SLPP Keeps Mute About Number of Registered Flagbearer Aspirants
August 29, 2017 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
The National Executive of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has been mute and refused to make public, the exact number of flagbearer aspirants that have registered to contest in the Kenema delegates conference slated for September 15, 16 and 17, 2017.
While the deadline of Friday, 25th August, 2017, for interested aspirants to register has been extended for a week, Concord Times yesterday pressed on to know the exact number of people that have so far been registered against the Friday deadline.
As speculations are rife that a good number of intending aspirants could not register because there is a forgone conclusion that the conference would be an endorsement of Julius Maada Bio, who has been openly supported by some executive members of the party, the party hierarchy yesterday refused to make public, the number of flagbearer aspirants that have already registered for the coveted position.
When Concord Times asked Chairman Sumano Kapen, on phone, about the number of registered flagbearer aspirants, he referred the reporter to the National Secretary General,Ambassador Alie Badara Kamara, who in turn declined talking on the issue and also referred the reporter to the Administrative Director ,Alhaji Koroma.
For Koroma, he told Concord Times that he could not tell the exact number of aspirants that have registered because he was bereaved and was out of office.
He again referred the reporter to the National Publicity Secretary, Lahai Lawrence Leema,who finally granted interview at his office on Wallace Johnson Street in Freetown.
Responding to interview from Concord Times, the Publicity Secretary also declined knowledge of the exact number of fully registered flag bearer aspirants, stating that he was not in a position to provide such details because the head of admin was bereaved.
“The head of admin is bereaved and not in office today, therefore, I can’t ascertain the exact number. But the moment that is clarify, I will inform the public about it,” he said.
When asked that rumours were making the rounds that many people were afraid to pay the registration fees because they thought the contest in Kenema would be a Maada Bio convention, as several national officers have endorsed him, the PRO stated that the aspirants were ‘afraid of their shadows’ and that the party was going to conduct a free, fair and credible elections in Kenema.
As the party has gazetted Le100 million as registration fees for those that would want to contest for the position ahead of the 2018 multitier elections, Leema said, “The fees were prescribed by a legitimate body of the SLPP and that by implication it formed part of the laws of this country pursuant to Section 170 of the 1991 Constitution. Whether it is one person that register, we will go ahead to conduct the election,”
He said they deferred the time for the registration of aspirants not because of the fees, but to give ample time to other people in the Diaspora that have interest in the race, to contest.
The party has initially set past Friday as the last day for the registration of the flagbearer aspirants, but apparently deferred the time and gave it a week extension.
About 600 delegates are expected to converge in the eastern city of Kenema to elect the standard bearer that would lead the party in the March 7, 2018 election, as well as elect national officers that would run the activities of the party.
Prior to now, the party has over ten people who made their intention known to run for the flagbearer position.