The newly elected Chairman and Leader of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), Dr. Prince Alex Harding, has said immediately after his victory in Kenema that his leadership would be strongly focused on maintaining discipline and strong constitutional value among members of the party, describing his election as dawn of a new era that is geared towards peace, unity and cordial intra-party relationships.
Prior to last weekend’s national delegates’ convention, the SLPP was being engulfed in intraparty squabbles. Some members were even prevented from accessing the party’s headquarters in Freetown and across the country on the allegation that they were not working in line with the party’s core values and philosophy. The said development has culminated in some members leaving to join other parties.
But the new Chairman and Leader, just after he was duly elected in Kenema, has assured that indiscipline would be a thing of the past in the party. The call reinforces similar ones by party stalwarts urging members to keep the peace.
“I have remained silent all this while because each time there is trouble my name is trumpeted all over the place, but it is time to act as all is not well within the party. I want you to desist from indiscipline and behave like responsible citizens,” Dr. Harding said, noting that the party has the moral responsibility to save the nation from its present economic strangulation and other vices of governance.
Dr. Harding had served as secretary-general and deputy chairman and leader as well as minister in the previous Tejan Kabbah-led administration. He was particularly ecstatic after he emerged victor in a closely fought contest that saw him defeat Dr. Morie Manyeh.
He said: “I want to thank all of those who contributed in one way or the other to put this conference together. Every contribution is needed to move our party forward, and I want to focus strongly on maintaining discipline. I want everybody to come onboard. SLPP is for all of us, this is the time we have to work together for the success of our party.
“I am sure we will win the forthcoming election and I have the confidence that it is only the SLPP that will liberate Sierra Leone; elections are over and I have extended an open hand to my colleague, Dr. Manyeh, and others come onboard.”
Dr. Harding got an overwhelming 406, whiles his closest challenger Dr. Morie Komba Manyeh could only get 185. The latter is yet to make any official statement since the Kenema conference ended late Sunday.
The delegates’ conference in the eastern city of Kenema went on peaceful, although a heavy police presence was visible at the venue throughout apparently to keep the peace between supporters of rival candidates.
More than 600 delegates from the respective political districts across the country were in attendance to vote for candidates that vied for thirty-one elective positions.
While SLPP members from the northern region brought the traditional ‘Soko Bana’ dancers, those from Kailahun district had on display the ‘Jawie’ dancers in an atmosphere that was colourful.
Kenema, according to SLPP authorities, was specifically chosen to host the delegates’ conference to expose the bad plight of roads in the city but at the same time boost its economy as hotels, restaurants and bar owners cashed in on three days of convention jamboree.
Meanwhile, the party is now expected to quickly turn its attention to electing their standard bearer for the March 2018 presidential poll in the first week of October.