Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 October 2017
For the first time in the history of Sierra Leone, since the country gained independence in 1961, politicians from across the political divide have come together to form a broad church of liberal philosophies and values, which they say is a break-away from the traditional APC Red and SLPP Green politics.
They have formed a new political party, known as the National Grand Coalition (NGC), based on the values of progressive liberal democratic freedoms, which its founders say will energise and drive entrepreneurship, a vibrant and diversified free market economy, innovation, wealth creation, prosperity, and social and economic inclusiveness.
Today, the NGC received its full certificate of registration from the country’s Political Parties Registration Commission to operate as a political party, and to organise, mobilise and prepare for campaigning for the 2018 general and presidential elections.
Those elections are due in less than five months – on the 7th of March 2018, a timeline that is going to focus the minds of the founders and members of the NGC.
But the executives of the party are confident that they can break the stranglehold that the two established parties – APC and the SLPP have on the politics of Sierra Leone, as the country’s economy teeters to the edge of bankruptcy, and poverty worsens.
Since the end of the Ebola epidemic and the decline in global prices of iron ore which is the country’s main export earner, the APC government appears to have ran out of ideas as to how best to generate revenue.
Foreign donors have cut back on their support as election approaches. Youth unemployment continues to rise, with over 70% of adults in the country out of work.
Critics of the APC government say that after ten years in power, they have woefully failed to diversify the economy from an over-reliance on mining revenue, so as to broaden its taxation base. They are now calling for a change of government.
The opposition SLPP appears to have shot itself in the foot with the election last weekend of the retired former military junta leader – Julius Maada Bio as its presidential candidate for next year’s elections.
According to political analysts, the SLPP’s chances of winning the general elections in 2018 are now far less likely, given its lack of broad national appeal, which the founders of the new National Grand Coalition claim to have.
Members of the NGC are hoping that with the former UN executive assistant to Ban Ki Moon – Dr. Kandeh Yumkella (Photo) as their presidential candidate, the NGC is the only party that has the leadership to bring much needed economic prosperity to Sierra Leone.
Heading the NGC as its Chairman is Dr. Dennis Bright – a highly experienced organiser and politician, who spoke at a press conference in Freetown today about the NGC vision, and the party’s hope of a better Sierra Leone.
Politics in Sierra Leone will never be the same again with today’s granting of full registration certificate to the new National Grand Coalition party, a broad church of progressive liberal democratic politicians, whose vision is to change Sierra Leone from its current status of ‘donor-driven and debt-ridden nation’ to an economically productive and prosperous country – with Dr. Kandeh Yumkella as president.