Muctaru's Blog

I am Muctaru Wurie from Freetown, Sierra Leone. I blog on a variety of subject from my homeland and most of my post feature well researched stories I do.

Posts Tagged ‘Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP)

Sierra Leone Maada Bio Faces Huge Challenge

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Sierra Leone is a country that has gone through many dramatic events in the past two decades and this past Sunday another modest drama unfolded at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown – this drama was much more controlled and played out well according to plan. The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), which is now the principal opposition party voted former Junta leader Brigadier-General Julius Maada Bio as its candidate for next year’s presidential elections. Bio who scored 238 votes as against Usman Boie Kamara’s 186 votes has a huge challenge in hand. Firstly, he has to come clear about his image – as leader in the notorious National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) military regime which ruled Sierra Leone from April 1991-1996, he has many questions to answer. His past will come under more scrutiny than at any other time since he handed power back to civilians in 1996. Bio overthrew fellow coup plotter Captain Valentine Strasser as head of Sierra Leone military government in January 1996 and went on to rule before handing power to Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. The regime that he was part of detained, tortured and summarily executed Sierra Leonean nationals at a time the RUF rebellion was raging in the countryside, but Bio has a place to lean – he has consistently stated he never ordered the execution or arrest of anybody and was not happy with some of these things that happened. And thankfully for him, the much heralded Truth Commission for Sierra Leone never named him in any abuse cited during his tenure. One thing that is sure is that he remains a popular figure in the SLPP strongholds of Sierra Leone and can count on their support and much more importantly for those in the south that believed the vote for Charles Margai was a NO vote against Solomon Berewa in the last general elections. There is a belief that Bio will likely reclaim what has come to be known as the SLPP’s lost vote in the south of the country. There were nineteen persons vying to lead the SLPP, but it was clear that Bio was far ahead of them because he simply won the hearts and minds of the strong SLPP caucus. They moved his campaign and without spending much money compared to the likes of Usu Boie, he simply won the vote. Staking himself apart from former SLPP flag bearer, Solomon Berewa, Bio knows that unlike his predecessor he has legitimacy and he can proudly unite his party: “I implore all of you to work closely with me so that we can achieve our goals together,” Bio said after his clear victory was confirmed by the party. This will surely be the strength of Bio, he can count on a united party this time round. However, it is surely not going to be easy for the ex serviceman, since 2007, President Ernest Bai Koroma has embarked on road and energy development and put together large-scale mineral deals, but it has not been rosy, Sierra Leone still face huge challenges of poverty and unemployment and like most global economy there has been a considerable rise in basic commodities and food price. The problem in Sierra Leone is that income is still very low and rise in prices have not matched others in the sub region. That said, Ernest Koroma is a very popular figure in Freetown and the North and many of his supporters believe that he needs to be given time to bring more development to the country. Will Maada Bio give him that chance, elections 2012 is just round the corner and Sierra Leoneans will once more decide.