By Sorie Fofana…………………….
During one of his social mobilization tours in the Southern Region, the SLPP 2012 Presidential candidate, Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio said that, if he was reelected as the party’s standard bearer, he would in turn reappoint Dr. Kadi Sesay as his Running Mate.
Many people have condemned Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio for naming his Running Mate even before the flagbearer elections were held.
Some of them have argued, quite succinctly that, the Retired Army Brigadier should have left the door open for any possible negotiation in the aftermath of the flagbearer election.
Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio must have learnt a lesson from the messy way in which Solomon Berewa handled the SLPP Running Mate issue in the 2007 elections. Solomon Berewa’s indecisiveness on the Running Mate issue almost torn the party apart.
Pa Berewa had known that, he would not have chosen any Running Mate without his mentor’s say-so. President Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was directly involved in the process leading to Pa Berewa’s appointment of his Running Mate.
It was such an important issue to President Kabbah that, he had to abandon an international conference only to return home and ensure that, his blue-eye boy, Momodu Koroma was speedily crowned Running Mate.
After his election as SLPP flagbearer in 2011, Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio appointed Dr. Kadi Sesay as his Running Mate in the 2012 elections.
Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio has nothing to fear from an unambitious Running Mate. He knows that, Dr. Kadi Sesay is a very loyal person to him. Afterall, in politics, loyalty is what matters!
People like Alpha Timbo and John Benjamin have not hidden their opposition to Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio’s attempt to run for the party’s flagbearership for the third time in a row. Unfortunately, the SLPP Constitution does not explicitly stop any defeated Presidential candidate from running for the post of flagbearer after the general elections.
In the case of Solomon Berewa, he himself admitted in Kenema in 2009 that, he was too old to run for public office again. He even made reference to his deteriorating health condition, which he said would not allow him to run for an elective public office again. He didn’t make any reference to any provision in the SLPP Constitution that stops him from running for the post of flagbearer again.
Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio would have turned 52 or 53 by the time the next flagbearer election in the SLPP is held. As a retired war front Commander in the Army, he is still fit as a fiddle to engage in the rigorous Presidential election campaign exercise across the country. He never shows sign of slowing down.
All said and done, it will be difficult for Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio to get the support of other SLPP flagbearer contenders from the Northern Region, if he is reelected flagbearer in 2016/17. He should have used the post of Running Mate as a bargaining chip in the aftermath of what is expected to be a bitterly contested flagbearer election.
It is absolutely clear, to all and sundry that, Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio remains the party’s favourite to continue to serve as its flagbearer in the forthcoming elections.
But, like Margarette Thatcher once said, “A week is a long time in politics”. Tony Blair would have said, “There is a bright night ahead”.
May common sense win!