The SLPP Hierarchy’s Deception – Major Cause for Concern
The manner in which the SLPP hierarchy is operating lately is likely to send a devastating blow to the party if not checked.
It is indisputable that the three most important members of the SLPP executive are the Chairman Mr John Oponjo Benjamin, Vice Chairlady Dr. Kadie Sesay and Secretary-General Mr Jacob Jusu Safffa.Â Â I would like to suggest that all three should carry out their duties in the interest of the SLPP and nothing more.Â Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case.
What bothers me most is their belief that the members of the SLPP are not capable of using their brains.Â I take this view because of the trio’s determination to impose persons of their choice to lead the SLPP Party in the forthcoming General Election.
It is not a secret that Mrs Isata Kabba (nee Jabbie), the SLPP Women’s Leader, in addition to the trio are working very hard to mislead the members so as to enable them to select either Mr. Momodu Koroma, Dr Kadie Sesay and Mr. Maada Bio as the Flag Bearer and/or Running Mate.Â They are also waging war against the younger would be contestants for the flag bearership by constantly telling others that they will not allow other people to come and head the party, it is either them or the individuals they have handpicked.Â Â
Dr Kadie Sesay is failing to realise that she has in the past publicly stated that she is a “Technocrat and not a Politician” and “not a member of the SLPP” even though she was holding a ministerial position in the SLPP government at the time.Â What has she got to show for her 10 years of holding that position?Â For her to now conspire against other candidates is incomprehensible.
How could the SLPP members allow the hierarchy to treat them as “fools” and allow them to impose the leadership team on them? Â Â
To stand a chance at the next election the party needs a leadership team without any baggage and one capable of moving the party forward. Academic qualifications should no longer be seen as the major requirement.Â Other factors such as honesty, credibility, integrity and common sense should also be considered. The SLPP does not need a scenario whereby those who cannot substantiate their achievements during their time in power, couple with their manipulation of the new constitution to be allowed to dictate to the members at large.
I have heard through the grapevine that they are going to suggest to the members during the forthcoming convention that the election date for choosing the Flag Bearer be brought forward for fear that the APC might call an early election.Â What they will not tell the members is that they want to use the old constitutionÂ to elect the Flag Bearer in order to enable them to achieve their selfish motives, which will not be easy to achieve under the new constitution adopted in Kenema.
We all know that a convention is setÂ for February for the purpose of deliberating on the Councillors but they intend to ask the delegates to vote on allowing the Flag Bearer election to be held this year. Â Whatever is decided at this convention will not come into effect until 12 months after the date of the convention, that is, February 2011.Â In effect if the Flag Bearer is to be chosen before February 2011, it will be under the old constitution, an ambition which Dr Kadie Sesay and her counterparts have been struggling to achieve.Â
On the other hand if the Flag Bearer is to be chosen after February 2011, it will be on the basis of the new constitution, obviously the trio are not in favour of this because of fear that it will seriously affect their choices and their intention to stay in power even if it means at the risk of the party losing the next election.Â
What I also find hard to comprehend is their hunger for power.Â They knew well in advance that they will not be eligible to contest for the Flag Bearer if they become part of the national executive and they were even reminded of the clauses in the new constitution, in full view of all the members who attended the convention in Kenema.Â To go all out and manipulate not only the constitution but the members of the party, demonstrate how disingenuous they are. They are not just insincere, but not credible, having betrayed the trust placed upon them at the Kenema convention.Â It is obvious that their personal interests come first.
Dr Kadie Sesay cried “foul and discrimination” for not being allowed to contest for the Flag Bearer or Running mate position. Â This is ridiculous and not discriminatory in any form because the clauses apply to both men and women of the party and not only that, she also had the option at the time to either go for the Chairmanship or wait for the Flag Bearer election.Â It is evident that she was interested in the Flag Bearer position but instead deceitfully tried to achieve it in a roundabout way by gaining an unfair advantage in going for the Vice Chair position.Â This is manipulation and corruption at the highest level. Â We should not allow these people to contest even if any of them resign on the day of the convention in February 2010. It is rumoured that the Chairman, Dr Kadie Sesay, and Mrs. Isatta Kabba are supporting the same candidate and Dr Kadie Sesay will tender her resignation at the convention in order to allow her to go as a running mate.Â Mr. JJ Saffa on the other hand is supporting Mr. Maada Bio. However, the hierarchy are not in favour of all the other candidates.
How would anyone expect the members or the people of Sierra Leone to trust them when they say one thing and do the opposite? Â When they do achieve their aim which is highly unlikely, they are likely to deceive the country,Â judging by their actions in this constitutional saga.
If the SLPP is to stand a chance, they should now allow the new constitution to be the centre piece of the Flag Bearer election rather than the old constitution; otherwise a second Margai episode will emerge. The mere fact that the constitution was changed is enough to let the hierarchy know that the old constitution is no longer needed and should not be the basis upon which the Flag Bearer should be appointed.Â The hierarchy must realise that they are there to act in the best interest of the party.Â Members of the SLPP cannot afford to be in the political wilderness for too long so they must heed this warning.by Sahid Mustapha
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