Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 November 2018:
The spectacular defeat of the All People’s Congress Party (APC) at the polls last March, prompted calls for a comprehensive review of the party’s performance at the elections, which is expected to culminate in a root and branch reform of the party.
Yesterday, APC party bosses announced that, acting on the recommendations of its Nine-man Committee who recently conducted a review of the party’s performance at the polls, the party has formed a Constitution Review Committee which will be officially launched at the party’s headquarters today, Thursday 22 November 2018.
Speaking to the Sierra Leone Telegraph in reaction to this announcement, a senior APC party grandee said that “today’s launching of a Constitution Review Committee, goes against the expectations of many in the party, who have been calling for the party leader and chairman – former president Ernest Bai Koroma, to announce a date for a national conference at which the constitution can be democratically reviewed and amended in line with the wishes of all party members”.
“There are many things wrong with our constitution; and we the members would like the opportunity to sit down and discuss these stumbling blocks to our progress, so that we can reform the party and put new structures, systems and procedures in place to enable us win the next elections in 2023,” he said.
Several party members have expressed strong views about the immense powers conferred upon the party leader and chairman, including his ability to solely select his successor and presidential candidate.
Party members are also calling for change in the constitution, so as to prevent the party leader and chairman from gaining lifetime leadership status.
They would like to see these and other constitutional changes discussed and voted on at a national conference, rather than manipulated and forged by an unelected Constitution Review Committee under the leadership of the chairman and leader Ernest Bai Koroma.
It is not clear what the terms of reference are for the Constitution Review Committee, and how wide ranging they are.
There is uncertainty and anxiety also about the constitution review process itself. How will the committee ensure inclusiveness in collecting the views of members across the country?
And how will the committee guarantee that those views and wishes are translated into real change?