SLPP internal impasse…


Bishop J.C. Humper invokes divine intervention

January 9, 2016 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

In the wake of the latest round of war of words rocking the inner political circle of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), Ex-Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Bishop Emeritus Joseph Christian Humper has noted that divine intervention would be needed to salvage the crisis that is currently bedeviling the progress of the party.

The SLPP suspended its legitimate Chairman and Leader, Chief Sumanoh Kapen III and four other national executive members on the grounds that the Chairman had failed to promote policies and principles of the party and did not uphold the party’s constitution by extending his tenure since he was elected into office in 2013.

In a tit-for-tat response, Chief Kapen summoned a National Executive Council (NEC ) meeting on 4th January 2017 at the Miatta Conference Centre, where a resolution was reached to suspend certain national officials, including the Deputy Chairman and Leader, Dr. Prince Alex Harding, Acting National Publicity Secretary, Lahai Lawrence Leema, Dr Abass Bundu ,and Alie Badara Kamara.

This latest impasse means that the opposition party now has two parallel executives, with one being led by Dr. Prince Harding and the other chaired by Chief Sumano Kapen.

The yawning gap of enmity within the party emanated just after the conclusion of lower level elections which outcome was petitioned by one faction in the High Court of Sierra Leone.

Whilst he was speaking last Friday at the party’s headquarters on Wallace Johnson Street during a meeting summoned by the Dr. Prince Harding-led executive, Bishop Emeritus Humper said the party needed serious prayers to put an end to the internal wrangling.

“I pray that peace will reign in the SLPP once again. This party needs serious prayers. And let me tell you that a divided house can never stand. It is often said that when spider webs unite they can tie up a lion. I urged all of you to go back to the drawing board and settle your differences before it’s too late,” he said.

The man of God-cum-politician and peace ambassador started his speech with a short sermon, in which he stated that officials should put God first and the interest of the party above all other considerations.

He noted that it was because God wanted the problem to be solved before it’s too late that He brought it out now.

“The parallel executive that is in existence now is unprecedented. The internal conflict will soon end if the party members mean good for themselves and the country. It is nice the problem happened now so that we can find amicable solution to it. If this has happened in the nick-of-time, then this party will be in trouble,” he said.

Also speaking was Christian Habib Thorpe, Eastern Rural District Chairman, who noted that SLPP members were the architect of their misfortune and that they should not blame the ruling All Peoples Congress or other individuals within the party.

He said everybody was important in the party and that they should encourage the other faction to join them if they wanted to match to State House come 2018.

Meanwhile, Acting Publicity Secretary of the Sumanoh Kapen faction, Imran Sillah, last Thursday said on the popular Radio Democracy  98.1 Good Morning Show that they held the meeting at Miatta Conference Centre because many people were apprehensive of going to the party office as a result of the presence of ‘thugs’ that intimidate and sometimes beat up rival party members.

He noted that the meeting, which was attended by 65 NEC members, including 18 sitting Members of Parliament (with Minority Leader and her deputy in attendance) and other past lawmakers, formed a quorum, thus noting that the decision taken at that meeting was legal.

 “52 NEC members form a quorum and there were about 65 members in that meeting, so those decisions reached at have the backing of the SLPP 1995 Constitution as amended,” he said.

On his part, Hon. Philip Tetema Tondeneh, suspended Regional Chairman East, described the NEC meeting held at Miatta Conference Centre as a ‘Kangaroo meeting’ as it lacked legal mandate.

He said a National Officers’ meeting should be held first where the agenda would be set for the preceding NEC meeting, but claimed that was never done as at the time Chief Kapen summoned the said meeting.

He insisted that he was still the Eastern Region Chairman of the party and that his suspension has no legal bearing.