Political symbiosis of the APC as 2023 approaches

Abdulai Mansaray: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 January 2020:

“The only party that represents the grassroots of this country and whose values are based on working for the common man and woman in the country”. Those were the words of declaration from the former vice president, Alhaji Sam Sumana, when he made his long awaited return to the APC party almost 5 years after he was sacked.

If Idris Elba can come back home, why not Sam. His return will undoubtedly generate a lot of opinions across the political spectrum. While some in the party will see this as the return of the prodigal son, others in his native Kono District may see this as the betrayal of a traitor. You be the judge.

No matter how you view this latest political twist, there is no doubt that political expediency was one of the thrusts of this re-marriage, for better or for worse. While some will see this latest manoeuvre as one of political expediency, the majority would be inclined to see it as a political marriage of convenience – whether it was made in heaven is another matter.

Sam Sumana went into political hibernation, following his summary expulsion, only to emerge with the newly formed C4C party. This gave some credence to one of the primary reasons given by the APC for his expulsion then.

Among other reasons, he was accused of fermenting a breakaway faction in the APC, and when he returned with an ECOWAS backed verdict of unlawful removal and request for damages from the APC, the verdict was not even dignified with a response by his party. Was this switch a trade-off, as some would say?

But has Sam’s return raised more questions than answers? Would many see his return to the fold, as the APC’s tacit acknowledgement that it lost the elections because C4C had a clean sweep of Kono district? When you look at the margin of victory, it is plausible that if the APC had won in Kono District, some members in the ruling party would have made the employment statistics.

Nevertheless, some political commentators would be keen to know whether Sam is coming back to take the mantle of flagbearer or otherwise. Will he be the running mate, for the second time to Samura Kamara or somebody else? Where does that leave Samura, an unknown that has recently become the face of the APC, after his failed attempt to lead the party to victory?

Equally, there are those in the APC party who would be scratching their heads as to whether his return has just thrown the spanner in the works. There have been talk of Sam switching to SLPP, who had hitherto given a lip service in defending and protesting Sam’s sacking while they were in comatose opposition.

I am sure that Sam took lessons from Kandeh Yumkella and read the disclaimer; that the SLPP party operates a “no vacancy…. in Bio we trust” policy. With the remaining C4C party members vowing to stay in their party, where does Sam seat between these two political blocks, the APC and C4C?

It is understandable if many C4C supporters feel aggrieved, betrayed and left high and dry. This “et tu brute” moment will have its implications for all parties involved in one way or the other. They say that when you betray a friend, you will often find that you have ruined yourself.

C4C was friend, but little did it know that serpents change their skins and not their fangs. This is a gentle reminder that you cannot cry more than the bereaved; for that is exactly what has happened in Kono district.

Sam was hailed as the son of the soil that was badly treated by his in-laws. They took their allegiance from the APC as payback. Kono District kept vigil with Sam all night, only for Sam to ask “why the red eyes?” in the morning.

You cannot deny that C4C significantly contributed to the demise of APC in the polls. But just when C4C was making itself relevant in the corridors of power, their arch angel jumped ship. Wow.

So will Sam be received as the prodigal son or otherwise? In the bible, the prodigal son, or lost son was an abuser of grace; an unmerited or unearned favour.

The son had a loving father (C4C), a good home (Kono District), a future (C4C Party leader) and an inheritance (????). But he traded it all for temporal pleasures.

Ok, let us forget the Sunday school bible lessons, but what do we learn from our politics today? If last year’s list of flagbearer aspirants is anything to go by, there is no doubt that one or two are nursing their wounds and at the same time nursing some ambition to try again. Wish you were a fly on the wall when such discussions take place?

There is a temptation to see Sam’s defection as a crisis of confidence, while others will see it as opportunistic. Irrespective of your view, there is no doubt that there would be some political ripples along the way. By abandoning Kono District, does that open up the district for a political auction? Will the SLPP take advantage of the disappointment, the grievance and perceived betrayal to make inroads into the body politic in Kono District?

