From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

SLPP Leader John Ben is not Eyeing Presidency
Aug 3, 2010, 17:20

The Chairman and Leader of Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) John Oponjo Benjamin has dropped into the Awareness Times offices last night immediately on his arrival from the Provinces to ask this media house to clarify to the Public that though he was already the elected Leader of the SLPP, he currently had “no ambitions” to run for President of Sierra Leone.

“Yes, there was a time when I had a dream of serving my people as their President but I shelved it in March 2009. Since then, I have never looked back,” Benjamin assured.

According to John Benjamin, what the party needed now was a level playing field which he intended to provide for all flag bearer aspirants. He however confirmed the reports that he was facing “some pressure” from certain sections of the Party for him to contest against President Koroma but he assured he was unshakeable in his resolve.

“I know better than to shake the party’s stability by attempting to run for Flagbearer. For all we know, it could be detractors wanting to see the party disintegrate who are putting the notion across that only John Benjamin can beat Ernest Koroma,” the veteran politician opined.

Mr. Benjamin also corrected the erroneous quotation in yesterday’ edition of The Exclusive newspaper which alleged that Section 6(f) of the SLPP Constitution allowed for the Chairman to resign six months to the contest for the position of flag-bearer.

“That section does not apply to the Leader and Chairman,” John Benjamin informed.

Prior to the recent changes in the SLPP Constitution, the Flagbearer used to automatically become the Leader of the party. In the current SLPP Constitution, if the flagbearer wins the Presidential Elections, he becomes the President of Sierra Leone. If he loses, he becomes an ordinary member of the SLPP. This is the same system operating in America where President Obama is not the Leader of his party though he is the President.

So also, the SLPP Leader is the Chairman and only he is authorized to make leadership decisions on behalf of the party but he cannot run for SLPP Flagbearer.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.