Freetown Mayor Aki-Sawyerr endorses Samura Kamara as APC bounces back to take over State House

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 February 2023:

“I formally declare my aspirations to be the flag bearer and presidential candidate of the APC for the 24 June 2023 elections. I thank my wonderful comrades of the APC and the majority of the country for their support and unwavering trust in me. God bless you all………………..We are on the eve of the National Delegates Conference. So, it is imperative that we put personal ego aside and walk the APC to State House on June 24, 2023……………..the future of Sierra Leone depends on what we do in the present and the near term. We are at a critical crossroads. We must make a choice for growth, for prosperity, for democratic freedoms and for national cohesion. We must make a choice for competence, commitment, and compassionate leadership.

“We must make a choice for a leader that understands the challenges our nation is facing today and has the experience and proven track record to lead the design and delivery of solutions to those problems; solutions that are framed with a long-term view for future generations and not through firefighting lenses focused predominantly on the electoral cycle.”

That was Dr Samura Kamara last Sunday, 12th February 2023 in Makeni, where he formally put his name forward to the general membership of Sierra Leone’s main opposition APC party, to become their presidential candidate at the forthcoming elections in June.

Presidential hopeful Kamara (Photo – left, with Chernor Maju Bah on his right) says that its time for change in Sierra Leone, and it’s time for the opposition APC to return to power to fix a broken economy and fragmented society caused by the government of President Bio and his ruling SLPP.

The last time Dr Samura Kamara ran for the presidency against Julius Maada Bio was in 2018 – a closely fought race that saw Kamara losing by a narrow three-percentage points.

But five years on, the economy is in a mess; abject poverty has risen; unemployment has risen; cost of living – inflation, has become hyper, as families go hungry; foreign investors have stopped coming to Sierra Leone; corruption in high places is worse now than ever before; abuse of human rights and extra-judicial killings by ruling party agents with impunity, are alarming. Sierra Leoneans are calling for a change of government.

Is there appetite among Sierra Leoneans for a Samura Kamara presidency this time around?

Millions of Sierra Leoneans across the country think so; and so too does Freetown Mayor Aki-Sawyerr, as she endorsed Dr Samura Kamara for APC 2023 Presidential Flagbearer at his declaration ceremony in Makeni last Sunday 12th February, 2023. (Photo below).

In 2018, there were at least 24 presidential aspirants of the APC including Dr Samura, vying for the party’s flagbearership. But this time, it seems Dr Samura has won the endorsement of all APC members of parliament as well as the majority of those previously aspiring to lead the party into elections.

So what did Dr Samura say to the members of the party in Makeni, as he declared his intention to take the party into the June 2023 polls? This is what he said:

“Your Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, Former Chairman & Leader of the APC Party, Members of the Diplomatic & Consular Corps here present, Comrades of the Association of Former Ministers (FORMINA) Chairman of the Political Parties Regulation Commission (PPRC) Their Worships the Mayors of Makeni & Freetown Honourable Paramount Chiefs and other Traditional Leaders Members of the Fourth Estate Distinguished Guests Comrades All, I want to thank you all for taking time out to travel from your various locations far and near to honour me with your presence at this special occasion.

“To get here, you have had to sacrifice and brave and bear another wicked and inconsiderate hike in the pump price of an essential commodity in the daily life of every Sierra Leonean – fuel, as well as enduring the high-cost impact of a historic collapse in the value of our national currency.

“So, I can never thank you DR. SAMURA MATHEW WILSON KAMARA Office of the APC Flagbearer Aspirant 2023 enough for your sacrifice and trust you have in me and the noble goal we are strongly determined to pursue and reach together and for which we are gathered here today. We are in this together hence I welcome each and every one of you with sincerity and profound gratitude.

“We are all aware of the interesting developments that have taken place since we last met here in Makeni to review and adopt a new constitution for our party. Since that time, our beloved Party has gone through so many vicissitudes, trials, and tribulations enough to break the will and determination of any ordinary political party operating in the kind of environment we are operating in today.

“Thankfully, the APC Party is no ordinary party grounded as it is in the will, commitment and determination of its unflappable and indomitable grassroots base. It is thanks to this robustness and resilience of the APC that we have been able to conduct Lower-Level Elections with success and, prior to that, the public declarations of a number of my distinguished comrades intending to run as 2023 Flagbearers of the Party.

