By Abu Bakarr Sulaiman Tarawally
The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) is nearing a cessation decision on the position of Chairman and Leader, the SLNews has learnt.
Reports indicate that the party hierarchy would reach a decision at their delegates’ conference slated for September this year to define the new functions of ‘Party Chairman’ to be the ceremonial head who runs the day to day affairs of party while the ‘Leadership Position’ of the SLPP is to be aligned with the presidency and future presidential flag-bearers for them to have full authority over the party affairs in this arrangement of convenience.
The source maintains that in the current structure, President Julius Maada Bio is a none executive position holder in the SLPP. “Quite apart from the fact that he is the president of the country, there are more powers the current party Chairman and Leader has when it comes to taking executive decision in line with party politics,” this source further stated.
The source made reference to Section 77k of the country’s 1991 Constitution, speaking with regards to giving votes of no confidence against members should the need arises; withdraw elected officials from representation either because of breach of party conducts and regulations amounting to anti-party activities or the party reaches a decision to impeach any member. The source maintains that in the view of some party big guns, the president as ‘leader’ of the party (given that authority) should get involved in the process.
It could be recalled that the ruling SLPP is embroiled in rows with splinter groups showing interest over the position of Chairman and Leader since it became apparent that the current holder, Dr. Prince Alex Harding is now the country’s head of National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM). It makes room for debate over who takes charge of the party affairs on a day to day basis given his absence in the party headquarters.
On the other hand, Dr. Prince Harding is insisting that there is no dearth of authority in the party as he is in charge and no one, with emphasis, should subvert his position as he won the votes in the last convention in the eastern city of Kenema and that makes him the legitimate position holder till the next conference.
In the period under review, the row which brokered between supporters of Dr. Price Alex Harding and one of his main challengers for the position, Batilo Songa, the current National Organizing Secretary of the party left distaste in the lurch.
Report indicates that the National Executive Council (NEC) has gone through the files containing the report of the fracas at the party headquarters and would soon make a position statement regarding that.
However, political analysts with some dissecting views have it that the SLPP is testing mucky waters to determine the rough times ahead.