Will the SLPP capitalise on the apparent vacuum for leadership that may be evident in C4C? We all know that C4C was founded and built on an emotional alter, in response to some crass decision by the APC party – much to their peril. But will the C4C be strong enough to resist the temptation from the political auctioneers who would be just too willing to dangle some carrots in their way? Time will tell.

In the red corner, Samura has been consolidating his position in the party, albeit lukewarm. In the video clip that was published in thesierraleonetelgraph.com yesterday, it showed Sam being welcomed by party members. If that clip is anything to go by, one that had less than 25 people singing the APC victory song for Sam, it is fair, though hasty to say that he may have taken an uncalculated risk.

One would expect such a return to cause some traffic congestion somehow, and especially along Old Railway Line. We did not see the fanfare and goombay dancing that follows Samura Kamara, even when he engages in his politically manifested attendances to the local mosques.

Will Sam be able to bring everyone under one roof? A lot of that will depend on who takes charge of the party mantle.

At this point in time, we can only ask questions and trade in illogically logical permutations. We might be at risk of dancing ourselves lame, when the main dance is yet to come. It might be wise to wait and see which role Sam is returning to play, which position and which influence if any, he will have in the party in particular, and on our political landscape at large.

One thing is certain though, the rules of engagement have changed. Only time will tell if this was for the better or worse, for both the APC and Sam. There is no doubt that the APC and Sam maybe facing one of their biggest political conundrums. Will Sam become a slave in heaven or king in hell (pardon the imagery)?

Let us assume that Sam becomes the flagbearer, a wild assumption I know; will he galvanise the APC to victory? Does he have the national appeal to resuscitate the APC or just another spanner in the works? It may be too early to say but watch this space.

Take it or leave, there is bound to be some political gymnastics and horse trading on the horizon.

Don’t forget to turn the lights off when you leave the room.

8 Comments

  1. Getting information from a prominent Salone news source that Mr. Samuel Samsumana’s application for APC membership was pending made me laugh. I laughed because I had already watched a video clip in which about ten APC members were congratulating and dancing around Samsumana for rejoining his old party. Ten APC operatives? Is that all? Why does Samsumana have a penchant for embarrassing himself?

    It was embarrassing that Samsumana had to run for his life to seek refuge in the embassy of the United States. It was embarrassing that he had to file a frivolous lawsuit against the government of Sierra Leone in ECOWAS courts, and it was embarrassing that Samsumana attempted to collect the money awarded in the judgement.

    After returning to Sierra Leone from a self-imposed exile in Ghana, Samsumana lied to C4C members and the Kono people that he was a dedicated leader only to jump ship like a rat into the waiting arms of his oppressor – Ernest Obai Koroma. The presidency is about making sound judgement. Is this the type of character that should lead a country?

    Samsumana would soon find out, if he had not already, that the road to APC leadership is littered with pitfalls. Three antagonistic forces conflict with each other in the party. The first is the Northern regional hegemonistic movement led by Ernest Koroma. It can also be referred to as the Bombali hegemony. These are folks that believe that the APC leader must hail from Bombali and that power and leadership in Sierra Leone must be the birthright of the North, especially Bombali district.

    The second force constitutes the PortLoko moderates led by Alpha Kanu (Alpha Khan) and the third being the liberals of the National Reform Movement (NRM). The NRM is fighting with little success to open APC leadership to other Salone ethnicities. It follows that, that Samsumana can attempt to return to the APC by relying only on the words of the thieving Ernest Koroma, a Bombali hegemonist, tells a lot about the man’s judgement.

    Tellingly, whether Samsumana eventually gets the APC flagbearship (something that I doubt) or not, the APC will lose by a whopping margin in the first round in 2023. It is common knowledge in Salone that the APC forced a runoff in 2018 by rigging the elections. But there will be no APC rigging in 2023 hence a blowout will take shape.

