The Mayor of the Kenema City Council has written an official letter to the regional chairman of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and the party’s secretariat, complaining the conduct of five councilors who recently visited President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House.
Joseph Keifala said the move by the five councilors was not only meant to undermine development aspirations by his council, but a calculated effort to tarnish his image.
The five councilors who infamously came to Freetown to ‘beg’ the president for forgiveness and development’ include Councilor Amidu B. Bah, in charge of Education, Youth and Sport; Councilor Joseph Alpha, in charge of Fire Force and Disaster Management; Councilor Alimamy Rogers, lead Budget and Finance; Councilor Mohamed ‘Seventy’ Sesay, focal person for Agriculture; and Councilor Aminata Koroma, Deputy Chair for Social Welfare.
The quintet were accompanied by All Peoples Congress Deputy Publicity Secretary II, Robin Fallay, who himself had defected from the opposition to ruling party.
Their visit has generated strong feelings among SLPP members as well as residents of Kenema, and Mayor Keifala has called on the party to look into the issue and take appropriate action.
“I was not informed about their move until State House communication published that my own councilors were with the president to apologise and to acknowledge his development strides in Kenema district,” Mayor Keifala wrote about the five councilors.
He said: “It is actually frustrating because a lot of efforts have been made by all of us, including civil society, the media, Members of Parliament and other stakeholders for our roads to be done but the roads are still deplorable. I have made a lot of promises and I have been able to work towards those promises. I promised to deliver an outstanding clock tower. That I have done! The mini stadium project and a lot of other projects are ongoing. The visit of those five councilors has nothing to do with our development but rather a political gimmick and I am sure the party will take a position on that,” he urged.
Leader of the group, Councilor Amidu B. Bah, said their visit was not a dress rehearsal to join the ruling party, but rather to engage the president on the construction of feeder roads and the completion of the Kenema town hall, adding that they had neither committed a crime against their party or the mayor.
He said they were in a sinking boat and that every effort should be made to salvage the situation, especially with the deplorable state of Kenema.
“I am sure we are working in the interest of our people. Our mayor is not ready for development because he is not working with the Executive, the Judiciary and even the legislative arm of government. This is telling negatively on the council,” he claimed.
However, one of the infamous quintet, Councilor Aminata Koroma, has openly apologised to the people of Kenema and the SLPP for visiting the president without informing the appropriate authorities.
She said they contacted some dignitaries before their visit to the president, including the Local Government Minister, Maya KaiKai, who he in another engaged with some chiefs, hence they were accompanied by Robin Fallay.
“Some of us are young politicians. We want our people to know that they elected us to serve their interest; that is why we are going all out to provide services for them. I am an SLPP councilor and I respect that,” she said.
Meanwhile, Hon. Nico Mansaray of constituency 11 has insisted that efforts have been made by lawmakers from the district for the government to rehabilitate Hangha Road and Blama Roads – two principal thoroughfares in the diamond rich eastern city.
“I came with recordings to prove that we have been talking about these roads. I will not beg to the president for the construction of roads in Kenema. It is his responsibility to embark on development in this country. It is unfortunate for the councilors to have gone to the president to beg for what I consider as not important,” he concluded.