Saturday September 10, 2005
The acrimony in the ruling SLPP remained yesterday, almost a week after the party’s controversial National Delegates Convention in Makeni where Vice-President Solomon Berewa was voted party leader and presidential candidate for the 2007 Elections.
A day after the Makeni drama, Berewa extended the olive branch to leading rival, Charles Margai, but his gesture has not been reciprocated so far , according to well-informed sources within the SLPP last evening.
In his letter to Margai , Berewa sermonized :”The transparent and fair manner in which the election for the many offices in the party were held is a matter that should speak loud of the democratic credentials of our party and should be one of which every member of the party should be justly proud “. According to some SLPP members who were contacted by COCORIOKO yesterday, this aspect of Berewa’s letter did not go down well with the Margai or other belligerent camps because, according to them, it tended to gloss over the serious problems that were manifest in the votes last Sunday .
Some SLPP members stated that Vice-President Berewa should have acknowledged the problems with the voting that left his rivals fuming and claiming unfairness, as a first step towars reconciliation. “Berewa cannot take back what happened but he could create some emotional connection with the others if he admitted that there were problems , like for instance, the strange behavior of those delegates who allegedly fooled John Leigh that they would nominate him when they did not “, one member said.
Some party members however agreed with Berewa when he said in the letter : “Now that the conference is over and the election has been held, I believe its my responsibility as the newly elected presidential nominee of the party to ask every party member including the candidates who contested for the many offices to join forces now to develop the party and ensure it maintains its pristine position as the only national party in the country devoted to ensure the sustenance of peace and security and to ensuring the social and economic development of this country, and also as the only party that is devoid of tribalism and other parochial tendencies.”
They agreed that it was time to heal the breach in the ruling party and that losing candiates must join the winner Berewa to help develop the party ahead of the 2007 Elections. What some of them however wondered was whether it will help the party’s chances in the 2007 Elections to have Charles Margai as Berewa’s running mate.
Though Margai is regarded as competent by them, SLPP supporters who spoke with COCORIOKO believed that Margai being Berewa’s running mate will not give the SLPP the regional balance the party needs to win votes in the Western Area and the Northern Province.
Berewa’s appeal to Margai has gone largely unheeded as the latter was said to be one of the disaffected members of the SLPP planning to launch another political party. The idea of the formation of a new party was divulged to the public today by the Hinga Norman Campaign Head, Rev. Samforay in another release today, in which he said in part : “To be sure, we are going back to court and the formation of a third political party is on the table”.