Concord Times (Freetown)

Sierra Leone: SLPP Flag-Bearer Contest - a Done Deal?

Freetown — Sources within the secretariat of the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) have confided in Concord Times that one of the leading flag-bearer contenders in this weekend's delegates convention has been endorsed by more than half of the delegates as the most fitting presidential candidate capable of wresting power from incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma in the forthcoming general elections scheduled for 2012.

This resolve by a good number of delegates from the north-west and south-eastern parts of the country - who will be making the ultimate decision of choosing a presidential candidate this Sunday - came following a meeting by a group of delegates and some critical-minded individuals within the SLPP to discuss the possibility of the party marching back to State House with the right candidate.

"All 19 candidates are qualified to lead the SLPP but we have seriously considered Maada to spearhead the SLPP to victory," one of the delegates who preferred anonymity told Concord Times. "We have consulted with elders of the party and a good number of delegates have resolved who our presidential candidate will be. So the delegates' conference is only going to be a formality... but Bio is technically going unopposed."

Bio himself could not be reached for his comment, as well as the SLPP executive.

According to the delegate, the SLPP would this time not allow petty differences to drag the party back to the troubles of the recent past, which he said they had succeeded in resolving.

Mohamed Rogers, the organizing secretary for the Bio campaign team in the eastern region, confirmed to this medium that the battle was over and that they were only awaiting the outcome of the conference on Sunday.

"We can't say much at the moment but we are confident that Bio is going to be the SLPP's presidential candidate," said Rogers. "We have already started talking to other candidates to work with our leader because together we can make a difference."

Leader of the People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) Charles Francis Margai, in a snap interview with this reporter, said his party was not interfering into the activities of other political parties and therefore could not make any statement with regards the SLPP leadership election.

Moreover, Margai has once declared that the PMDC was only awaiting the outcome of the SLPP flag-bearer contest before going into any political discussions and/or arrangements. He however confirmed that he was in close contact with the SLPP leadership.

Meanwhile, an opinion poll monitored by 'Awoko' newspaper on July 17th 2011 has given Maada Bio high popularity rating ahead of his 18 opponents contesting for the party's flag-bearer position. In the opinion poll, Bio bagged 72% from the text messages sent all over the country while Dr. Kadie Sesay, who came second, got 6%. The other candidates shared the rest of the percentages.

The poll, according to political analysts, confirms the grassroots support for Bio, and who are amongst the majority voting population in the country.

In the online poll, Dr. Kadie Sesay got 27% while Maada Bio got 22%, according to the independent daily.

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