Sierra Leone People's Party

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Sierra Leone Peoples Party
Abbreviation SLPP
Leader Sumanoh Kapen[1]
Chairperson Sumanoh Kapen[1]
Secretary-General Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie
Spokesperson Hon Musa Tamba Sam
Founder Etheldred National Jones/Lamina Sankoh
Founded 1951 (1951)
Merger of Peoples Party (PP), Protectorate Education Progressive Union (PEPU), Sierra Leone Organisation Society (SOS)
Headquarters 15 Wallace Johnson Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Ideology Nationalism
Third Way
Political position Centre
Continental affiliation Democrat Union of Africa
Colors Green
Slogan "One Nation, One People"[2]
Seats in Parliament
43 / 112
District Councils Chairperson
6 / 13
Municipalities Mayors
3 / 6

The Sierra Leone People's Party (abbreviated SLPP) is one of the two major political parties in Sierra Leone, along with the All People's Congress (APC). The party dominated Sierra Leone's politics from its foundation in 1951 to 1967, when it lost the 1967 parliamentary election to the APC, led by Siaka Stevens. It identifies as a social democratic party.[3][4][5]

The SLPP returned to power when its leader Ahmad Tejan Kabbah won the 1996 presidential election. The party was in power from 1996 to 2007, when it again lost to the APC, led by Ernest Bai Koroma, in the 2007 presidential election.

Early success and independence[edit]

SLPP dominated politics in Sierra Leone in the years following World War II. In 1955 and 1956, riots occurred in Sierra Leone, originally sparked by the artisan union's strike over pay, further unrest followed strikes by transport workers. These events led to a growing sense of animosity between the SLPP and Krio parties, especially the Cyril Rogers-Wright led United Sierra Leone Progressive Party established in 1954. The SLPP was able to position itself as 'the countryman's party,' and notably garnered the support of the tribal chiefs. After elections in 1957, Milton Margai bowed to behind the scenes pressure and stepped down from leadership of the SLPP, with his brother Albert Margai taking his stead. However, in 1958, Albert Margai and Siaka Stevens launched a new party, the People's National Party (PNP), which aimed for greater African involvement in the British colonial government. With the independence of Ghana in 1957, the PNP sought with this police the support of the educated elite as the party to lead a transition to independence. Stevens would later leave this party to form the northern supported All Peoples Congress. Upon independence in 1961, Milton Margai became Prime Minister, and the SLPP became the ruling party. The SLPP, along with almost all Sierra Leonean political parties, signed the constitution at the London constitutional conference, the APC being the main exception. This unity did not extend to national politics, as opposing politicians often faced detainment under SLPP rule.


Sir Milton Margai's death in 1964 left the position of leadership of the SLPP to his brother Sir Albert Margai. Albert's rule was characterised by dissent. Politically, he attempted to strengthen the position of the SLPP elites in relation to the chiefs, who had formed the backbone of the party. Sir Albert's autocratic leadership style was seriously questioned within his party and his general style was bruising to some senior party members including actions like demoting Alhagi M S Mustapha to the back bench along with Dr Kerefa Smart (former Foreign Minister). Sir Albert embarked on a policy of Africanisation which meant removing some civil servants who seemingly favoured a colonialist approach to others such as B. G Silla Establishment Secretary, Dr Sheku Daramy Financial Secretary, A T Kabba Permanent Secretary. Scores of schools were built in the provinces along with Teachers Colleges in every district( Makeni, Magbruka, Moyamba and the Milton Margai Teachers College. It was argued by opposing leaders that in light of Margai presenting a bill for a one-party system Sierra Leone may establish a one-party system and also that the developments had caused an economic slow down. In the elections in 1967 the APC and SLPP tied at 32 seats each in parliament with 2 former SLPP Independent coalesing with the APC MPs Kutubu Kai-Samba and Luseni A. M Brewah confirmed that the SLPP would no longer lead the country, as the meyhem and communist aggitation of the APC continued to put pressure on the Governor General to declare in the favour of the socialist/communist APC spiraled out of control the Army Chief of Staff Brigadier declared martial law in order to keep the peace. General Lansana' s refusal to take full military control spured the military to make a coup and Brigadier Lansana was sent to exile in Liberia and the National Reformation Council (NRC) was established to govern the country (March 23, 1967) led by Major Charles Blake, with the purpose of keeping Albert Margai and the SLPP out of power, the National Reformation Council (NRC) led by Brigadier Andrew Juxon-Smith replaced democratic system. Pressure from the political elites, trade unions, and university students led to the junta's collapse in November 1970, and Siaka Stevens of the APC communist/socialist party became president after the interregnum. When Sierra Leone turned into a one-party state in 1978 all SLPP MPs except one joined the APC (Manna Kpaka SLPP MP in Kenema) and the first Organising and Propaganda Secretary on the formation in 1951 Alhagi Baba Silla of Magazine/Eastend then SLPP Western Area Chairman of Freetown refused to join the APC. The SLPP was then outlawed and its refusing elite and their supporters physically threatened and barred from holding meetings under the public order act and treason against the state.


In 1996 SLPP returned to prominence, as its candidate Ahmad Tejan Kabbah won the presidential election, receiving 59.5% of the popular vote in a second round against John Karefa-Smart of the United National People's Party (UNPP). In the election held on May 14, 2002, the party won 69.9% of the popular vote and 83 out of 112 seats in the House of Representatives, and its candidate in the presidential election, Kabbah, won 70.1% of the vote and was re-elected.

At the SLPP's national convention in Makeni on September 3–4, 2005, Vice-President Solomon Berewa was selected by the SLPP as its leader and its 2007 presidential candidate. He received 291 votes, while Charles Margai received 34, Julius Maada Bio received 33, and J. B. Dauda received 28.[6] In the August 2007 election, the SLPP was defeated by the APC in the parliamentary election, receiving 43 seats against 59 for the APC; the PMDC, a party founded by Charles Margai as a split from the SLPP that attracted some of the support of traditionally SLPP voters, won 10 seats. In the presidential election, the SLPP candidate, Berewa, took second place in the first round, winning 38.3% of the vote against 44.3% for the APC candidate, Ernest Bai Koroma.[7] A second round of the presidential election was held in September; Koroma prevailed with 54.6% of the vote against 45.4% for Berewa.[8][9] In keeping with the SLPP constitution, which requires its leader to resign if the party loses a national election under his leadership, Berewa resigned as party leader on October 17, 2007, leaving Alhaji Sulaiman Jah as acting leader.[10] In 2011, Julius Maada Bio became SLPP's nominee for the 2012 presidential election. He beat Usman Boie Kamara, who came in second place.