THE FOUNDING OF THE SIERRA LEONE PEOPLE’S PARTY (SLPP)
It is recorded that three political parties, merged to form the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) in April I951. These were the Peoples Party of Sierra Leone (PPSL), the Protectorate Education Progressive Union (PEPU), and the Sierra Leone Organization Society (SLOS).
Regarded as the country man's party, the SLPP was a socio-economic traditionalist party that drew its support mainly from the then hinterland where it counted on the Paramount Chiefs to sell the party's ideals to their subjects and canvass them to join the party.
Its founding members were Paramount Chiefs from all the twelve districts of the country as well as prominent and influential Creole politicians in the Western Area.
Although it is possible that there will be others not mentioned here, available records indicate that the founding of the party was pioneered by thirty visionaries as follows: Sir Milton Margai, Paramount Chief Bai Farma Tass 11, Kandeh Bangura, A. J. Momoh, Gideon Thomas, Sir Albert Margai, Sir Siaka Probyn Stevens, Paramount Chief Julius Gulama, Reverend Paul Dunbar, R. B. Kowa, Paramount Chief R. B S. Coker, Paramount Chief Bai Koblo Pathbana, Paramount Chief Adikali Modu, Paramount Chief Alimamy Dura, Paramount Chief Bai Shebora Yumkella, A. G. Caulker, Kenawa Gamanga, Mrs. Constance Cummings-John, H. E. B..(Ned) John, A. J. Randall, Newman Pratt, Teacher A. S. Coker, Lamina Sankoh (Rev. Eldred Jones), Frank Anthony, Rev. M. E. S. Gbudema, J. E. Mbayo, Paramount Chiefs Albert Caulker, Kai Tongi, and Bockarie Samba. May the souls of the departed continue to rest in peace.
SLPP - HISTORICAL FACTSHEET
1951 - SLPP was founded in April; borne out of a merger of three organizations - the Peoples Party (PP), The Protectorate Education Progressive Union (PEPU) and The Sierra Leone Organization Society (SOS).
1951-1961 - SLPP was the majority party in the Legislative Council.
1961 - SLPP won Independence for Sierra Leone from the then colonial power Great Britain, through peaceful negotiations. This was a remarkable feat given that many other countries at the time resorted to violence and bloodshed to gain independence.
1961-1967 - SLPP was governing party in Sierra Leone.
1967 - 1978 - SLPP as opposition party. The turbulence in politics in Sierra Leone ushered in by the APC accession to power led to the imprisonment of most of the opposition politician principally the SLPP ones.
1978 - SLPP with other political parties apart from the ruling APC party was wiped out of the political stage by One Party Rule.
LEADERS OF SLPP
1951 - 1964: Sir Milton Margai
First leader of SLPP, he became the first Prime Minister of Sierra Leone.
He took Sierra Leone to independence in April 1961. He died a natural death in office in April 1964. Sir Milton Margai was the first provincial medical doctor in Sierra Leone.
Margai was born on December 7, 1895 in the village of Gbangbatoke, Moyamba District in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone to Mende parents. Sir Milton is the oldest of eighteen children. At the time of his birth, Sierra Leone was a British Protectorate. His father, M.E.S. Margai, hailed from Bonthe District and was an affluent businessman.Margai received his primary education at the Evangelical United Brethren School in Bonthe, Bonthe Districtand his secondary education at St Edward's Secondary School in Freetown. He earned his bachelors degree in history and was the first Protectorate man to graduate from Fourah Bay College in 1921.Margai went to medical school in England and became doctor in 1926 at King's College Medical School, University of Durham .Margai also attended the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. He was the first Protectorate man to become a medical doctor.
Margai played several musical instruments: the piano, violin and the organ.
1964 - 1967: Sir Albert Margai
Succeeded Sir Milton Margai as leader of SLPP and Prime Minister.
Sir Albert Margai and SLPP lost power following the General Elections in 1967.
Sir Albert Margai was the first provincial trained Barrister.
Though Albert Margai was born in Gbangbatoke, Banta Chiefdom, in what is now the Moyamba District, he was not welcome by his stepmother because his biological father was then married, so he was raised mainly by his stepfather in Freetown.His stepfather, M. E. S. Margai, who gave him the family name Margai, was a wealthy trader from Bonthe. Margai received a Roman Catholiceducation at St. Edward's Primary School and went on to be one of the first group of students to attend St. Edward's Secondary School.
Margai's became a registered nurse and this was his occupation from 1931 to 1944.He later travelled to England and read law at the Inner Temple Inns of Court, where he qualified in 1948. Prior to his political career, he owned a private law practice in Freetown.
1968 - 1978: Dr Salia Jusu Sheriff
Leader of SLPP in days of opposition until 1978 when APC created a political atmosphere in which free and fair elections were no longer possible, preventing other political parties from participating in elections.
Dr Salia Jusu Sheriff and SLPP withdrew from the General Election held in 1973. Following the 1977 general election, APC's declaration of a One Party State in 1978 proscribing all other political parties consigned Dr Jusu Sheriff's leadership and SLPP to long political wilderness.
Dr Salia Jusu Sheriff was Sierra Leone's first indigenous Chartered Accountant.
1995 - 2007:
Alhaji Dr. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah.
Became leader of SLPP in 1995 following the resumption of multiparty politics in Sierra Leone.
Won political power for SLPP in 1996 and became President of the republic of Sierra Leone in March 1996. Despite the inter-regnum for nine months occasioned by a military coup d'etat in May 1997, His Excellency Alhaji Tejan' tenure as President of Sierra Leone continues.
Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was born on February 16, 1932 in the rural town of Pendembu, Kailahun District in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone. He is an ethnic Mandingo and a devout Muslim. Kabbah is a fluent speaker of his native Mandingo language. Kabbah's father, was a devout Muslim and a member of the Mandingo ethnic group of Guinean descent. His mother was also a Muslim and a member of the Mende ethnic group from the Coomber family, a Chieftaincy ruling house based in the small rural town of Mobai, Kailahun District. Kabbah's first name Ahmad means "highly praised" or "one who constantly thanks God" in the Arabic language.
Though a Muslim, Kabbah received his secondary education at the St. Edward's secondary school in Freetown, the oldest catholic secondary school in Sierra Leone. He also married a Catholic, the late Patricia Kabbah, (born Patricia Tucker), who was an ethnic Sherbro from Bonthe District in Southern Sierra Leone. Together the couple had five children. Kabbah received his higher education at the Cardiff College of Technology and Commerce, and University College Aberystwyth, Wales, in the United Kingdom, with a Bachelor's degree in Economics in 1959. He later studied law, and in 1969 he became a practicing Barrister-at-Law, member of the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, London.