On Saturday 29 April 2023, President Dr Julius Maada Bio received and welcomed to the Sierra Leone People’s Party, (SLPP), former opposition party running mate, district council chairman, Members of Parliament, youth leaders, and other supporters who assure of delivering Tonkolili District in the June 2023 elections.
Among those who publicly pledged their allegiance to the SLPP were former Coalition for Change, C4C, running mate Hon. David Bai Conteh, former Tonkolili District Council Chairman for the main opposition All People’s Congress, APC, Alusine Kamathor Sesay, former APC Hon. Members of Parliament, Mohamed Bash-Taqi, Mohamed Albert Tarawally and Mohamed Christopher Tickler Conteh.
They were joined in the defection by Alimamy Palmon Sesay of the National Grand Coalition, NGC, at Magbass and Masingbi Towns in the mineral-rich northeastern district, where President Bio with First Lady Fatima Maada Bio and Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, had gone to talk to his people as part of his working visit to the rest of the country.
Hon. David Bai Conteh told his people and the President that “My primary reason to declare today is for the development of Tonkolili District. This area used to be the breadbasket of Sierra Leone at one point. We have the Bumbuna Hydro Dam, the Kingho Mining Company here and we used to have the largest hospital. we had colleges and other institutions of learning here.
“We are bringing a lot to the country, but we are deprived in terms of development in all sectors. We have been abandoned for far too long. I am certainly sure that I have a national call to serve my country under the leadership of President Julius Maada Bio and the SLPP government.
“I made a mistake then when I returned from the United States of America to join the APC for the development of my district, which I honestly regretted. Our request to the APC has been for the construction of the Mile 91-Robol Junction and the Matotoka-Bo roads. This, they failed to do in their eleven years of governance. I am here with my people to plead with you, His Excellency President Bio, to bring back the old good days of Tonkolili District after your re-election,” he requested.
The former C4C running mate declared that “My coming to the SLPP has nothing to do with either the C4C or SLPP parties. I am coming on the basis that we want development in my district. We have been neglected for far too long and we have seen tangible development ongoing across the country, and we want ours after your re-election, sir”.
The former APC Chairman of Tonkolili District Council said, “I am here now, at the SLPP. I have been in politics with the APC party from 1996 to 2023. I have remained loyal to my party, but I have been a brother to my brothers and sisters outside of politics.
“By the grace of Allah, I am here to join the SLPP 100 percent, and I have just been nominated to also stand for the position of Tonkolili District Council Chairman under the ticket of the SLPP. I want to say thanks to the entire leadership of the party for being united to win the minds and souls of Sierra Leoneans.
“We want to express our thanks and appreciation to you for choosing Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh as your Vice President for the coming elections and, with us in the district, you are going to win the election with the highest margin ever in our country’s history,” he confirmed.
Former APC MP, Hon. Bash-Taqi disclosed that “I am here to confirm to the country that the SLPP is a party for all Sierra Leoneans. They have a balanced ethnic representation, and because of that, we, the Theme people, are coming to occupy our rightful space.
“I am happy for the establishment of the Commission of National Cohesion by the President to bring the country together. I am also happy about your free education programme because many Sierra Leoneans need to be educated too. We are going to give you our votes in the coming elections, but please don’t forget our district in terms of development in your second term,” he pleaded.
Mohamed Christopher Conteh, formerly of the APC, told the audience that the past APC government deliberately did not construct the road linking Mile 91, Bo, and Magburaka because they were afraid that it would prevent road users from going through Makeni.
“We requested electricity in Mabontho for more than ten years, but the APC never did. I am here to confirm that, based on the ongoing developments we have seen across the country under President Bio, Tonkolili District has returned to the SLPP party. We are going to deliver the district by all means to the SLPP in the June 24 elections,” he assured as was reported by the State House Media and Communications Unit.