The former presidential candidate of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio has allegedly backed an independent candidate to challenge the SLPP candidate for the local council bye-election in Ward 034 Constituency 010 in Kenema District slated for 14th November, 2015.

According to sources close to the Pa-o-Pa group, Maada Bio on late Sunday night held a meeting with some chiefs and Pa-o-Pa stakeholders in Ward 034 Constituency 010 in Kenema with Mayor Joseph Samba Keifala in attendance.

During the meeting, sources say Maada Bio prevailed on the chiefs and the Pa-o-Pa stakeholders to support the independent candidate he has put up against the SLPP candidate, Madam Edna Fatu Foyoh, adding that he told the chiefs to take his message to the voters.

Maada Bio is reported to have said in the meeting that he put up an independent candidate against the SLPP candidate because the SLPP Kenema District Executive refused to award the former – Pa-o-Pa support – the party symbol, and that those who denied the independent candidate the party symbol are the persons who do not want a Mende person to become president of this country.

Maada Bio was also quoted to have insisted that this time around they should support his own candidate at all costs, adding that those who do not support the independent candidate are against his leadership ambition.

Speaking to the SLPP candidate on telephone, Madam Edna Fatu Foyoh in no uncertain terms condemned Maada Bio’s decision to back an independent candidate against her SLPP candidacy.

She asserted that Maada Bio’s desperation to become president will tear the SLPP apart, adding that his decision to back an independent candidate against his own party candidate shows his lack of respect for the SLPP District Executive in Kenema District and the National Executive Council (NEC) that endorsed the all party candidates for both the parliamentary and local council bye-elections in various parts of the country slated for 14th November, 2015.

An SLPP stakeholder in Kenema, who asked not to be named, told The Spectator that Maada Bio wants to destroy the SLPP because of his over ambition for power but they won’t give him the chance to destroy the grand old party.

“The party is bigger than everyone and for one man to hold the party to ransom because of thirst for power is unacceptable to us who truly love the SLPP,” the stakeholder said.

The stakeholder therefore appealed to all SLPP supporters in Ward 034 to vote overwhelmingly for their party candidate and not to follow the advice of Maada Bio who, he said, is bent on destroying the SLPP because of power drunkenness.

Meanwhile, an attempt by our reporter to contact one of the members of Maada Bio’s media team on 078-456-627 at about 3:15pm yesterday proved futile.