Ambassador Joe Blell, One of those aspiring for the Position of National Chairperson in the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party has raised concerns over the serious division in their party, which he said is too much for his comfort.
The Former Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria who later became Deputy Minister of Defense in the Late President Kabbah’s led government was commenting on the recent Kenema murder involving supporters of different camps in the party said the Party is heading for gloom and doom.
He accused the current leadership of the party to be responsible for the various factions the party is now divided into, thereby causing death and mayhem within the SLPP family. He said his mind exploded with pains hearing a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party asking how the SLPP became like this in 2016 when he was commenting on the barbaric nature of the killing. He described such as question coming from a leader of the party as worrying, noting that it seems as if the party is far from solving it problems as the leaders just like some of them with conscience cannot decipher it root-cause.
He further maintained that the SLPP would head for disaster if they go to the national convention without addressing the issues that have divided the party. However he said peace now is overshadowed by the lower level elections by consensus which he said is a form of selection, as the party has long ignored the Bishop Humper Peace Committee that recommended for a national peace conference before convention.
The SLPP aspirant further maintained that he is popular in the party for the roles he played to restore democratic order and peace in the country during the eleven years old civil war which according him is one of the party’s legacies. As a result he expressed confident of winning the forthcoming elections of the party, stating that among candidates contesting for the party’s chairman position he is from the Western Area and with maternal lineage from the Southern Region, facets in the party’s stronghold which most people believe deserve a chance to hold prominent positions in the SLPP this time.
Nonetheless he said He is consulting with some of his principal loyalists in the party whether he is to go ahead with his aspirations, given that he is not happy with the present situation in their party, as there are different camps with opposing interests that would be detrimental to their chances of winning the next general and Presidential election.
“Everybody wants to be flag-bearer of the party, and worst of it some do not have anything to offer to the party lets alone the country. However things can be straighten-out to strengthen the party for the next elections in 2018” Amb. Blell said.
Therefore he emphasized that it is a must for them to put their Unity house in order, once that is done, he said they will be sure of victory in 2018. “I have served the party as a member of the National Executive from 2004 to 2013, and majority of the party’s membership are aware of my immense contributions I made to the successes of the party” he maintained, adding that, those are the selfless sacrifices well-meaning members of the party should be concerned with now and not catering for their personal gains in the SLPP with the flag-bearship contest seemingly becoming a business enterprise.
He noted that in 2011 the party had 19 candidates who ran for the flag-bearer position, some of those who lost the contest clandestinely worked against the party’s interest while few others crossed over to the ruling All People’s Congress. He said he sees that scenario happening again if they do not put their house in order before the next national delegate conference of the party.
He ascertained that the Sierra Leone People’s Party regardless of its challenges is still the main opposition party in the country, and still enjoys massive popularity in most of the country who yearn for change, hence he said if their house is put together ahead of the national delegate conference, the party would stand a chance of forming the next government of the country. He said one way their house could be put together is by ensuring that the perpetrators of the Kenema murder are brought to book. He said that would send a strong signal that the SLPP is a decent party and it is not ready to succeed through violent means.