…says Ambassador Blell
June 30, 2015
Ambassador Joe Blell has pledged to unite the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) ahead of crucial presidential elections slated for 2018.
The opposition party has be bedeviled by internecine conflict since it controversially lost the right to govern in 2007, with one court case after another, although there have not been a paucity of efforts at reconciliation.
Ambassador Blell announced his bid to challenge for the standard bearer of the main opposition party in mid June, on a platform of “peace and unity”.
In an exclusive interview with Global Times newspaper, the political economist-cum-diplomat-cum politician acknowledged that, “A lot has gone wrong [in the SLPP] but together we can all fix it and that is what I represent.”
The erstwhile deputy Defence Minister said he has the political clout and intellectual pedigree to mend fences within the party, stressing that the SLPP should unite for its good and the general benefit of the nation, which is in need of “a political saviour”.
The affable and amiable former diplomat to Nigeria and arguably the most successful Team Manager of the national team, Leone Stars, may well be the proverbial ‘saviour’ of a country in need of good leadership, but says his initial mission is to “talk and walk peace in my party”.
He urged members of the party who may have any grievance or scores to settle to do so “out of court”, poignantly re-echoing party stalwart Dr. Peter Tucker, who once famously quipped that the “the courts have not been a favourable destination for dispute resolution for the SLPP since independence”.
Ambassador Blell’s clarion call for peace and unity within the SLPP is significant and more than symbolic, given that he was regarded as a key member of the Ali Bangura faction which is embroiled in a long drawn Supreme Court litigation against the current executive of the party, which they alleged was elected by flawed means.
However, there have been numerous calls from stakeholders within the party, at home and abroad, and outside, spearheaded by the Political Parties Registration Commission, to reconcile but to no avail.
It seems though that Ambassador Blell has heeded that call and has moved to extend the Olive branch to all members of the party as he bids to lead the main opposition into the 2018 elections, with “peace and unity” as his mantra.