Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 January 2020:
Former president Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, who is also the leader and chairman of the opposition All People’s Congress party (APC), today delivered one of the best speeches one has perhaps heard him delivered by any standards, as he tried to rally his party faithful, after a High Court injunction won by several of the party membership, prevented the party from holding its three-day convention this weekend.
The purpose of the convention was to discuss and approve a new constitution for the party. But members of a pressure group within the party, known as the National Reformation Movement (NRM), said they are protesting against the leadership’s failure to ensure that delegates attending the convention had been duly elected by their regional, district and local constituencies; and the party’s failure in making sure that every member of the party had seen the draft constitution before the convention.
But this afternoon, after hours of delay, delegates gathered at the Bai Bureh Hall in Port Loko to hear a speech by their chairman and leader – former president Koroma at a press conference. Today’s speech could go down as the deciding factor in keeping the APC party together.
Listening to the speech, one could almost sense his desperate need to galvanise and inspire delegates to stay united as a party, which many believe is at serious risk of disintegrating.
And, from the deafening applause, cheers and chanting of the party’s anthem at various stages – drowning his speech, one can conclude that the former president continues to enjoy the support and confidence of the majority of his party. And it is almost certain he has managed to keep his party together.
This is what he said:
“I want to thank God for this very moment, and for what has happened to the APC. I thank you all – those comrades who are here today, and those not present. I thank you all very much for the commitment and resilience you have all shown to this APC party after the 2018 elections.
“We have shown the whole world that we are a party of peace; we have shown the whole world that we are a democratic party, and one that respects the rule of law. So, I want to tell you all plenty of thanks.
“I always tell my team that as former president, there are certain things I must do, and certain things I cannot do. As former president, it is peace that I want for this country. I know that the only way development can come to this country is when there is peace.
“So as former president, I know that we must all work together as Sierra Leoneans to develop this country. The party and I believe in this, and this is what we have been working towards.
“And the fact that we are here today, is because we believe in peace and development; and may God continue to strengthen our beliefs.
“I am not here to make a long speech because we are all aware of the circumstances that brought us here today. But I cannot come here today, without telling you all thanks and wish you all goodbye (….to which the delegates shouted continuously: “We will endorse you back; we will endorse you back”).
“I thank you all for the efforts you all made in coming here to this conference. I want to tell the constituency chairmen, district chairmen, regional chairmen and the national executives plenty of thanks for their great effort in getting the Party to where it is today.
“We have all worked hard in sustaining the party. We have all gone through difficult moments, challenging moments which had it been other political parties, it would have meant the end of the party.
“So I thank you all for your resilience. This has sent a powerful message, that, no one can destroy this APC party.
“I cannot limit my thank you solely to our national executive and all of us here today, but also to our Diasporans. I thank you our Diasporans. We thank them for taking the time off work to be here. And today they have told us that, should the party hold its convention twenty times, they will be here twenty times in Sierra Leone to attend. So I want to thank our Diasporans.
“We must also thank our legal team. Since the 2018 elections, they have worked very hard. Many have stopped working in their chambers just to focus on working for the party. They have worked on party matters relating to the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Criminal Investigations Department, and the Commission of Inquiry. So we must thank them very much for their commitment to the party.
“We must also thank the party’s national executives very much. It is not easy to be at the helm of affairs at this time.
“Many members of the party have come together – young and old, to show commitment to the party, and for which I want to say thank you. This has given me a lot of joy, hope and assurance that even as I leave the party…..(…To which the delegates continuously chanted in reply: “You must stay; You must stay”.)
“As an opposition party, we have two sets of people that are fighting for the party. The first is our members of parliament. There are many things we have seen and experienced as a party that have never happened to other members of parliament. But we thank God that our parliamentarians are peaceful and showing resilience. We thank them very much.
“We also thank our media groups. We have so many of them, in and out of the country. We thank you all for continuously advocating for the party.
“Moving forward, we are a law abiding party. Regarding the legal injunction, we have asked our legal team to work on the next steps and what to do about this injunction. But I want to implore all of us not to lose hope. No one can destroy this party. And this party can never be destroyed. This party will continue to function as a political party.
“We came here to introduce a new constitution because members want change – to which we agreed. Because as a party we want to ensure that every member can participate; and also to give the common man a say in the party.
“But if we are now having barriers, we still have the 1995 constitution to continue to regulate the party’s affairs.
“So in going forward, the party will continue its activities under the 1995 constitution (….this was received by delegates with loud jubilation and chanting of the party’s anthem – and shouting of “APC back to power; APC back to power”).