    Lastly, if against all odds Samsumana gets the flag to lead the APC in 2023, the party will fragment. Northern regional hegemonists will not allow a Kono man from the Southeast to lead them. And if Samsumana is discriminated against as I expect, the APC will be exposed for what it has always been – a core tribalistic party. This will lead to a historic collapse of the party at the polls. Suffice it that no matter what eventually happens, I expect the APC to disintegrate and become an ineffective force in 2023.

  2. As a Sierra Leonean, I dont think Sam Sumana’s return to APC which I dont believe he left, can change any thing in our political situation in Sierra Leone, concerning towards the Kono people. Kono has suffered a long time before the civil war and continued during the civil war. I think at this moment president Bio is the right man in the right place. So lets give him a chance. God bless Sierra Leone.

    • Indeed. Before, during and “after” the civil war, Kono is still struggling. With all due respect Mr. Ibrahim Bah. Why do you think President Bio is the right man in the right place? Secondly, why do you think the return of Chief Sam Sumana to the APC will make no difference? Would you please reply me as soon as possible? Maybe, you have a point in making such statements.

      I reckon you are new to this glorious platform. If that’s the case, take it easy. You are welcome. However, I thank you for blessing Sierra Leone at the end of your comment. Mr. Ibrahim Bah there failing to mention that, Kono is still struggling after the civil war. God bless The Kono people and God bless Mr. Ibrahim Bah.

  3. Both Sam and Samura are not worth leading any political party, for any reason other than patronage. Any unimagined shift from a freer and a more democratic exercise in the APC flagbearership process will end up in bormeh. That aside, the APC loss in the last general elections had little to do with the Kono votes.

    Rather, I would say without remorse that much of the loss came from the loss of considerable votes in both the Rural and Urban western areas coupled with the bad blood from the party’s northern home shift, especially in the Port loko and Tonkolili districts.

    The party has more and far better options in the persons of Petito and others. So the talk about Samura and Sumana ticket is all a ploy by the pa to push his personal agenda which will authoritatively end in another fermented disaster.

  4. Oh my God!, frankly speaking indeed this is going to become one of the regrettable and disgraceful ticket ever in the APC party, selecting Sam sumana as their flag bearer for 2023. I personally have no doubt about Sierra Leoneans. This is the man that escaped from his VP office to seek refuge in the US Embassy claiming that, he fears for his life.

    Now we know and the whole world understands that APC is really power hunger. But we promised you, neither Sam sumana nor Samura Kamara will smell State House come 2023 . Sam Sumana, re-joining APC party for what, to become president of Sierra Leone? I can’t believe what I read yesterday – it was stunning and amazed. If KKY did this I will say ok because he quitted his party SLPP. But you’re different, APC kicked you out. Sam Sumana we are disappointed at you.

    Fortunately my friend told me about some secret that I can’t reveal here to the media about C4C’s plans. I will leave this for the appropriate time. Now, ECOWAS is watching you, I hope that the APC party led by the chairman for life has compensated you after the ecowas verdict.

    Today the party spokesperson says that, they are going to have a look in to your application before taking action. Time will tell. If you really love this country, you won’t clap your fingers over Sam sumana’s current move – no I am not in support. We are all here in Kono and our brothers are very frustrated with this move. According to the APC policy, you must remain in the party for 5 years or more before qualifying for it’s flagbearer. See you next time.

  5. Sorry, only words and questions around persons. What are the aims and the programmes of the party for the next election? What definitely will change for the Sierra Leone people?

    • Thank you very much for the question. We are in dire need of good institutions not personality (maybe some innovators plus institutions).

    • To your last question Mr. Reinhard Weicha. One thing that I believe will change is vengeance for wrong doings. If Chief Sam Sumana for example wins the APC leadership and becomes President, there will be no teargassing of SLPP party supporters at their headquarters, no teargassing of any political leader on any of our streets, no breaking of the arms of any opposition political leader and no bye-Election barbarity and violence. There are many more things that will change. Our country will just be the paradise of Africa. God bless our country and God help “get SALONE sorted”.

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