Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 August 2018:
After losing the March 2018 presidential election in a spectacular manner, Sierra Leone’s main opposition APC is yet to recover from the shock. The party is now being described as comatosed and beset by paralysis.
Most of the party’s faithful believe that the party must quickly wake up and begin the long and arduous journey of reviewing the causes of its defeat, and plan for its operational and strategic change, if it is to continue as a viable political party.
General and presidential elections are not due until early 2023.
But the APC party must firstly, acknowledge, treat and cure the internal disease that has infected the party since winning the 2007 elections – dictatorship and over-centralisation and concentration of power into the hands of one person – its chairman and leader, Ernest Bai Koroma.
Many young people in the party, just cannot wait to see the backs of their so called party grandees that have let them down so badly.
Just weeks after losing the March 2018 elections, president Koroma announced the formation of a committee that will be responsible for conducting a review of the party’s performance at the elections, and report on how best to restructure and reform the party.
Three months on, there are accusations by party members and supporters that the committee has failed to achieve its brief, as former president Koroma continues to maintain a tight grip on the party.
A group of members of the party, known as the National Reformation Movement – APC (NRM – APC), yesterday published a statement, criticising the committee established by president Koroma to conduct the internal review. This is what NRM – APC says:
We have long admired most of the membership of the Committee of Nine. We have long admired their willingness to make sacrifices to accommodate the extra time needed for the Committee’s work.
We have even admired their patience in seeking explanations for the party’s political crisis at the 2018 elections from both predictable and unpredictable sources.
Its formation, we must say, fits with the growing idea that the party’s internal politics needs to be reformed to reflect present-day political realities that are firmly rooted in a competitive democracy like ours.
This makes most of us to keep alive the idea that the party’s internal politics are at the very least going to have a democratic feel; keep alive the feeling that at long last the politically backward tendencies that led us to opposition will be extinguished in order to prevent anyone from submerging the party further in the dumps.
Certainly, there is no need to exaggerate the political significance of improving communication with the support base; looking afresh into the leadership’s relationship with our people.
In this contemporary age, the need for fair dealing with the membership, the youth and grassroots has been embedded in the consciousness of the people — including the humblest of constituency party association.
It is against this backdrop and in light of the Committee of Nine’s inscrutable silence, even after the expiration of its six weeks’ timeline, that we at NRM cannot rest easy, especially when the Committee’s six weeks’ timeline continues to drag on, unnecessarily, to eternity.
We have been completely shocked with disbelief about the decision of a Committee entrusted with public power to keep the party’s membership and support base completely in the dark, for this long, regarding a work it was mandated to perform on behalf of the mass of the membership of the APC.
What have the grassroots, the youth and the entire membership done to deserve this?
Why is it that finding out why the party failed to sustain political power and making those findings available to the membership have become a needle-in-a-haystack problem?
Why has the Committee’s task suddenly become as difficult as the miners’ task of clearing the ever-increasing pile of wet sand in Peter Abraham’s Mine Boy?
The idea of showing contempt for the people’s right to know what is going on with the Committee of Nine is too significant to be careless about or ignored.
In the interest of the ordinary supporters and all those who do not have powerful connections in the APC to get them in the know of what is happening with Committee of Nine, we want to remind the Committee of Nine that its six weeks timeline has long expired; and demand an explanation regarding the task they were mandated to perform on behalf of every member of the APC.
We have already got enough of unprofitable silence from the party’s leadership on critical issues for the Committee of Nine to add its own to it. The Committee’s prolonged silence will only make the problem more acute, the newfound silence more annoying, the wait more agonizing and the committee’s delay more pointless.
As things stand, the annoying silence has no hold on the affections of the agonized majority of the party; it holds no promise for a formidable party in opposition; and it’s utterly disrespectful, we dare say, to the entire membership of the APC.
As a matter of emphasis, let us remind the Committee of Nine that the party’s leadership grave-like silence on critical issues is already so much of an irritant to the distressed membership of the party for the Committee of Nine to add its own to the heap of costly silence.
It’s time to give a break to Charles Dickens’ famous quote in Oliver Twist: “Please, sir, I want some more.” We don’t need any more silence on issues that matter.
We also want the Committee of Nine to bear in mind that it is mandated to speak the truth regarding the actions and inactions of key players in the party that made the party’s defeat in 2018 elections inevitable as death; and make available to the membership the recommendations proffered by those it engaged.
We therefore regard the Committee’s failure to get the membership informed on so important an issue a contemptuous denial of fair dealing to all those who want to see the APC well positioned to deliver better results on the concerns of its supporters — an injustice we at NRM — a voice that comes to speak for the voiceless in the party — are not prepared to stomach any longer.
In conclusion, NRM-APC calls on the Committee of Nine to treat the general membership of the APC in a more respectful way. Perpetuating the belief that the Committee of Nine has no business informing the general membership of the party about its activities, after its mandate has clearly come to an end, is massively dangerous.
We deserve better than being unnecessarily excluded from the knowledge of where the Committee stands after the expiration of its six weeks’ timeline. NRM remains committed to its reformation agenda.
MOHAMED SHERIDAN KAMARA ESQ., INTERIM LEADER, +23288059488; OSMAN BIKAL KAMARA, SECRETARY GENERAL, +23278712179; ALFRED MINKAILU PA YAMBA KOROMA, PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER, +23230004179; AHMED TIMBO KOROMA, NATIONAL COORDINATOR; UNISA TARAWALI, DEPUTY NATIONAL COORDINATOR; ALUSINE BAIHINGA KARGBO, WESTERN REGION COORDINATOR; THEO JAY KAY, DIRECTOR OF FINANCE; AMIDU AYOUB KANU, DIASPORA COORDINATOR, +447939379509; FATMATA SHERIFF, HEAD OF GRASSROOTS; SORIE S. TARAWALLY ESQ., APC LEGAL ADVISER IN THE US AND THE DIASPORA; Dr. AMINATA BANGURA, DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS; RUGIATU COLE, ORGANIZING SECRETARY; IBRAHIM BOKA KAMARA, BIKE RIDERS’ REPRESENTATIVE; FODAY MATORMA, HEAD OF CULTURE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS; ISHMAEL FAR SESAY (SAVIOR); IBRAHIM H. KAMARA, STUDENTS’ COORDINATOR; MORIBA ANSUMANA, EASTERN REGION COORDINATOR; MOHAMED SALLIEU KHAN, NORTHER REGION COORDINATOR; MOHAMED ALPHA SAMAI, SOUTHERN REGION COORDINATOR.