Mohamed Gibril Sesay: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 February 2023:
There are several imperatives, considerations, and trade-offs that must be taken into account by those seeking the APC presidential ticket if they are to succeed in winning the support of party members as well as those who lean towards APC across the country.
At the same time, the considerations and trade-offs should not dampen enthusiasm for the presidential ticket amongst key constituents within the party.
I have classed these trade-offs into three categories: the first category I call ‘extremely imperative criteria’. These criteria are ethnicity, region, and religion. The second category I call useful criteria. This category has to do with party history, experience and gender. And the third category is personal characteristics.
Let’s talk about the imperative criteria: ethnicity, region, and religion. The APC flagbearer and running mate should not be members of the same ethnicity. If the flagbearer is Themne, the running mate should not be of that ethnicity, that’s a non-starter and a no no no.
Another extremely imperative criterion is region. The flagbearer and running mate should not be members of the same region. If the flagbearer comes from the Northwest, as seem likely, the running mate should not be from that region. The running mate may therefore come from the Western Area, the Northern, Eastern or Southern Province.
Another extremely imperative criterion is religion. The flagbearer and running mate should not be of the same religion. Should the flagbearer be Christian; the running mate should not be Christian, as a Christian-Christian presidency in Salone would introduce the absence of religious balance into the electoral campaign, and in a way that sorely disadvantages the APC.
Now let’s talk about the useful criteria category: Significant years of party experience and contribution; then, gender. The first of these – party experience, deep knowledge and significant contributions – make it easier to galvanize the party’s informal networks, country- wide; key individuals and groups, and political trust. This gives lots of party stamina to the ticket and acknowledges work for the party in opposition and governance.
Another is gender. The ticket having a man and woman looks fine and may inspire some votes. But this – at this particular electoral cycle has to tie in with the imperative and other criteria and trade-offs mentioned above.
Also important is the personal profile of the person to be chosen as running mate. This includes integrity, political and governance experience, personal appeal and charisma, and chemistry with the flagbearer. However, as argued in relation to the other criteria, these must ride on the back of the extremely imperative criteria.
As the APC elects its standard bearer today, he (it is almost certain that the flagbearer is a ‘he’) in consultation with the party’s National Advisory Committee, would do the people of this country a great service by taking these imperatives and criteria into consideration in naming his running mate.