The National Chairman and Leader of the SLPP, Chief Somano Kapen has denied newspaper reports that the peace process in the Party has stalled. “I accept that there are some challenges in the implementation of the Peace Accord signed by all the intending flagbearer aspirants and some Party stakeholders on 8th February, 2017…But, I am still optimistic that those challenges will be overcome,” Chief Kapen told the Global Times in an exclusive interview at the Party’s Headquarters in Freetown on Tuesday 7th March, 2017.
Chief Kapen noted that, it would be a tragedy of unimaginable consequences if the Party fails to unite ahead of the March 2018 Presidential and Parliamentary elections. “There is no way that we can win the 2018 elections if we do not unite as a Party…All of us have a responsibility to make the peace process work…That is why, as Party Chairman and Leader, I intend to engage some key Party stakeholders, separately, in order for us to sustain the fragile peace that we all enjoy at the moment”, Chief Kapen said.
The SLPP Chairman and Leader refused to comment on the disputed 39 constituency lower level election results because he said that, it was a matter for NEC consideration.
He however commended members of the Special Committee on Peace for submitting their report in time for NEC’s consideration.
Chief Kapen however, noted that, the report was not signed by one of the members of the committee, Ambassador Fode Dabor because he said he had some concerns over the 39 disputed constituency lower level election results. “All I can say is that, in any negotiation (s), one does not need to adopt a regime of rigidity…You have to be pragmatic but at the same time, you have to leave some space for flexibility…You can’t go into a negotiation with a fixed mind…At times, you have to accommodate the view (s) of others in order to make progress and reach at a convergence acceptable to all Parties in the negotiation”, the SLPP Chairman said.
Chief Kapen noted that even though some people still believe that it was difficult to sustain peace in the SLPP, he was very much optimistic that, the current Peace Accord signed by all intending flagbearer aspirants will work.
Chief Kapen noted that, he does not want to go down in history as the Chairman under whose tenure of office the SLPP disintegrated. “I want to be remembered as the man (the Chairman and Leader) under whose leadership the SLPP was elected to office in 2018”, Chief Kapen said.
“I will be the happiest man if the SLPP wins the 2018 elections…At my age, I will die in the SLPP… I will never join another Party again”, Chief Kapen said.