|Charles Francis Margai|
|Leader of the People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC)|
2005 – present
|Preceded by||Position created|
|Sierra Leone Minister of Safety and Security|
November 2, 1999 – February 2, 2001
|Sierra Leone Minister of Internal Affairs and Local Government|
April 20, 1998 – November 2, 1999
|Born||Charlles Francis Kondo Margai
August 19, 1945
Bonthe, Bonthe District, Sierra Leone
|Political party||People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC)|
|Relations||Sir Albert Margai (Father)
Sir Milton Margai (Uncle)
|Residence||Bo, Sierra Leone|
|Alma mater||University of Dublin|
Charles Francis Kondo Margai (born August 19, 1945) is a Sierra Leonean lawyer and politician. He is the leader of the People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) the third major political party in Sierra Leone, after the big two, the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) and the All People's Congress (APC). He was his party's candidate in the August 2007 presidential election. He came in third in the 2007 presidential election with 10% of the vote. He is the son of former Sierra Leone's Prime Minister Sir Albert Margai and the nephew of Sierra Leone's first Prime Minister Sir Milton Margai.
Early life and education
Charles Francis Kondo Margai was born on August 19, 1945 in the coastal town of Bonthe, Bonthe District in Southern Sierra Leone. Margai hails from one of Sierra Leone's most powerful political dynasty. His father is the late Sir Albert Margai, the second Prime Minister of Sierra Leone. He is also the nephew of Sierra Leone's first Prime Minister, Sir Milton Margai.
Charles Margai attended St. Edward's Primary School in Freetown and then proceeded to the Christ the King College in Bo. He completed his secondary school education at Blackrock College in Co. Dublin, Ireland. Margai received a Bachelor of Arts in civil law in 1970 from the University of Dublin in Dublin, Ireland
Sierra Leone People's Party
Margai was a member of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) which was co-founded in 1951 by his uncle Sir Milton Margai. Both his father and his uncle had been leaders of the SLPP. In 1996 Charles Margai sought the nomination for the party's candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. When he failed to secure the nomination he left the SLPP.
National Unity Party
Return to the Sierra Leone People's Party
He subsequently returned to the SLPP and in April 1998, Margai became Minister of Internal Affairs and Local Government following the restoration of President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah; From November 1999 he was Minister of Safety and Security.
Infighting in the SLPP
On January 6, 2002, Kabbah requested that Margai clarify reports that the latter planned to seek the SLPP party leadership, which was held by Kabbah. Margai resigned as a minister on January 8, 2002 following a meeting with Kabbah, in which Kabbah expressed concern that the country might appear unstable and might therefore receive less aid from abroad.
On January 9, Margai confirmed his plans to seek the leadership of the SLPP and its presidential nomination, describing himself as the best person for the position and saying that he had resigned from the cabinet "in the interest of good governance and for the people of this nation" due to "mistrust" between himself and Kabbah.
On March 8, however, the High Court ruled that he was not technically a member of the SLPP, preventing him from seeking the nomination, which was won by Kabbah.
Margai was President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association from 2004 to 2005.
Margai again unsuccessfully sought the SLPP presidential nomination at the party's national convention in Makeni on September 3–4, 2005; he received second place, with 34 votes, far behind Vice President Solomon Berewa, who received 291 votes.
People's Movement for Democratic Change
In early October 2005, he broke with the SLPP to form a new party, the People's Movement for Democratic Change. Margai faced difficulty in getting the PMDC officially registered, which he alleged was due to Kabbah deliberately delaying appointments to the Political Parties Commission which would enable the registration, thereby giving Berewa's campaign an advantage in time.
The PMDC was officially registered on 19 January 2006.
On December 7, 2005, Margai was arrested in connection with an incident on November 18 in which his supporters blocked a convoy that included Berewa, leading to accusations that Margai was behind it as an attempt to kill Berewa. Margai denied this, saying that his supporters had acted spontaneously.
In the August 2007 presidential election, Margai took third place with 13.9% of the vote, behind Ernest Bai Koroma of the opposition All People's Congress (APC) and the SLPP's Berewa. At his birthday party on 19 August, he said that he was backing the APC's Koroma for the second round of the election. On August 24, he said that the PMDC would campaign together with the APC for the second round. He also said that the PMDC's constitution would not allow him to join a government led by the APC if Koroma wins the election.
- "Why Charles Francis Margai?", PMDC website.
- "Sierra Leone: leading parties nominate candidates for presidential poll", African Press Agency, July 5, 2007.
- Will Ross, "Sierra Leone's traffic light politics", BBC News, August 9, 2007.
- Sierra Leone News Archives - March 2002, sierra-leone.org.
- Sierra Leone News Archives - April 1998, sierra-leone.org.
- "President Kabbah's Third Cabinet, 20 April 1998 to 2 November 1999", sierra-leone.org.
- "President Kabbah's Fourth Cabinet, 2 November 1999 to 2 February 2001", sierra-leone.org.
- Sierra Leone News Archives - January 2002, sierra-leone.org.
- "Vice President Berewa Leads SLPP", statehouse-sl.org, September 6, 2005.
- "SIERRA LEONE: Politician’s bid to form rival party makes waves", IRIN, December 9, 2005.
- "Freetown opposition party wins majority", Reuters (IOL), August 24, 2007.
- Final results from the National Electoral Commission, August 25, 2007.
- "In Sierra Leone, Margai endorses Ernest Koroma at his 62nd Birthday Party", Awareness Times, August 19, 2007.
- "Sierra Leone opposition unite", Reuters (IOL), August 24, 2007.