Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 January 2020:
Following yesterday’s euphoric celebration at the opposition APC head office in Freetown, welcoming the former vice president Sam Sumana back to the party, today there are reports that Sam Sumana was not after all accepted into the membership of the party by its governing body – the National Advisory Council (NAC).
Yesterday’s report from the APC party office, showed Sam Sumana speaking after his meeting with the party’s NAC, where he thanked the party for re-admitting him back into the party’s membership. But it seems today, there is complete denial of his re-admission yesterday.
A senior APC party grandee this morning said to the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph:
“The story of NAC accepting Sam back to the APC is completely untrue. Nothing like that happened yesterday. Oh my God! I just watched the video on your website. I wonder why Sam did this? Yes, he was at the party office to hand over his resignation letter to us at the NAC meeting held yesterday to discuss issues around the Convention.
“It is just a coincidence that he went there when we had a NAC meeting. What NAC has now instructed Secretary General Yansaneh to do is to write to Sam and ask him what does he envisage his next step to be? To say he has been welcomed back in to the APC without any application or procedure followed, is patently untrue. Nobody is against him coming back. We want him back. But the process of him coming back has to be legitimate.”
What is being suggested is that because Sam Sumana was expelled from the party in 2015, he cannot simply reappear at the party’s office with an entourage and present himself as a re-joining member.
The APC party grandee, speaking to the Sierra Leone Telegraph said that the APC Constitution must be followed, before Sam Sumana can be accepted as a registered member of the APC party, by sending his application for membership to the Secretary General of the party – Alhaji Dr. Osman Yansaneh, which will then be discussed by the party’s National Advisory Council; and if successful, Chief Sam Sumana will then be accepted into the membership of the party.
But a close confidante of Chief Sam Sumana also told the Sierra Leone Telegraph this morning that Sam does not have to reapply to become a member of the APC of which he was a Grand Chief Patron. This was his argument:
“The ruling of the ECOWAS Court on the dismissal of Sam Sumana as vice president of Sierra Leone and his expulsion from the APC party is clear; the APC party did not follow due process, nor did it follow its own rules for expelling members from the party; therefore, the decision to expel Sam from the party was null and void. So, Sam has the right to re-join the party at any time without the need to re-register as a new member; and that is what he did yesterday at the party office where he was welcomed by the NAC.”
There has so far been no official response from Chief Sam Sumana himself about this new controversy, nor has the APC party Secretary General made any statement about the status of Sam Sumana’s membership as of yesterday.
In another related development, the APC party is preparing to hold its national convention in Port Loko this weekend, starting on Friday. The main agenda item this weekend is the passing of a motion to approve the newly revised Constitution of the party, after discussions by the national delegates of the party. Over 600 delegates are expected at the convention.
But the legitimacy of this weekend’s convention is being called into question by some members of the party, who believe that the party membership are being undemocratically railroaded into maintaining the status quo, despite calls for root and branch restructuring and change to the way the party is governed and functions.
The National Reformation Movement (NRM- APC) – a pressure group within the APC, that is leading the call for change, says it will be holding an emergency press conference this afternoon, Wednesday 8th January, 2020, at the offices of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists to discuss its position.
This is what the NRM-APC said:
“The National Reformation Movement wish to inform those who are committed to the idea of a democratic regime in the APC that the movement will come up with an emergency press conference to inform our membership about the current unfolding episode in the APC and the steps we have taken thus far to correct the odds. The Press Conference also intends to energize our membership and give vision to the democratic future we want in our party, the APC.
“The NRM will not sit with folded arms and watch this relentless march toward dictatorship drags on interminably. We know by our party’s standard, it is a brave endeavour to challenge these excesses. But, like we have always maintained, enough is enough.
“As we continue to devote our energy to the democratization of our party’s internal politics, the movement’s structures across the globe are hereby requested to attend the Press Conference as scheduled.”
Also today, the APC Diaspora Coordinator – Mr. Logus Koroma (Photo) is “calling on all members of the APC Diaspora Region currently in Freetown to a very important meeting schedule for today, Wednesday January 8 2020, at the APC Diaspora Regional Office in Freetown.”
The meeting he said “will discuss – the future of the Diaspora as a 6th Region of the APC party; delegate Status in relation to the forthcoming APC National Convention in Port Loko; APC Diaspora Region Financial Contributions towards the Convention; and Delegates and Observer Passes, and Diaspora Representation at the said Convention.”
Few days ago, the APC party Secretary General – Osman Yansaneh spoke to The Associates Global Media Network about this weekend’s convention and rumours of violence and disruption by some members of the party.
Take a listen: