September 15, 2017 By Mohamed Massaquoi
The main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) will this morning commence their national delegates’ convention which is slated to elect new national executive officers for two years and chart a way forward in preparation of crucial elections in March 2018. The delegates’ conference is scheduled for the 15th and 16th September in the eastern city of Kenema.
At the top of the pie are two stalwarts who attended the famous Bo Government Secondary School Bo that are vying for the position of Chairman and Leader.
Dr. Morie Manyeh is a former university lecturer who rails from Kono in the eastern region where the party has its stronghold.
Dr. Prince Alex Harding is also a former university don who served as secretary-general and minister while the party was in governance from 1996 to 2007. He hailed from Bo district in the southern region where the party has a massive following.
Dr. Manyeh served as co-chairman to the Bishop Humper-led peace initiative that labored to unify various factions in the opposition party.
While addressing party members at the SLPP officer in Kono few months ago, Dr. Manyeh promised to serve as peace ambassador to rejuvenate the party by working with every member, and emphasised that the party needed collective efforts to win the forthcoming multitier elections scheduled for 2018.
He added that his candidature was predicated on the principles of unity and oneness, especially when some of the party members feel deprived.
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“I am in this contest not because of personal reasons but to properly represent my people on the political map of Sierra Leone. I have proven records of fostering peace in the SLPP at the stage we need each other for a general purpose that is to win come 2018. This is an opportunity that we should make a very good us of. The APC has mis-performed to the better understanding of the people of Sierra Leone. It is now very clear that the APC-led government is not the appropriate government and the people of Sierra Leone want an alternative, which is SLPP. But we cannot achieve it without our collective efforts,” he said.
His challenger, Dr. Harding was Deputy Chairman and Leader of the party under the current holder, ex-Paramount Chief of Mambolo Chiefdom, Bai Shebora Somano Kapen III.
As Deputy Chairman and Leader he has been at the centre of promoting the party’s agenda since 2013.
He said: “I am the change the party wants, I will perform the leadership role diligently and in the interest of our people.”
The position of National Secretary-General is being contested by relatively young party apparatchiks – Mohamed Raman Swaray, Kalilu Tutangay, Mohamed Massaquoi and Umaru Napoleon Koroma.
The post of Women’s Leader is a straight fight between Hon. Emma Kowa and Ms. Fatmata Sawanneh.
Some seven hundred or more delegates from across the country and the diaspora are expected to cast their votes for various positions in the SLPP national executive.
The decision of the Political Parties Registration Commission to separate the elections of national party functionaries and that of standard bearer of the party in the next presidential election may have damped the mood of thousands of ardent supporters.
However, reports from Kenema state that the city was agog with activities last night as bus-loads of supporters from across the country and abroad arrived amid expectation that a new national executive would usher in a dawn of peace and tranquility.