Former Leader and Chairman, now flagbearer aspirant of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), John Oponjo Benjamin, commonly called JOB, has objected to the PPRC gazetted rules and regulations for the conduct of the Party presidential candidate election that should take place later this year.
On the 16th March, 2017 the PPRC published the rules and regulations for the Election of the SLPP Presidential Candidate. This is in pursuant to Section 24 of the Political Parties Act No.3 of 2002.
The Commission further opened a window of petition for 14 days commencing 7th March for the membership of the Party and the public to object on the gazetted Rules and Regulations.
Lawyers representing JOB have written a letter of objection to the PPRC on the grounds that, “the aforesaid Rules and Regulations were made and published in total violation of the spirit and intention of the Supreme Court judgment dated 15th December 2015”. They further objected that the “Notice, dated 16th March 2017 inviting objections from the SLPP and the general public in respect of the said published Rules and Regulations contravenes Section 24 of the Political Parties Act 2002”.
JOB said the objection was raised in the best interest of the party. “I want to ensure that people do the right thing within the Party and the Party is governed based on the Constitution”. He maintained, “People should not take advantage of the fact that the Party is in disarray so that few people will do whatever they want. The Party is in a critical position and we should not make mistakes at this time”. Benjamin said the Executive have been taken to the Supreme Court by other Party members and the “Court that waited until the end of term of the executive to give ruling. So they ruled that the time for the executive has ended and so there was no need to stop them from working”.
However, he went on, “although the Court ruled that even though the elections were marred with corruption and some other discrepancies, the Executive has spent two years and there was no need to nullify them”.
And so “the Court ruled that elections should be conducted to replace them and the Executive should not conduct the elections but rather an independent body appointed by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Party. This body will then conduct the national elections and then conduct flagbearer elections”.
JOB alleged that the Executive “have failed to do so, instead, they have gone ahead and published rules and regulations for flagbearer elections, which is not their business. This Executive wants to do the wrong thing and I will not sit down and watch and someone take the Party to Court again that is why we need to correct it to save time”.
The SLPP flagbearer aspirant alleged, “delegate lists should be published 21 days to the conference and they have not done that and all of these issues will lead the Party into chaos. Am doing this for the good of the Party as I don’t have any Party to go to, but I want to make sure that when I am elected as flagbearer, people should not raise objections that will lead to another battle and conflict within the Party again”.
Lucien Momoh, Outreach Officer and Spokesperson of the PPRC confirmed that they have received the letter from the lawyer of John Oponjo Benjamin on Monday 20th March and that as a Commission they will have to look at the objections raised in the letter.
However, Secretary General of the SLPP, Alie Badara Kamara, said, “They have not received the objections and so would not comment. He said if such is brought they will eventually look into it before any decisions are made.”