“In going forward, there are certain things we must do as a party, and we will do them in good time. We need to elect officers of the party; to be addressed in the future.
“We need to continue to unite the party, bring people in who are outside of the party. We will continue this process. Let us continue to unify and strengthen the party.
“We need to ensure that as a party we choose a flagbearer for the 2023 elections. But we need to have a conversation with each other. We must listen to each other. The flagbearer contest must not bring war to the party.
“In this regard, firstly as party officials holding positions in the party: We must not go out in support of any one aspirant for the flagbearership. We must remain neutral. We must not be seen to be supporting any one candidate against the others.
“I want to also address those aspiring for the flagbearership: Do not divide or cause fighting in the party. As aspirants, we must remember that it is God that gives power to whom he chooses. APC is one family. Once we have agreed on who will become the 2023 flagbearer, we will all support that person.
“So I hope we have listened to each other and advised ourselves about the way forward. We must move forward as one family. Let us use our strength and energy to work together.
“As a party, if we cannot work in peace, there will not be peace in the country. And where there is peace in the country, there will be development.
“As someone who has served this country for two consecutive terms, I do not want to see chaos in this country. Government is about continuity.
“The programmes that we put in place and left behind when we were in government, are the same programmes that are being delivered today. And when a new government takes over, they will also continue the current development.
“We are all Sierra Leoneans and we all have equal rights in this country. Let us create a level playing field for everyone.
“So you see, when I said goodbye to you all earlier, I was saying goodbye to this conference. (This was received with a massive applause from the delegates).
“We came here in peace, let us all go home in peace. Let us all take the message to our constituency, to our districts, to our regions that the APC is stronger now after this conference, than ever before; that the APC is still united today than even before.
“We must go and tell the people that the APC party is together and intact. Let no one believe that the party has disintegrated. We are strong, and we will remain strong by God’s grace. May God bless all of us.” (END)
Tonight the National Publicity Secretary (Acting) of the APC party has issued the following vote of thanks for today’s event in Port Loko:
MESSAGE OF SINCERE APPRECIATION
“The All Peoples Congress (APC) wishes to extend sincere appreciation and thanks to all Journalists and Media Practitioners who travelled from all over Sierra Leone to grace our Press Conference held at our Port Loko District Offices (Bai Bureh Hall) today January 11th 2020.
“We also wish to thank representatives from all the various Diplomatic Missions who patiently waited for several hours in order to be present at the event despite the late commencement of the Programme.
“We also wish to thank the Sierra Leone Police and the State Security agencies for the robust and very professional policing of Port Loko and environs for the past two days.
“Finally, on behalf of the National Chairman & Leader and entire Executive of the party, we extend our thanks to the APC Legal Team, the APC Media Team, the APC Task Force marshals and last but not least, all National Delegates of the APC party (including more than 100 APC Members from the Diaspora), for keeping the peace and dispersing quietly after we learnt of the High Court of Sierra Leone placing an injunction that forbade the holding of the slated National Delegates Conference.
“Your comportment, as representatives of the wider mass of the APC party, has permanently defined the APC as the Sierra Leone political party which most strongly believes in Peace, Democracy and Respect for the Rule of Law. Today, you made the APC proud and for that, the APC thanks you.
“Long live the APC! Long live Sierra Leone!”
Sidie Yahya Tunis
National Publicity Secretary (Acting)
Port Loko City,
Saturday January 11th 2020
You. Why are you still pointing the finger? On the economic front, the ‘new direction’ vessel is still spluttering around, not far away from the point of departure; as the Finance Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa, is still trying to figure out how to replot the original ‘new direction’ expedition. The ship has lost its way, and it is apparently sinking. Thieving everywhere! All crew – especially Senior ‘Officers’ are helping themselves to whatever they can lay their hands on. At least, pprobably in anticipation of a rainy day.
Thus, other things equal, (distance to the final destination constant, and the time period for any respective government does not change) Maada Bio’s ‘new direction’ vessel will surely fail to deliver the goods on time. In fact, it might not be able to deliver at all! As the foundation for economic growth has been jeopardized by a style of leadership that is seemingly inconspicuous to the taste of real and serious foreign investors.
And yet, you statistically think, it is alright, as long as you are ok; and it is not someone from Makeni called EBK causing the mess up. (to be cont’d)
Thank you very much your Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma our former President of Sierra Leone. May you live for long with a good health and more prosperity especially for us also the youths. You have already organized yourself and the family, your kids and children some of them are receiving a better education right now abroad; may God continue to protect them all. We love you.
