November 3, 2017 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Political party cross-carpeting is common in the politics of Sierra Leone and becomes more prevalent during electioneering period as party stalwarts move from one political party to another, often times as a result of personal grievances.
It could be recalled that in the 2012 general elections quite a good number of politicians moved from the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) to the ruling All Peoples Congress APC.
This time around, it seems as if the trend is changing as APC supporters and members have started defecting to the SLPP. In Kabala, Koinadugu District in northern Sierra Leone, over 100 members of the APC on Monday declared their support for the SLPP and their presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio, who was in the area on a ‘thank you tour’ following his election as presidential candidate in the March 2018 presidential election.
SLPP members and supporters, including the new converts, were at the Fadugu Court Barry on Monday morning to receive Bio and his entourage and later moved over to the Kabala town field where the official declaration from the APC to the SLPP was made.
Section Chief of the Fullah Community, Alhaji Bah, said his community was looking forward to a leader who will fulfil his promises and improve on the standard of living of the impoverished people.
“We are asking God to give us a leader who will work for the people and not those who will ask the people to work for him. We want a leader who can promote Islam and not a leader who disappoints Muslims from going to Mecca,” he said and assured Bio of massive support from the area.
Paramount Chief of Fadugu, P.C. Raman Koroma, thanked the opposition standard bearer for making it a point of duty to meet and interact with the local people.
“I was informed only yesterday about your visit. I want to pray that you have time to be visiting us so that we can share some of our problems with you. I must express here that we are happy to have you here in our midst and hope that God will guide and protect you,” he said.
The defection from APC to SLPP was done at the Kabala town field where hundreds of residents had gathered to give a befitting welcome to Mr. Bio.
Spokesman for the defectors, Fasalay Momodu Conteh, told the gathering that they have decided to join the SLPP to express their displeasure over the continuous neglect of Koinadugu district.
Conteh accused the government of Ernest Bai Koroma of several unfulfilled promises to development the mountainous northern district, adding that they have resolved to join the SLPP and campaign across Koinadugu against the APC.