2 Battle For SLPP Chair

 

By Ayodele Deen-Cole

Sources close to the headquarters of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) have intimated The Exclusive that two persons have, so far, expressed interest in the National Chairmanship of the party, ahead of its forthcoming National Delegates’ Convention.

The two are the current holder of the position, Dr. Prince Alex Harding who led the party to the 2018 national elections that saw the party emerging victorious and a new kid on the block but predominantly ‘pa-o-pa’, Jimmy Batilo Songa, the current National Organizing Secretary.

However, as usual, it is expected that other senior party members would express interest in running for the position as the countdown to the party’s biannual National Delegates’ Conference in September 2019 gets near.

After lower level executive elections, the delegates selected from across the wards, constituencies, districts and regions in the country will elect the party’s national executive.

Reports are that the race for the SLPP Chairmanship is heating up on a daily basis, some Diaspora branches and delegates are reported to have thrown their support behind who they believe is the best candidate to occupy that highly coveted seat.

It could be recalled that President Bio had to intervene and called for calm to prevail when supporters of Dr. Prince Harding aka Bullet clashed with those of Jimmy Batilo at the party’s national headquarters, displaying placards with inscription: ‘Prince Harding must go!!!’ after Batilo Songa publicly declared his intention to run for the seat.

During a recent visit by President Maada Bio to the United State of America, members of the SLPP North America Branch reportedly threw their support behind the Jimmy Batillo Songa’s candidacy. Similar support has been declared by the SLPP UK-Ireland and Canada branches.

According to the Chairman of SLPP Canada branch, Theophilus Shaw, the party needs to undertake what he called full restructuring, adding that they are in full support of injecting new people to lead the party. He advised that Dr. Prince Harding considers giving way to fresh blood and as a senior party member become adviser to the young people to upkeep the ideology and principles of the SLPP.

Another member of the branch, Jonathan Sandy, told this press that nothing will stop Songa from winning as he has served the party with distinction, both nationally and internationally. Much as he commended the stewardship and service of Dr. Prince Harding, especially for winning the 2018 elections, he however maintained that it is high time for him and executive to backed out and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

However, many people have argued that a person like Dr. Prince Harding is an invaluable material in the party for the fact that he has been with the party through thick and thin and has strong connections with the grassroots and knows the strategies, methods and tricks required to beat APC. Discarding him now for a new chairman, many opine, would be disastrous for SLPP in 2023.