Yei Manga: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 January 2018
Brigadier Bio has been elected since November 2017 to lead the SLPP to the March 2018 presidential and general elections. We have less than two and half months to that coveted date.
While the other two major parties – APC and NGC have now got their candidates in place, Mr Bio and the SLPP seem not to be in a hurry.
The opinion of most people is that either Mr Bio is indecisive or is holding the appointment of his number two man as a bargaining chip for the highest bidder; or that he lacks the ability to determine who can bring the most value to his campaign team.
If that is not the case, then Mr Bio and the SLPP are seriously sleeping, and this could cost them many independents or indecisive voters.
Say what you will, the running mate of any presidential candidate has his or her own constituency. He or she needs time and resources to campaign in their own backyard to pull in the voters.
No one candidate will say that he or she alone can contest and win the 55% needed, if he is not supported by someone of similar calibre or wider appeal.
So, it will be very risky for Mr Bio to deceive himself that he alone can take the SLPP to victory, without the input of a strong running mate.
The voters market in Sierra Leone is the same for all political parties. While the APC and the newly formed NGC have released their full gears with both presidential and running mates, and are now campaigning in all the corners of the country – especially in the strongholds of the flagbearers and their running mates, the SLPP is still holding meetings searching for a running mate.
This should not be a problem for an establish party like the SLPP that claims to have a national appeal and huge membership, especially so close to the elections.
Two months is not enough for any running mate to galvanize his or her powerbase to fully support the flagbearer, especially when some of the people he needs would have committed themselves to candidates of other parties that have their structures in place.
Secondly, the party will need time to pacify those who may be feeling aggrieved, if their preferred candidate is not given the running mate position. The SLPP should think strategically.
Indecisiveness on the appointment of a is what cost Solomon Berewa in 2007, and Bio in 2012; and its now looking like history is about to repeat itself for the SLPP in 2018.
This is serious indecisiveness. And it is the least expected from an ex-military man.