New SLAA president warns Sports minister
November 23, 2015 By Sahr Morris Jnr.
Newly elected President of Sierra Leone Athletics Association (SLAA), Rtd. Maj. Palo Conteh, has issued a strong warning to Minister of Sports, Paul Kamara, and others that he would not tolerate any form of dictatorship.
The former national athletics team captain was last Friday elected as president of the association at the Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown, in what could be describe as a controversial election which lacked the backing of the Sports Ministry, Sports Council and the National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone (NOC-SL).
Despite a boycott by the Sports Minister, NOC-SL, incumbent president Abdul Karim Sesay, Deputy Sports Minister, Ishmael Al-Sankoh Conteh, was in attendance to witness the election of Mr. Conteh by 32 of the 48 delegates accredited by the association.
Addressing delegates and observers, Conteh said he decided to challenge for the presidency because he wants be seen as mentor and inspirator for athletes as a former athlete himself who feels the pinch of athletics.
He said athletics over the years have lost it remarkable image because of several reasons, including external interference, which he vowed to not tolerate.
“Ebola didn’t dictate to me, nobody including the minister, no minister or politician will dictate to us as an association. If you want to challenge me, know that you are challenging an elephant,” Rtd.Maj Palo Conteh said.
The tall and hefty former 400 meters runner also took aim at other elected officials that he was coming to raise the profile of the association and urged them to deliver in their jobs diligently.
He said: “My aim is to develop athletes and sports; please consider me as your servant. For my other members of my executive, let all of us do our job diligently and I want to say either you do the job or you quit the office.”
Palo Conteh and Dauda Sundufu Sowa both went unopposed for the position of President and Secretary General respectively.
However, despite the absence of their two challengers delegates were asked to vote as per the association’s constitution.
Conteh pulled 30 votes with two void votes recorded, while Sowa secured 24 votes with eights voided.
For the position of Vice President, Michael Felix-Rowe secured 29 votes to defeat Michael Kamara who pulled only two votes.
Martin Bangura was elected Assistant Secretary General with 27 votes, defeating Bockarie John who polled five votes. Suma K. Brima secured the same number of votes as Bangura to defeat Michael Sesay who secured five votes for the position of Marketing/Organising Secretary, while Samuel Jalloh defeated Abdulia Conteh for the post of Public Relations Officer. Jalloh secured 23 votes, with Conteh bagging seven.