Former Finance minister John O. Benjamin and wife of the former President Mrs. Isatu Kabbah have been elected as party chairman and National women’s leader of the Sierra Leone People’s party.
The election which took place at the party’s 2009 convention at the Holy Trinity Parish Hall along Blama road in Kenema, also saw the re-election of Jacob Jusu Saffa as Secretary General.
Three hundred and sixty four delegates voted for thirty one positions in the SLPP. The Publicity Secretary post went to Ibrahim El-Tayyib Bah after going unopposed. Haja Jalikatu Salaam also went unopposed for the post of Internal auditor. Sheikh Fomba Swaray of Voice of Islam fame was voted as Imam after beating Sheikh Alhaji S.I. Koroma by 163 votes against 134.
The party also elected eight trustees two each from the regions. Dr. Momodu Yillah and Tejan Sheku Sankoh are to represent the South whilst Sahr Nyuma and Moiwo Makia went unopposed to represent the East. Former education minister, Dr. Alpha T. Wurie and Rtd. Major General M.S.Tarawallie also went unopposed to represent the North. Ambassador Joe Blell and Alhaji Mohamed Swaray Deen were elected to represent the Western Area.
Three lawyers also went unopposed to serve as legal advisers for the party, Eke Halloway, Alex M. Musa and the just returned former PMDC Secretary General, Ansu B. Lansana. Dr. Bubuakei Jabbie and Sulaiman Tejan Jalloh declined their nominations as legal advisers. Seven were also nominated for the post of Young Gerneration leader with two as Secretary General. Malaam Janneh won the young Generation position by beating Mohamed A. Sheriff by one vote. Alimamy won the Secretary General position.
One of the most contentious positions the national women’s leader which was believed to be a tussle between the so-called Berewa and Kabbah factions was momentous even at nomination time. Wife of the former president Mrs. Isatu Kabbah contested against Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, linked to the Berewa camp. It was Mrs. Kabbah who won after defeating her opponent 231 as against 120. The most spectacular event was when Hon. Bernadette Lahai embraced Mrs. Kabbah.
The former Bank Governor Dr. J.D. Rogers went unopposed and was nominated for the post of Financial Secretary, so also was the former Deputy Minister of Finance Joe Kallon for the post of treasurer. Former Labour Minister Alpha Timbo also went unopposed for the post of Deputy National Secretary General whilst fire brand Jacob Jusu Saffa was re-elected unopposed as Secretary General.
The Assistant National women’s leader was won by Hanafu Turay and the national Organizing Secretary was won by Alex Alie Kargbo, former resident minister North.
The step to the Chairman’s election was that of the election for the Regional chairman. The South, East, West and North was won by Sidique Janneh, Ambassador Foyah, Fadika and Dr. Bobson Sesay respectively. Tension mounted in the hall when it came to the election of the chairman of the party and deputy. Four people were nominated for the post of deputy national chairman. Total votes cast 342 and void votes 7. They are M.A. Jalloh polled 72 votes , Dr. Kadie Sesay polled 217 votes, Dr. Anthony Kakpindi Soyei polled 26 votes and Hon. Elizabeth Alpha Lavalie polled 20 votes.
Six were similarly nominated for the post of chairman and they were John O. Benjamin polled 231 votes , Ambassador Dr. Sheku Bah Saccoh polled 13 votes, Mohamed Abu Sandi polled 59 votes, Dr. Abass Bundu polled 32 votes, Hon. Tamba Momoh Borbor Sawyer polled zero vote and Mohamed Kontor Kamara. Hon. Borbor Sawyer later declined. John O. Benjamin was elected national chairman to be assisted by Dr Kadie Sesay as Deputy National Chairman.
Other results are as follows:-The Deputy vice chairman North total valid vote cast 350 void votes is 7. Two candidates contested for the post, Dr. Alusine Sabanah polled 110 votes and Dr. Ahmed Bobson Sesay polled 238. Dr. Sesay was declared the new Deputy vice chairman for the Northern Region.
Deputy Vice Chairman for the Southern Province total votes cast 348 and 14 void votes. Three candidates contested for the position. Mr. Brima Conteh 20 votes, Mr. Anthony Biriwa 129 Mr. Sidique Janneh polled 185 votes, and was declared the deputy vice chairman Southern region.
Deputy Vice Chairman Western Area Total votes cast 351, void votes 11. Three candidates contested for the post. Mr. Manso L. Dumbuya 33 votes, Alhaji Ibrahim Cole polled 78 votes and Mr. Lansana Fadika polled 229. He was declared the winner.
Total votes cast 364 void votes 20 and three candidates contested for the post. Hon. Philip Tondoneh polled 106 votes, Mrs. Navo Kaikai polled 98 votes and Ambassador Patrick Foyah polled 140 votes and was declared the vice chairman man for the Eastern region.