I was present during the gathering, and you gave a very eloquent speech – thank you for that. Anyway some of your speeches were applauded by the delegates but on the other hand Mr.President you missed some good opportunities. (a) we were expecting you kindly to apologize to the nation of Sierra Leoneans, telling them you are sorry if you wronged any of them during your two terms services as president. But instead, most of your thanks go to the APC party supporters; (b) You have hurt the Diasporans no doubt; we were neglected – you saying “we have no right to run for office as long as we are Diasporans”.
I do like one of your statements. I don’t know if you were quoting from the Bible or Koran saying that “It is God that gives power to whom He chooses”. I agree with you on that also; (c) You and the APC knew and understood that you wrongfully removed Chief Sam Sumana deliberately from office as the country’s VP elected, but publicly we hear no apology from you towards that. Mr. former president, the next speech we would like you to apologize to the nation of Sierra Leone as a whole, and ask all of us to forgive you. You were not a bad man, but some people surrounding you at the time misled you. We love you forever. Thank you and may God bless Sierra Leone.
This is JUST the begining for the APC rank and file. The fire is coming to destroy them completely. The people of Sierra Leone will show the world that the APC will lose woefully and disgraceful come 2023 – 2028.
Well,if the APC is full of Criminals,certainly you will agree with me that the incompetent,erratic SLPP is the “Scum of the Earth”.(lol)
Now that simply means,they are the worst types of living, breathing, beings on our beautiful planet earth. Consider this – those who steal food that is meant for the poorest of the poor among us have lost the right to even begin to whisper about corruption in our beloved Sierra Leone.
And that overcrowded, suffocating, den of thieves, and miscreants,that you have the audacity to call a political party,will forever be sadly remembered as rudderless ship,that sailed, sank, and perished,for lack of genuine, competent, decisive, and visionary leadership.(lol)
Thieves in green,like never before seen,(lol) anxious to become kings,and queens, professing to be monks,yet behaving like unruly drunks, and rowdy punks,that feed greedily,and hugely like desert skunks.
Now that’s a truth that no one can debunk…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.
The likeness of APC as of now and forever is as a donkey that carry a huge burden of books on it back,without understanding nothing from it or the danger Zone they are on. Only worthless people or moderator will delete my piece as I attacked APC all the time.They are criminals and deserves to be eliminated in phase of politics.They are enemies to our dreams and aspirations.
Think positively Mr. Bangura if you want Sierra Leoneans to become friends to their dreams and aspirations. The APC party has become an Eagle in a Dream as far as I know. Do you agree with me Mr. Bangura?
Mr. Bangura somewhere there struggling to convince me that, the APC “are enemies to our dreams and aspirations”.
God bless you Mr. Bangura Alusine Salleh.
We are watching. Verily, all options remain open to re-elect President Julius Maada Bio in 2023 as we trust him to govern Sierra Leone.
The Republic of Sierra Leone will no longer bow down its helm of affairs to self-interest CRIMINALS. Those thugs and rough leaders who misguided or misled this nation into a crippling state, by the grace and mercy of God,they will remain divided and in choas for the rest of their lives.
No peace will come on their ways except distruction and shameful failures. May God never grant them peace and their deceiving wishes to save their inner interests.
All these great speeches have done is to drive a wedge between us by irresponsible politicians. I believe that it is time for the political changing of the guard from the older generation to the young.
What a powerful, fantastic and inspiring speech by the most charismatic, influential, peaceful, courageous, disciplined, law abiding, respectful, fine, descent and constitutionally approved LEADER and former President – by the name of Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma to the people of Sierra Leone and the world.
Frankly speaking, this powerful and inspiring speech to the people of Sierra Leone by former president Ernest Bai Koroma does not only unite the APC party but the country as a whole. Can you imagine that? What a leader! OH BOY. So, I ask everyone to “go tell it on the mountains, rivers, valleys, every household and every corner of Sierra Leone and the world” that the APC is coming back to power.
The skeptics have totally been proven wrong by this all powerful speech of all times. Second to none in my view. Have they started packing their suitcases? I will definitely visit this article for further comments. God bless former President Ernest Koroma and our country. God help “get SALONE sorted”. Amen and Amen.
It is indeed a speech that is long enough, but to me there is nothing special about it. It was made by the former Pres. of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. So what next? Are they going to make the Draft Constitution for the Members public? What is the present stand on the issue arroubd the “5-Years Clause”? Did Chief Sam Sumana apply for re-admission to the Party or did he for a restoration of his former Status in the Party? We await the answers to these questions. Thank you very much.