I was shocked and dismayed to read the plea made by the Chairman of the Opposition SLPP party in Sierra Leone, John Oponjo Benjamin, in the form of a classroom tabulated lecture, to the U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon during his recent visit to Sierra Leone. First of all I should advice John Benjamin to Shut-Up. Why? Because John Benjamin has no credibility to lecture the UN chief on how good governance should be administered in Sierra Leone. Benjamin belongs to a group of Sierra Leoneans whose patriotic commitment to their country has always been questionable.
John Oponjo Benjamin is not only guilty of raping our country’s resources, he presided over and probably financed a coup d’état that saw the legitimate APC government of J.S. Momoh overthrown. If anybody should exercise their right to free speech and make such demands, it should not be John Benjamin.
Benjamin had the audacity to accuse the Koroma administration of interference in the way the police, judiciary and parliament discharge their duties. May I remind this arrant politician, that he was Finance Minister in an SLPP government that relieved senior army and police personnel of their jobs, just because of their loyalty to the APC government? Maybe, just maybe, Benjamin has lost consciousness of the SLPP’s record in government. Ban-KiMoon needs no reminder of the despicable acts of the previous SLPP regime. The UN chief is well conversant of the corrupt nature of those who were at the hierarchy of the SLPP government. And John Benjamin’s sermon in the form of a statement can only be received with the highest form of hysterical shock, by a man whose knowledge of the party’s bad politics is nothing less than familiar.
John Benjamin still nurtures the dream of the SLPP regaining power again in Sierra Leone. I am not saying it will never happen, but not under the watch of Ernest Bai Koroma. What Benjamin fails to realize and acknowledge is, the dramatic pace of development taking place in the country under the dynamic leadership of Ernest Bai Koroma. No matter how hard this political misfit tries to mislead the Sierra Leonean and the international public about the positive events taking place in our country by using journalists like Sylvia Blyden with no credibility, there are diplomats on the ground and the strategic development partners of the government like Tony Blair, who does have a professional team on the ground witnessing the amazing and excellent job President Koroma is doing to help lift his people out of poverty. And they offer a more reputable assessment of events on the ground that the UN chief will consider, than the grammatically-challenged version of the SLPP Chairman.
I am not going to make an attempt to discuss the failures of the SLPP when they were in power, because it will make gruesome reading for some who are faint- hearted. But let me remind the SLPP leader that Sierra Leoneans still have fresh memories of when Tejan-Kabbah ordered ECOMOG troops to bombard Freetown and uttered the remark that after ECOMOG completes its destruction, even if there is only one person left in the country he will still rule as president. With this backdrop, and political history of the SLPP that saw some of the most decent and honourable men and women slaughtered for political advantage, John Benjamin and the SLPP are advised to SHUT-UP. It is purely an insult to the many men and women who suffered in the hands of the SLPP either directly or indirectly, to listen to the fabricated sermon of the berated SLPP leader talking about good governance.
What planet is John Benjamin living? Here on earth, there is transformation taking place in our country. And the man responsible for this unprecedented change is no other than Ernest Bai Koroma. Benjamin should be grateful that he no longer needs to buy candles at night to see his way through to his bedroom, as his glasses has not been able to contend with the numerous blackouts that he suffered under the regime that he was responsible to manage the state coffers. As Finance minister, with budgetary responsibility, how much funds did he allocate to ensure the people of his country benefit from electricity? Maybe he should re-write his sermon and include the abysmal record of the SLPP and his own record as well and outline his failures, which apparently runs back to his days as a member of the NPRC government and re-present it back to Ban-Ki Moon; or does he want the APC to prepare its own report for the UN chief? Benjamin should be mindful of his stupid gestures and overtures to the UN chief, as they might just open a can of worms that will come back and hunt him. By asking the UN to look into how good governance is administered in the country, the UN might want to compare its notes and Benjamin does not want Ban-Ki Moon to start looking back at the SLPP records. He knows what the man would find. Once again, I am advising John Benjamin to Shut-Up.
Does John Benjamin wants the media to start calling for an investigation into his role in the NPRC coup? It is no secret that this wannabe leader masterminded the coup and indirectly financed its execution. Investigating Benjamin will uncover a lot of secret deals and financial mismanagement that will make shocking reading for many. Benjamin is a craftsman in the contract business. He leaves no trace of his dubious dealings with corrupt businessmen. He is the consummate political embezzler, who does not take his own record into consideration when pointing fingers at others, accusing them of what he knows best to do.
This is the time the SLPP party should reorganise and examine their failures and work towards making themselves look as serious contenders for power once more. The time spent attacking this government should have been well spent correcting the wrongs of this failed party. At the moment they don’t even have a credible candidate to stand against Ernest Bai Koroma. As if that is not sufficient to give them something to worry about, they are contemplating on fielding a corrupt coup-plotter like Julius Maada Bio to lead them to another massive political loss. There are enough lessons the SLPP can learn from their mistakes: the first being, don’t take the APC for granted. The second being, don’t underestimate Ernest Bai Koroma. The third being, the Sierra Leone people cannot be taken for granted anymore and they are tired of the lies and deceit of this party that has inflicted the worst economic suffering ever meted out to a people! John Benjamin, please shut-up and stop making yourself look more of a fool than you already are!
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