...Deputy Leader avers
By Mohamed Massaquoi
Deputy Chairman and Leader of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has denied there was a palace coup by some members within its rank to depose Chief Somano Kapen and Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie as Chairman and Leader and Secretary-General respectively.
In a press release issued on 24th June, 2014, Dr. Prince Alex Harding said the authority to remove either or both of the two senior leaders was the exclusive jurisdiction of the national party conference, which is due on 17th August 2015.
“The idea of a palace coup was a misnomer which was unfortunately mentioned by the Chief himself and harped upon by the media and some party members. However, the whole saga was brought to the fore due to the failure in leadership on the part of both the National Chairman/Leader and National Secretary-General,” said Dr. Harding.
The SLPP has been enmeshed in a constitutional faux pas after a handful of members met and passed a vote of no confidence on the leadership of both the chairman and scribe. The move was condemned at several quarters, including a group of concerned elders in the party, while Mr. Tejan-Sie described the action as “illegal and unconstitutional”.
However, the deputy SLPP leader said: “Some of the key components of the said inept leadership on their parts are: persistent violation of the party’s constitution for example reversing NEC decision without recourse to NEC; management without dialogue or consultations with the elected National Officers; failing to serve as critique of government’s numerous inappropriate policies; ambivalent on the issue of the minority leadership contrary to the firm decision taken by NEC; and embarrassing administrative blunder in submitting a list of names to the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) asking them to disregard the list by the National Secretary General etc, etc.”
He said it was unfortunate that Chief Kapen, Tejan-Sie and Hon. Bernadette Lahai presented a false and malicious report touching on security at the party office, which saw the arrest and detention of 22 party members plus the demolition of stalls at the national headquarters.
19 of those supporters have been released, he said, while the remaining three are still being held ‘for further investigation’.
“The party will like to thank the Inspector General of Police and his team for the professional way they handled the situation. The party will also like the membership to remain calm, adhere to lawful instructions from party officials, obey the law and be assured that everything will be resolved through dialogue,” he said, and pleaded with Chief Somano to “convene the overdue but much needed National Executive Council (NEC) meeting within the next 14 days in order to discuss more important issues and for the National Officers to get the required constitutional direction to forge ahead,” the release concluded.