Former chairman and leader of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP)-John Oponjo Benjamin has on Monday 27th June, 2016 referred to Paopa supporters who wrote a complaint letter against the current chairman and leader of the party, Somano Kapen to the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) as “reckless and distracted group of individuals whose only interest is to bring the party into disrepute.”
Meanwhile, Paopa group is a fraction of the SLPP, whose members are considered as supporters of the 2012 presidential candidate for the party, Maada Bio. Both Maada Bio and John Oponjo Benjamin are presently aspiring for the SLPP Presidential ticket for the 2018 elections.
Whilst John Oponjo Benjamin was reacting on the complaint filed by Paopa supporters in a letter signed by: Dr. Abass Bundu- Regional Vice Chairman North; Edward Soluku- Regional Vice Chairman South; Alie Badara Kamara- Acting Secretary General; Madam Lulu Shereef- National Women’s Leader; Lahai Lahai Leema- Ag. National Publicity Secretary; Manso Dumbuya- Regional Vice Chairman West; Philip Tondoneh- Regional Vice Chairman East; Dr. J.D Rogers- Financial Secretary; Madam Martha Kanagbo- Treasurer and Anthony Y. Brewah- Legal adviser, about the conduct of the chairman and leader of the party during the just concluded sectional and zonal elections within the party, Mr. Benjamin confirmed to Awareness Times Newspaper through a phone call interview that the above mentioned members of the party are “lawless and reckless.”
The letter pointed out that Kapen’s verbal directives to the regional Chairman South instructing him not to re- conduct the elections in eight zones in constituency 067 in Bo District even though the Regional Elections Complaints Committee (RECC) had made a determination to that effect. The SLPP therefore, referred in the said letter to: “rules 21, 22, 23, and 24 of clause 2 of the Rules and Regulations 2016 which give the RECC authority to investigate all election complaints emanating from the respective regions.”
SLPP also referenced the fact that the proceedings of the RECC took place in the presence of a representative of the PPRC, but that did not stop Kapen from insisting that the ruling of the RECC was subject to his “personal review and approval.”
However, John Oponjo Benjamin, who also was part of the process vehemently hit on the SLPP Paopa supporters who signed the letter in what he referred to “the rules setup by the chairman and leader of the party in the conduct of the lower levels elections were agreed on by all parties involved.”
Therefore, he said complaining the chairman and leader to the PPRC on issues that were agreed upon by all the parties in itself is “lawless.” He said members of the SLPP must not learn to make decisions that “affect the general good of the party.”
Meanwhile, spokesman of the PPRC, Lucien Momoh has late evening previous day confirmed to Awareness Times Newspaper that the Commission has started looking into the complaints forwarded by various SLPP members about the conducts of their lower level elections. He said, the Commission has yet to come out with a public statement about the processes of the SLPP lower levels elections, but will do so soonest. He ended by assuring the general public of transparency in the process.