S Leone's Bio to vie for leadership

2010-05-26 14:34

Freetown - A former military leader, retired general Julius Maada Bio, said on Tuesday he planned to run as leader of Sierra Leone's opposition party to contest presidential elections in 2012.

"I shall contest the 2012 presidential election if I secure the nomination of the SLPP (Sierra Leone People's Party) when it holds its convention (in March 2011)."

"I have had my trials at leadership on a national level as I have led the country at a defining moment when there was a rebel war and I was also able to produce democracy and bring about the peace process," Bio told reporters.

"The fact is that as a military leader, I was able to relinquish power peacefully and won national and international acclaim for that."

This is the second time Bio is seeking the leadership of the party. The first was in 2005 when he came third with 33 votes.

Bio was among a group of young military officers who overthrew the democratic government of President Joseph Momoh in 1992 just after the start of a devastating civil war which would eventually last a decade.

He was deputy leader of the junta until early 1996 when he ousted the leader, Valentine Strasser in a palace coup and took over leadership.

He handed power to President Tejan Kabbah later that year after democratic elections.