Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 March 2022:
In just over fifteen months’ time, the people of Sierra Leone will go to the polls to elect a new president or renew President Bio’s mandate to serve a second and final term in office. (Photo above: Mohamed Konneh, NEC Chief Electoral Commissioner).
The country’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) says it will start registering eligible Sierra Leoneans from 3rd September 2022 to 4th October, 2022 in preparation for Presidential, Parliamentary, Local Councils and Village Head elections taking place on 24th June next year. Paramount Chiefs elections for parliament are expected to take place on 20th May, 2023.
This news comes after the opposition last week accused the ruling SLPP party and the President of trying to violate the Constitution by moving the elections to 2024, using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse.
But these accusations have been denied by the NEC Chief Electoral Commissioner, Mohamed Konneh, who said that the elections scheduled for June 2023 will not be postponed.
Last month, leaders of fifteen opposition parties started formal talks to explore the importance of establishing a collective effort aimed at unseating the ruling SLPP, whom they say have wasted four years in office as the economy continues to slide backwards and cost of living worsened.
The Consortium of Opposition Political Parties (COPP), which brings together almost all of the opposition parties together, is currently considering fielding one presidential candidate to contest against President Bio next year.
But this strategy is not going to be easy, as there are at least three seriously competing candidates within the COPP that are aspiring to become President, including the main opposition APC’s 2018 Presidential candidate – Dr Samura Kamara who lost narrowly to Julius Maada Bio in 2018. (Photo: Samura Kamara has been endorsed by former President Koroma to take the APC party into the 2023 elections).
There is Chief Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana, founder of the Coalition for Change (C4C) Party who won all 8 parliamentary seats in Kono in 2018, after he was sacked by President Ernest Bai Koroma as Vice President of Sierra Leone and expelled from the APC.
Sam Sumana is still highly regarded by sections of the APC party as a serious contender for the APC party’s 2023 presidential flagbearership, provided he can dissolve his C4C party and integrate into the main opposition APC.
Presidential hopeful, Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella is also a strong contender for the COPP’s 2023 single flagbearership. He comes with decades of leadership and industrial experience from the United Nations where he served as Under Secretary to the Head of the UN.
Yumkella is the 2018 presidential candidate for the National Grand Coalition (NGC), a party he helped to form in 2017, just few months before elections were held and despite legal battles by the APC to exclude him from contesting the 2018 elections – claiming he had dual citizenship.
Yumkella’s NGC party went on to win 5 parliamentary seats in the Kambia district in 2018, the party’s political stronghold which President Bio must win in 2023, along with other key seats in the north of the country if he is to remain president of Sierra Leone.
Recognising the importance of the Kandeh Yumkella “King Making” factor, President Bio is considering offering a senior cabinet position – if not the Vice Presidency to Dr Yumkella, in return for cross-carpeting to the ruling SLPP to help Bio stay in office.
But there is still confusion as to whether Yumkella is considering President Bio’s offer, despite a public statement by the Chairman of the NGC party – Dr Dennis Bright, saying that Yumkella will not be joining the SLPP.
At this point in time in our nation’s history, a major focus of the APC is to stop the SLPP government from rigging the 2023 elections. The said rigging can be thwarted and stopped by not allowing them to execute their plans. The APC has to be proactive to stop the SLPP from rigging. For the APC to be able to stop the SLPP from rigging the 2023 elections, the APC should move away from complacency and last minute actions! Inasmuch as we know that the so called midterm Census did not have the citizens/people’s participation, this government has the tendency to attempt enforcing it if we the people fail to resist it and give early warning signs of its potential challenges to society and its possible threats & ramifications. This is a serious matter that we should not play with nor underrate as a Party that is determined to come back to power!