“I want to commend them for their spirit of democracy and fair play which will further strengthen our Party. I am here today to follow in their footsteps. You will recall that in 2018, I had the singular honour and privilege to be selected as our Party’s Flagbearer and Presidential Candidate.

“We lost 2018 for reasons many of you may know. But one thing I never lost and have not lost since then. It is my Will and Determination to keep on fighting and keep the flames of the APC burning in almost every community, nook and cranny of our country such that where in 2018 the refrain was “you sabi am?” today it is “ yes, we sabi am en na ihn we want..!”

“My determination and your support have paid off and I am here today to formally declare that once more, I am aspirant for the 2023 APC Flagbearer and Presidential Candidate. Many of you have no doubt had the opportunity to listen to the declarations of other Aspirants and the motivation and reasons for vying for the flagbearer ship of the Party.

“Today, I owe you a sacred obligation to state clearly why I am again running for that same position. In 2018, I ran to continue the unrivalled and incontestable legacy of former President Ernest Bai Koroma who is honouring us here today with his distinguished presence. That legacy took the country to a whole new level of national socio-economic development.

“I lost that opportunity but as I pointed out earlier, my will and determination to still move in that direction has never been lost and hence I stand here before you to declare once more as aspirant for the 2023 APC flagbearer ship. The motivation and reason for accepting to run as flagbearer and presidential candidate in 2018 remains the same – to celebrate and further the legacy of the APC under former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.

“But the fact of losing the 2018 Election has created and added a whole new and additional dimension in that the Bio-led Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) Government is leaving behind most of our institutions and infrastructure in a terrible state of decay and shame; there is increasing insecurity and the quality of life of the vast majority of our people has considerably deteriorated; our collective image and national esteem has plummeted whilst the economy has sunk rapidly into vicious depth due to incompetence and mismanagement.

“At the same time, endemic corruption has kept serious investors at bay as the continuing tragi-comic national survival questions the ability of current SLPP politicians to find solutions to the huge problems Sierra Leone faces today.

“Our political and economic scenes are bankrupt and visibly mired in what looks increasingly like terminal impotence. History will judge the Maada Bio-led SLPP Government’s mantra of “NEW DIRECTION” and legacy for the way they have run the country in almost, the last five years given that in 2018, they inherited a vibrant democracy with abundant resources.

“The depth of the anguish is etched on the faces of the beleaguered masses who are pessimistic about the future, angry about the present and desperate for the All Peoples Congress (APC) Party to champion their cause. That is the cry of the suffering masses that has inspired and motivated me to publicly declare today as the Party’s 2023 flagbearer aspirant and presidential candidate.

“So, for the next five years as president of an APC-led Government, my priority is to take and build back Our Country, unite our people and move speedily to alleviate the suffering of our people, salvage the economy which has collapsed under the Bio-led SLPP Government, and put the country on the path to national sustainable development trajectory.

“Please permit me to reaffirm my candidature by quoting our former Chairman and Leader and President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, H E Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, when in his Ten-year report in 2018 stated as follows, and I quote: “Dr Samura Kamara has been a key lieutenant to me in ensuring these achievements. He was my key lieutenant in the design and implementation of the Agenda for Change, and the design of the Agenda for Prosperity, following which I moved him to the Foreign Ministry to spearhead the transformation of our diplomatic service and serve as my key lieutenant in projecting the achievements of the country around the world, strengthen our multilateral and bilateral relationships and ensure more resource flows into the country to enhance investments, job creation, and service delivery. This is why the APC believes he is the best person to secure the achievements we have made during these ten years of Action, Progress and Commitment, build upon them, overcome the remaining challenges and move forward into newer areas and sectors of development necessary to achieve our vision of a middle income country by 2035.”

“The gap between the Sierra Leone we want and the Sierra Leone at present poses a number of critical areas of concern and hence require re-engineered attention. SOME CRITICAL AREAS OF CONCERN are as follows:


“The fundamental requirement for sustainable development is Good Governance. Together with accountability and probity at all levels of economic activity, it has the potential to hasten the process of economic development by forcing government institutions, the private sector and civil society organizations to be accountable to their stakeholders and the rest of the citizenry.

“There is a need to bring about a fair, just, secure, and orderly management of public affairs in a society that upholds the rule of law; a society that ensures that institutions work in accordance with their mandates.

“We will effectively support public institutions to be better able to institutionalize democracy and the rule of law; and shall build a Public Service that is truly fit for purpose. Our governance system is characterized by divisiveness, exclusion, the weakening of, and politicization of state institutions.

