa, desperately pleading for reconciliation and unity.Margai, who has built a solid political base over the years in the south and east of the country is believed to have the power to strike deep into the heart and soul of the party to cause horrendous damage. The letters from London were also copied to president Kabbah, the party hierarchy in Freetown, the other Makeni losers and the press. We reproduce below the two letters:

Letter to Charles Margai


20th September 2005.

Dear Mr. Margai,

Following the convention in Makeni the leadership of the UK and Ireland Branch has had time to consider not only the outcome, but also the full implication for the unity and direction of the party.

We note your decision to undertake a process of consultation with supporters and members, vis--vis your future in the SLPP. Whilst the consultation is going on, the UK and Ireland Branch, acting both as the premier Branch in the Diaspora, wish to make its position known:

1. You will recall that the new leader of the party has already extended a hand of brotherhood to you as well as other contenders who were unsuccessful in gaining the endorsement of the last convention.

2. We are encouraged by this pronouncement, and hope the call for party unity will be sustained and meaningful.

3. It is our collective belief that you should consider this gesture of reconciliation, and exercise the necessary flexibility and statesmanship that was always the trademark of the founding fathers of our great party.

4. It was not only your participation that impressed the rank and file of the party, your ambitious agenda for national renewal and development of the Country and party has become infectious, one that will seep deep into the inner recesses of our party. Put simply, the SLPP will never be the same again, because people like you have unleashed the type of reform agenda that will now be difficult if not impossible to stop.
Abandoning such a noble cause will not only make the party poorer, but will put into question the very credential and judgement of those who championed the reform agenda in the first place.

5. It will be counter productive on the part of anyone to believe that they can marginalise you in so far as the leadership of the party is concerned, but you should also have the capacity to be a consensus builder, whilst at the same time maintaining your democratic credentials. We have no doubt you have those qualities in abundance.

I should end this note by conveying to you the assurances of the Chairman and the entire Branch of our highest consideration, and wish to appeal to you to stay in the SLPP and defend your principles and beliefs.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Harold Saffa

Hon. Solomon E. Berewa, National Leader (SLPP)
Alhaji U.N.S.Jah, National Chairman, (SLPP)
Mr. J.J. Saffa, National Secretary-General (SLPP)
Mr Tamba J S Lamina,Chairman, UK and Ireland Branch (SLPP)

Letter to Vice President Solomon Berewa


20th September 2005.

Mr Vice President,

I write on behalf of the Chairman and the entire membership of the UK and Ireland Branch in once again congratulating you on your election as the new national leader of our party, the SLPP.

1. We have followed with keen interest your actions and pronouncements including your recent olive branch to your brothers who sought and failed to gain the endorsement of the delegates to be leader of the party.

2. Now that the convention is over; we must hit the ground running in anticipation of 2007, when we will once again seek the mandate of the electorate. Such a formidable preoccupation should only remind us that the convention was essentially an in-house exercise; the real battle now lies ahead.

3. Your decision therefore to address the internal difficulties in the party as evidenced by your overtures is not only appropriate but timely.
It is our firm belief that any moves towards reconciling our internal differences must not be cosmetic, but sustained, meaningful and comprehensive. The diverse skills and strengths of the other contestants will enrich our Party and benefit our nation enormously. Hence, the need to tap them productively.

4. We want to appeal therefore for the call for reconciliation by you to be followed by a face-to-face meeting between you and your brothers to have a frank exchange of views, and ultimately close ranks in the supreme interest of the party.

5. Those who sought the esteemed position as party leader together with you are also stakeholders whose contributions cannot, and should be air brushed in the history of our Country and party. Their continuous participation in the party will not only be seen as a sign of tolerance and stability in the party, but also as a justification for the nation to once again entrust us with the management of the affairs of State.

6. As leader of the party you do not need further convincing that we have to earn the trust of the nation if we want to continue to be the governing party. This therefore calls for a critical self analysis of not only the internal arrangements of the party, but also the implementation of the sort of national development agenda that our nation so desperately needs. You now lead a party that has national reach, yet impatient for a meaningful change in the direction of the Country.

7. The United Kingdom and Ireland Branch has previously called for a root and branch reform of the party that will enable it to meet the challenges that face our Country. This reform can only be achieved if all hands are on deck for the unique purpose of forwarding a progressive agenda.

8. As a Branch party, we stand ready more than ever, in supporting the parent body in all its programs but believe that key stakeholders within the Party should not be ignored in this process. We therefore admonish you to reach out more particularly to those individuals whose personal effort will help in fortifying and strengthening our Party.

Let me end this note by restating our support and loyalty to the Party and wish you good luck as you grapple with the twin tasks of Party and State matters.
Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Harold Saffa

1 H.E. Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.
2 Alhaji U.N.S.Jah, National Chairman, (SLPP).
3 Mr. J.J. Saffa, National Secretary-General (SLPP).
4 Mr. Charles F. Margai
5 Rtd. Brig. Gen. Julius Maada Bio
6 Mr. John Ernest Leigh
7 Chief Sam Hinga Norman
8 Mr. J.B. Dauda
9 Mr Tamba J S Lamina, Chairman UK and Ireland Branch (SLPP)

Photo: Charles Margai: Would he swallow the bait for the third time?