The signs of the intentions and actions of the SLPP are very visible, and for the APC to be complacent and fool ourselves of not going to action by making public statements to the effect will be detrimental and will undermine the Party’s victory in the 2023 elections. We need to act as a Party by putting out a political statement that any attempt by the SLPP government to use the unrecognized, unprecedented and unpopular midterm Census data for this elections will be resisted at all costs!!! We must remember that President Bio had made a similar strategic message of calling his support base in the 2018 elections to resist any action by the then EBK government that he believed was not in his favour. Bio didn’t wait for an action to be taken that will militate against his dream, but rather he made his comments before hand and it served as a warning. Why shouldn’t the APC do the same if the SLPP wants to attempt to rig the elections with a rouge midterm Census data? In fact, we are in a better place to resist because the pertinent International Community stakeholders in our national politics have already condemned the process in our favour?
A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE. Let this be known for the records and let us remember that there’s already an indication through the NEC/ECSL Chief Electoral Commissioner in his recent interview on 98.1 on Tuesday March 15, 2022, that his highly affiliated party, the SLPP-led government has an intention to use the unrecognized, unpopular and unprecedented midterm census to the advantage of the SLPP and if the government attempts to execute it, the APC would be bound to resist that at all costs!
Fifteen (15)months from now Sierra leonean population will be going to the poll to cast their votes and determine their new fate. It is accustomed for every citizen to make decision based on periodic election. The minds of all citizens are set for a massive move to consciousness. It will be very impressive to see citizens of Sierra leone exercise their rights and responsibilities diligently in the 2023 election. Revolution has surfaced, the rumble for tremendous change is been felt all over the place. I don’t think people are going to vote just because they like to vote. The voting attitude of citizens is going to determine who will earn the keys to the city.
Serving as spectator for 5 year is enough for citizens to fruitfully make their choice. It seems like NEC want to get things off their neck by releasing the presidential date of election. That is just another side of the story. “Thanks to the Almighty God, NEC has given us the June 24, 2023 date for the crucial Presidential Elections,” a concerned citizen told the Organiser newspaper . The long awaited time has approached but still sounds dilly-dally in the minds of Sierra leoneans. People can’t wait to get out of the rubble and mayhem.
Everybody wish to live like heaven on earth. The big question is, are Sierra leoneans living like heaven on earth? I believe people that have served as spectators over the years knows better. Key point all citizens of Sierra leone need to note is that what they blow in the air come 2023 election will determine how they are going to breath. Be smart and display high level of patriotism.
From: Amadu wurie, Development communicator at the University of Makeni( UNIMAK).
There is no smoke with out a fire. This accusations made against Bio’s one directionless government fits all the hallmarks of a desperate attempt by Bio to shift the goal post in the middle of the second half of the political football match that has been played out across the country. If the election were held today Bio will lose.Bio deserve the” RED CARD”. Because he has failed to deliver on his core manifesto promises of fighting corruption and bringing peoples together. Mr Mohamed Konneh the NEC commissioner might have felt the need to go public to put the record straight, but no one should be fooled that this one directionless government of Bio is squeaky clean when it comes to respecting our constitution.
Indeed throughout his four years tenure he has managed to not only trampled on the constitution to fulfill his own political ambitions, he has enforced it by appointing people in the judiciary to act as defenders of the indefensible, there by rending one of the three arms of government powerless and toothless in its decision making process. He has done it overtly and covertly, to public officials, that knows they owe their positions to him. They should have known better. Now the opposition can do well by coming together and unite behind a single presidential Candidate that will give Bio a run for his money.
Dr Samura, Dr Yumukella, Dr Blyden, Dr Bright, or someone we’ve never heard of, anyone but Bio, otherwise what we will endup with is a rump of a dejected opposition, like headless chickens, or crickets in a frying pan kicking each other or worst fighting a loosing battle with a man that has a clear advantage of being the president and no doubt with the state machinery and some of the media outlets that have acted as cheers leaders for Bio’s one directionless government. As we all know the standard of living for Sierra Leoneans have nosedive, and our countrys economy have tanked.We need a Messiah to save our country.