By Sorie Fofana…………………………….
Following serious wrangling within the SLPP over leadership of the Party, a group of flag bearer aspirants in the Party decided to form AAA (All Aspirants Alliance). The big hitters in the Alliance were (are) John Benjamin, Andrew Keili, Umaru Bond Wurie, Kandeh Yumkella and Alpha Timbo.
Ambassador Umaru Bond Wurie and Mr. John Benjamin have left the Alliance to pursue their individual flag bearer aspirations.
It is understood that, between the two North/Western Region candidates, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella has emerged as the Alliance’s favorite. His only challenger, Mr. Alpha Timbo has been elbowed out of the race to become the Alliance’s main North/Western Region flag bearer aspirant.
In the South/Eastern leadership race, Ing. Andrew Keili has emerged as the favorite, beating his only challenger in the race, Ing. Munda Rogers.
The main aim of the Alliance is to put up a single candidate to contest against the Party’s 2012 Presidential candidate, Brig. (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio for the flag bearership of the Party in April 2017.
The only flag bearer aspirant that never joined the Alliance is the liberal firebrand Politician, Alie Kabba. He is still firmly in the race to become the Party’s standard bearer in the 2018 elections.
The question many people are asking is: does this mean the end of the flagbearer ambition of both Mr. Alpha Timbo and Ing. Munda Rogers?
Following the outcome of the Alliance leadership election in the four regions of the country, will Ing. Andrew Keili step aside and allow Dr. Kandeh Yumkella to go head to head with Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio in the SLPP flag bearer race in April 2017?
Will the Party’s former charismatic Chairman and Leader, John Benjamin still contest the post of flag bearer in the SLPP in April 2017 or openly endorse the candidature of his younger brother, Brig. (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio?
Will Ambassador Umaru Bond Wurie remain in the SLPP flag bearer race or throw his weight behind Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio for a possible running mate consideration in 2018?
Will the party strike a deal between Dr. Kandeh Yumkella and Brig. (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio for a joint ticket in the March 2018 elections?
Politics is a game of horse trading. Whoever emerges as the Party’s standard bearer in April 2017, they will have to work with all the other flag bearer aspirants in the Party.
Two days after Mr. John Benjamin dramatically resigned from the Alliance, he was seen receiving Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio at his private residence in Freetown. A month ago, such a meeting was unthinkable!
A lot has been read into that meeting. Many people believe that, the two party heavy weights have agreed to work together in the interest of the SLPP ahead of the March 2018 elections.
The question that is on the lips of many SLPP members and supporters up and down this country is: Is there any need for the Alliance to continue to exist after a Joint Peace Communique was signed on 8th February, 2017 by all SLPP flag bearer aspirants and stakeholders?
Will the remaining members of the All Aspirants Alliance in the SLPP continue to stick together until a consensus candidate from within their group emerges? Does this mean the end of the colorful flag bearer aspirations of both Mr. Alpha Timbo and Ing. Munda Rogers? Are they no longer flag bearer aspirants in the SLPP?
We believe that, it is better for the Alliance to be dissolved now and for all flag bearer aspirants to pursue their individual aspirations through the ballot box in April 2017.
May common sense prevail!