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Cablegate: Biographic Information On Sierra Leonean Presidential And

Published: Mon 23 Jul 2007 04:09 PM
VZCZCXRO0102
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHFN #0436/01 2041609
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231609Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY FREETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1216
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 FREETOWN 000436
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
DEPARTMENT FOR AF/W, INR/AA (BGRAVES)
E.O. 12958
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PINR KDEM SL
SUBJECT: BIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION ON SIERRA LEONEAN PRESIDENTIAL AND
VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
REF: Freetown 421
1. (U) The National Electoral Commission has announced that seven
political parties are registered to participate in the presidential
election on August 11. The following is biographic information on
the presidential and vice presidential candidates from the three
main political parties, the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), All
People's Congress (APC), and the People's Movement for Democratic
Change (PMDC).
SLPP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE SOLOMON BEREWA
------------------------------------------
2. (SBU) The ruling SLPP has nominated current Vice President
Solomon Ekuma Dominic Berewa as its presidential candidate.
Nicknamed "Solo B," Berewa has been Vice President since 2002 and
also serves as the party leader for the SLPP. He enjoys
considerable party support, and many party members anticipate that
Berewa will maintain continuity. However, party leaders have
commented that there may be a major reshuffle of ministerial
positions.
3. (U) Prior to becoming Vice President, Berewa served as the
country's Attorney General and Minister of Justice from 1996 to 1997
and again from 1998 to May 2002. Approximately 77 years old, Berewa
is Mende and was born in Bo District in the Southern Province. He
received his B.A. from Fourah Bay College and later obtained a
degree in Cooperative Studies and Accounting at Loughborough
Cooperative College in England. He also holds a Certificate in
Agricultural Marketing from University of New Castle. Before his
career as a civil servant, Berewa was an attorney with the law firm
Betts and Berewa.
4. (U) Berewa is viewed suspiciously by political opponents and has
been described as vindictive and a trickster by people who have had
dealings with him when he practiced law. Selected by President
Kabbah to be his successor, some SLPP party stalwarts initially felt
Berewa was not the best candidate and had come out of relatively
obscurity to earn the presidential nomination. Berewa is trying to
distinguish himself beyond the shadow cast by President Kabbah. The
public's view of Berewa is mixed. There are camps that view him as
President Kabbah's puppet, while others support him fully.
5. (SBU) Recent political miscues by President Kabbah have led
Berewa to distance himself from the outgoing President. Negative
public backlash from the recent visits of former Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo and Libyan President Muammar Qadhafi were thought
to have hurt the SLPP's election chances. However, it appears that
Berewa has recovered from these missteps and continues ardently
campaigning. Berewa is a widower and has five children, three of
whom live in Atlanta. His late wife, Deborah, passed away while on a
visit to the United States in December 2005. Berewa is a devout
Catholic, who was the organist at his church, and has a son who is a
priest in Kenema in the Eastern Province.
SLPP VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MOMODU KOROMA
--------------------------------------------- -
6. (U) The SLPP vice presidential candidate is Alhaji Momodu Koroma.
He is the current Minister of Foreign Affairs and International
Cooperation. Koroma was born in Bo in 1956 and is Temne, one of the
predominant tribes in the Northern Province. His parents hail from
Yonibana chiefdom in the Tonkololi District in the Northern
Province, however, he has never lived in the North. Koroma received
his B.S. degree in Physics from Njala University followed by a
diploma in Applied Meteorology at the University of Nairobi. Koroma
also received a certificate in Applied Statistics and his Master's
degree in Meteorology from the University of Reading in England,
where he also obtained a Certificate in Computer Applications from
the Institute of Public Administration and Management.
7. (SBU) Before his appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs in
2002, he served as Minister of Presidential Affairs from 1996 TO
2002. In this position, he advised the President on governance and
public sector reform, political parties, security sector reform,
legal and judicial reform, conflict resolution and management,
national capacity building, parastatals, and donor relations. He has
also served as a member in the Organizing Committee of the SLPP
National Convention and was Secretary of the Presidential Campaign
Committee in 2002. Koroma is the current chairman of the African
Union Foreign Ministers Committee for United Nations Reform.
8. (SBU) It is widely felt that Koroma was forced on Berewa by
President Kabbah due to Berewa's advanced age. Others speculate that
Kabbah wants someone in office who he feels is loyal to him. Many
SLPP party stalwarts, who feel Koroma's candidacy could potentially
hurt the SLPP's elections hopes, supported selecting Kanja Sesay,
Head of the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), as
Berewa's running mate. Koroma has been a regular on the campaign
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trail with Vice President Berewa, but mostly has been delegated a
minor role in the SLPP campaign. Momodu Koroma is a Muslim and is
married with five children. Two of his children reside in Atlanta.
APC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ERNEST KOROMA
----------------------------------------
9. (U) APC presidential candidate Ernest Bai Koroma was born in
Northern Bombali District in Makeni in 1953. During the last
Parliament, he served as the minority leader. Koroma was voted
Leader of the APC in March 2002 until he was stripped of the
position by the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone in June 2005. He was
later reinstated as Party Leader in September of that same year.
Ernest Koroma also ran as the APC presidential candidate in the 2002
elections, but only managed to secure 22 percent of the vote.