“Politics is often split along tribal and regional lines and, with sections of the country or individuals with merit are often excluded from deriving benefits that they deserve thus ignoring the principle of meritocracy altogether. There is also the tendency for those in power to skew national development towards their own areas. In building a united and cohesive nation our unity should be our strength.

“The parallel existence of informal patronage networks alongside formal bureaucratic institutions and the absence of a meritocratic bureaucracy with a sense of role and mission have continued to undermine state effectiveness. State capture by patronage networks has deprived the public bureaucracy of the autonomy and resources needed to build capacity and effectiveness.

“As a goal, there is need to build the country where, if you show up, step up, and work hard, you will have your fair share of its wealth, and be fairly rewarded for your hard work; a country in which hard work pays, and cutting corners does not; a country in which, no matter which tribe or where you come from, you will be rewarded based on merit, not on whom-you-know; and a country in which every young person can hope, and aspire, and reach his or her fullest potential, right here in Sierra Leone.

“We have a responsibility to transform Sierra Leone into a country in which the public frowns upon corruption, public officials work for the common good and are accountable and revenue leakages are kept to a minimum and more money becomes available for provision of social and economic services. I will commit myself to ZERO tolerance for corruption.

“The biggest obstacle to ensuring sustainable national transformation is a lack of serious government commitment to implementing the solutions laid out in successive strategies and to ensuring that state institutions are managed in non-political and nonpartisan manner while improving their efficiency, public accountability, and transparency.

“Sierra Leone’s Constitution guarantees freedoms of speech yet these rights are many a time-restricted, in practice due largely to political exigencies. The government frequently interferes with the work of public institutions in an attempt to control content.

“Our country and its resilient people ended 2022 in unprecedented ‘sufferation’ and despair. To all intents and purposes, Sierra Leone today is country characterized by human misery and oppression. Overcoming this misery, though an uphill task, is certainly not insurmountable, and the only way we can hope to do so is by bringing all our people from the South-East and the North-West together once more so that we can pull in one direction.

“Overcoming ethno-regionalism must be our priority if our beloved country and its fine people are to again experience sustainable development and prosperity. Once we succeed in uniting our country and our peoples, only then can we succeed in developing a national strategic framework with a long-term perspective capable of meeting and satisfying the basic needs of our people as well as taking Sierra Leone into the next level of self-sustained national socio economic development and prosperity for all.

“As we address the “bread and butter issues” in the most immediate term, we must also comprehensively articulate the underlying factors or structural deficits that contribute to a weak economy, namely low productivity across growth sectors; low productivity of our population; weak supportive infrastructures (roads, electricity, water); weak private sector, low domestic revenue mobilization; high levels of public borrowing and public spending; weak governance systems; and high vulnerability to environmental and climate change challenges.

“The rank and file, and by extension the general public, is keenly aware that our beloved party, the APC, has been under stress for a long time now since we lost the 2018 elections the severity of which has led to the polarization of some key party executives in some intense horse-trading, especially with the ruling SLPP. This has somehow jeopardized the safety and security of well-meaning comrades while undermining the unity and effective functioning of the party as the main opposition in our democracy.

“As a party, we should be responsive to the urgent need for a united and focused APC if we are to effectively hold this government accountable and win the 2023 elections. Or else, we are failing our people We must come to terms with the fact that there can be no unity in the APC without a genuine reconciliation and understanding that seek to put the party’s interest above all other considerations.

We are on the eve of the National Delegates Conference. So, it is imperative that we put personal ego aside and walk the APC to State House on June 24, 2023.

“Finally, the future of Sierra Leone depends on what we do in the present and the near term. We are at a critical crossroads. We must make a choice for growth, for prosperity, for democratic freedoms and for national cohesion. We must make a choice for competence, commitment, and compassionate leadership.

“We must make a choice for a leader that understands the challenges our nation is facing today and has the experience and proven track record to lead the design and delivery of solutions to those problems; solutions that are framed with a long-term view for future generations and not through firefighting lenses focused predominantly on the electoral cycle.

“I thank you all for your undivided attention God Bless the APC God Bless Sierra Leone.”

1 Comment

  1. APC bounces back to take over State House? With Samura Kamara at the helm? APC cannot really be serious.

    A man who can barely keep his eyes open when making public speeches, a man who took his bigotry to the public square by attacking one of the largest ethnic groups in an elections year has suddenly become the messiah of the opposition? I don’t see the presidential elections making it to a runoff.

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