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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

Intrigues to Fly the SLPP Flag
By Abdul Fonti
May 29, 2009, 17:20
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The Convention in Kenema, described as potentially volatile then, was quickly put under control by divine intervention.

In the aftermath of the Opening Ceremony, every delegate was extremely cautious not to rock the boat or do anything that could be conceived as being disruptive. Delegates were focused on the pending elections of activists vying for positions in the National Executive, such that deliberations on the details of the New Constitution were glossed over. In my view, this was a cardinal error.

Presently, debate is becoming very emotional on clauses that debar all thirty-one (31) members of the National Executive from vying for the position of Flag Bearer or Running Mate, even after resigning their positions.

This well thought-out draconian clause is viewed as extremely discriminatory and a reaction to the 2007 election debacle, rather than being forward looking.

In more developed democracies of the world from which we so often copy, ascendance to leadership positions in political parties is by natural progression so that people of proven mettle, commitment and loyalty to party at lower levels could be given opportunity to aspire for higher offices. It would seem that the SLPP has hardly learnt any lesson from the impact which the choice to give decision-making authority to newcomers and untested supporters had on the last elections. For instance well known stakeholders who held very important offices in government were mere observers at the Makeni convention in September 2005 without voting rights, even though they could have been in a better position to make informed decisions.

Furthermore, Key Stakeholders believe that the choice of a Flag Bearer as late as 2011 may be suicidal as the party will not have enough time to sell the candidate before the crucially important 2012 elections. The debate is ominous when consideration is given to an earlier call for elections by the APC Government for a date in 2011 rather than 2012. The SLPP will be caught with their pants down.

There is also a growing worry that new pocket groupings are emerging within the party and only select members of the N.E.C. are now informed about certain meetings, while others are left in the dark. This does not augur well for party unity and is a potential discontent.

A call for another National Conference before March 2011 is therefore gathering momentum not only to revisit short sighted clauses but also to choose a Flag Bearer for the people of Sierra Leone to have adequate time to know the face of the PARTY.


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