On the re-opening of SLPP Office … “We would never encourage violence” John Benjamin...

Sierra Leone News: SLPP Convention… An untidy process

The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), over the weekend, conducted elections for positions on their national executive committee at its delegate conference in Kenema.
However, some members of the party cried foul even before going to the actual contest. Kalilu Tutanga, Secretary General Candidate, said, “The Party is in a very desperate situation. It is obvious in my view that some of the rules have not been followed. Fairness is not accorded to all candidates and this is the underlying problem in the Party.” He continued, “The process has been very untidy. I am a national Secretary General candidate and I have given many years of service to the Party but I was only given an observer status to attend the conference. As the delegates were all here we were supposed to be here and canvas their votes.”
Tutanga adds, “Anybody that is to become Secretary General or Leader of the Party should be seen as someone who is assumed to be fair, both in their actions and in their approach to the job they do. But from what I am seeing this is not happening.”
However, he maintained that if he loses he will support the winner. “I am a member of this Party and will not be forced to leave. But, the division is so deep in the Party. I will remain a member of the Party but will withhold my services.
Flag-bearer aspirant, John Oponjo Benjamin, also raised similar concerns. He said, “The convention started with a big disappointment for the third time. I saw the Deputy Chairman and Leader taking over the functions of the Leader and Chairman. We also saw a convention starting without the Chairman and Leader (Kapen). This is very sad and disappointing.”
He added, “This so sad. The Deputy Chairman and Leader has been the symbol of violence and openly declared his loyalty to a particular flag-bearer aspirant; Maada Bio. We see the danger.”
JOB continued, “Today, we are here appealing to our people to know their democratic rights and vote to ensure that does not happen – to put a stop to violence; to say goodbye to Prince Harding and his violence.”
Benjamin maintained that he is going to ensure that Prince Harding, who is a candidate for the position of Chairman and Leader loses the election. “If he [Harding] wins that will be a disaster for the Party and it will not happen,” Benjamin emphasized.
In his response, Prince Harding said, “People are complaining about me because of the fact that I am straight forward and always ready to speak the truth, which most people don’t like. Therefore, when I see something I say from my heart without malice.”
Harding added, “The process has been fair and transparent without any bias towards any particular individual.”
Outgone Secretary General of the Party, Alie Badara Kamara, also regarded the process as transparent and said “The convention is in fulfilment of the Supreme Court ruling of 2015, that the Party set up an Independent Elections Monitoring Committee to conduct the national executive elections.”
By Betty Milton in Kenema
Monday September 18, 2017.

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