10. (U) Koroma earned his B.A. degree from Fourah Bay College in
1978 studying History, Philosophy and Law. Following graduation, he
taught secondary school for a short time before going into the
insurance business, where he became Managing Director of Reliance
Insurance Trust Corporation (Ritcorp), a fellow of the West African
Insurance Institute, and an Associate of the Institute of Risk
Management and the Institute of Directors in the UK.
11. (U) Koroma is trying to shape his candidacy as the new face of
the APC to overcome the stigma associated with the APC stemming from
years of abusive rule during the Siaka Steven's era. Koroma is
Christian, married, and has two children.
APC VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE SAMUEL SAM-SUMANA
--------------------------------------------- ----
12. (U) Samuel Sam-Sumana, the APC vice presidential candidate, was
born in the Kono District to late Paramount Chief Sam-Sumana. He
currently is CEO of Aries Rehabilitation Construction and Supplies
(ARCS) Ltd. Sam-Sumana received a B.S. degree in Management
Information Systems from the University of Minnesota and holds a
diploma in Diamond Rough Grading, Sorting, and Polishing from the
American Institute of Diamond Cutting and Polishing in Florida. He
also has a degree in Computer Networking from Knollwood Computer and
Business School in Minnesota.
13. (U) While in the U.S., he was the Systems Officer for Prudential
Financial Group, Allina Health Services, and Seagate Technologies.
Sam-Sumana has served as Managing Director of the United Diamond
Mining Company in Kono and acted as Regional Manager for C-12
International, a Texas-based company engaged in diamond buying in
Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. During the civil war, Sam-Samana
was Vice-Chairman of the Kono-Union Chapter in Minnesota and
frequently visited Kono to initiate construction and road repair
projects to increase accessibly within eastern Sierra Leone. He is a
longstanding a member of the "Five-Man Committee," a committee
comprised of the top members of the APC leadership.
14. (SBU) Waiting until after the SLPP had announced Momodu Koroma
as its vice presidential candidate, the APC chose Sam-Sumana in an
attempt to solidify support in the Kono District in hope of
strengthening its polling numbers in the SLPP-dominated Eastern
Province. However, it is thought that Sam-Sumana may actually hurt
the APC due to allegations of unscrupulous business practices in the
diamond sector. Although Sam-Sumana may help the APC in Kono, his
appeal elsewhere appears minimal. Sam-Sumana is a Muslim and is
married with three children.
PMDC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE CHARLES MARGAI
------------------------------------------
15. (U) PMDC presidential candidate Charles Francis Kondo Margai was
born in Bonthe District in 1945. Margai is the nephew and son of
Sierra Leone's first two prime ministers. His uncle, Milton Margai,
served as Sierra Leone's first Prime Minister following independence
in 1961 and was followed by his father, Albert Margai, who was Prime
Minister from 1964-1967.
16. (U) A longtime SLPP party stalwart, Margai bolted the SLPP and
formed the PMDC in January 2006 after he did not win the SLPP
nomination for president. Margai is extremely bitter that he did not
receive the SLPP presidential nomination and feels betrayed by the
SLPP leadership. He is selling the PMDC as an alternative to the
SLPP by using a political platform of "positive change." He has been
able to capture some of the youth vote with a promise of
transforming the government, but his popularity appears to be
waning.
17. (U) Margai received his B.A. in Civil Law from University
College of Dublin, Ireland and has practiced law since 1971. In
1977, Margai became a member of Parliament representing the Moyamba
South II constituency. He was the regional chairman of the SLPP,
Southern Region from 1992-1995, and served as Minister of Internal
FREETOWN 00000436 003 OF 003
Affairs in President Kabbah's administration from 1998-2002. He also
was President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association in 2004. He
currently is lead counsel for the Defense Team in the Special Court
for Sierra Leone trial of Civil Defense Force (CDF) indictee Alie
Kondowa. Margai is Catholic and married with two daughters.
PMDC VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE IBRAHIM TEJAN-JALLOH
--------------------------------------------- --------
18. (U) The PMDC vice presidential candidate is Dr. Ibrahim
Tejan-Jalloh. Tejan-Jalloh is a Fullah from the Northern Province.
He is approximately 70 years old and the grandson of a former
Paramount Chief in the Koinadugu District in the Northern Province.
He attended Norwood Technical College in London, the University of
Heidelberg, the University of Berlin, the University of Hamburg, and
the University of London. He received his M.D. from the University
of Berlin and practiced out-patient medicine at the Connaught
Hospital in Freetown. He also served as the Medical
Officer-in-charge of the Koinadugu District and was appointed Senior
Medical Superintendent in the Department of Health. Dr. Tejan-Jalloh
is a World Health Organization (WHO) Fellow and has published many
articles on health issues in Africa. Dr. Tejan-Jalloh served as
Minister of Health and Sanitation for the SLPP Government from
1999-2002.
19. (U) The PMDC selected Tejan-Jalloh to attract support in the
APC-dominated Northern Province from Fullah tribe members. The
Fullah form a large part of the business community in the North, and
several hold influential positions in President Kabbah's SLPP
Government. Dr. Tejan-Jalloh is a Muslim and married with three
children. He also is a brother of the current Sierra Leonean
Ambassador to the United States, Sulaiman Tejan-Jalloh.
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