-accuses SLPP of ‘constitutional violations and thuggery’
October 24, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
As Sierra Leone edges closer to the March 7, 2018 multitier elections, the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) continues to lose prominent senior officials to other political parties.
One such person is the erstwhile standard bearer aspirant for the SLPP, Andrew K. Keili, who yesterday announced his resignation from the party and formerly joined the National Grand Coalition (NGC).
Few months ago, Engineer Keili announced his decision to quit the race to become the party’s presidential candidate in the upcoming elections, citing among other things, discrimination and intimidation of his supporters and other senior members by ‘ill-motivated individuals.’
Mr. Keili contested to lead the party in the 2012 elections as their presidential candidate but came a distant third behind the eventual winning, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio.
His defection from the SLPP to the newly formed NGC will come as huge blow to the main opposition, who are presently finding ways of settling their internal differences.
Even though the party has elected its standard bearer for the presidential election in the person of Mr. Bio, there are doubts in the mind of some supporters as to their chances of winning given the defections.
During a presser hosted at the Atlantic Hall of the National Stadium in Freetown, Mr. Keili stated that his decision to resign from the SLPP was not an easy one because he had been a key supporter of the party administratively, intellectually and financially.
“I have come to the conclusion that meaningful change will only come from the ideas of like-minded people who want to effect change in a resolute systematic way to take this country on a new development trajectory. For this reasons, I have made the decision to resign from the SLPP forthwith and join the National Grand Coalition,” he announced, amidst huge applause from his supporters.
According to him, discussions with the leadership of the NGC, prior to yesterday’s announcement, gave him the assurance that he was moving to a party with a vision for the country.
He claimed that over the past few years the SLPP has been characterised by bigotry, unilateralism, constitutional violations, thuggery and lack of inclusiveness, with special interest group that has little respect for it [SLPP’s] tested positive attributes.
“I am also encouraged by the fact that many of my political supporters within the SLPP countrywide have voluntarily joined me in this venture to become NGC members. At this initial stage, a total of 111 [one hundred and eleven] such people have registered with the NGC. Several more awaits their registration after this event,” Mr. Keili revealed.
NGC Interim National Publicity Secretary, Imran Sillah, congratulated Mr. Keili for joining the NGC and assured him of their unflinching support at all times.
Former National Women’s Leader of the SLPP, Isatu Jabbie-Kabbah said: “It is a sad day for the SLPP. It is a huge blow for any sober party to see people that are adding value to it are moving out. Andrew Keili’s decision is the right one and it is not a mistake at all.”
Speaker after speaker, including former districts executive members of the main opposition party, welcomed the decision of the engineer and promised to follow his footstep.