Sierra Leone’s main opposition APC party is at serious risk of implosion

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 June 2021:

With just two years remaining before presidential and general elections are held in Sierra Leone, the country’s main opposition All People’s Congress Party (APC) who currently shares equal number of representatives in the Houses of Parliament with the ruling SLPP, is locked in a serious internecine war as legal battle continues for the control of the party.

Former president – Ernest Bai Koroma, who is the leader and chairman of the party is being accused along with his powerful national executive committee members of overstaying their constitutional mandate and authority.

According to a rebel faction within the APC party – the National Reformation Movement (NRM) and many others, Koroma and his national executive members should have vacated office a few years ago to allow for elections to take place. (Photo: Three of Koroma’s powerful lieutenants – from left to right: Minkailu Mansaray, Dr Yansanneh, and Dr Samura Kamara).

After a series of High Court injunctions preventing the party from functioning, questions are being asked about whether the party can pull itself together and organise on time to contest the 2023 presidential and general elections.

Recent High Court ruling had instructed that Koroma, and his executive members should convene a national conference where the party’s draft constitution will be approved to pave way for a new national executive committee to be elected, but with one caveat – Koroma and his executive members must take no part in discussing and approving the constitution.

Last week, Koroma and his executives made an appeal to set aside that ruling, pleading that it affects their human and constitutional rights. But Judge Fisher thought otherwise, insisting that his ruling banning Koroma and his executive committee from taking part in the national conference must stand. (Photo: Koroma, Yansanneh and Minkailu hanging heads).

Reacting to this most recent court ruling, this is a statement published by the NRM last week:       

“At the outset, it is worth pointing out that we entered into the negotiations to have the issues resolved amicably. More than anything, it was the desire to resolve the impasse and allow the party to move past the protraction that surrounds the adoption of a democratic constitution that led us to the negotiating table.

However, the insistence of the leadership of the party to take us to a convention with their pre-selected, manufactured delegates led Alfred Peter Conteh, NRM’s Deputy Leader, to institute an action against the party’s overstayed leadership in the High Court of Sierra Leone in Freetown. Alfred Conteh’s opposition is to prevent EBK and Osman Foday Yansaneh from proceeding to a convention with their manufactured delegates, who are clearly against the democratic ideals we seek.

As we all have seen, although the party’s expired leadership, through their lawyers, approached the judge for a variation of the injunction to allow the party to adopt a new constitution, they suddenly appealed against that very variation their lawyers pleaded and solicited from the court, just because the party’s chairman and his handpicked delegates have been restrained from manipulating the process.

We at the NRM find it very disturbing that Ernest Bai Koroma (EBK) and his expired leadership appealed an order that merely restrains them from  participating as delegates in the adoption of the constitution.

We find it very disappointing that he unconscionably appealed an order that commands the party to conduct elections for the delegates who are to adopt the constitution. These recent actions, instigated by EBK, have demonstrated that the pleas made in court by the party’s lawyers that the party has found itself falling behind in the race to keep pace with the national electoral calendar mean nothing when weighed against EBK’s presence as a self-imposed delegate in the process of adopting a new constitution.

Now that it is no longer in dispute that EBK and his illegal executive are only interested in going to a convention with their handpicked opponents of democracy to adopt another autocratic and totalitarian constitution, we want the public to know that the NRM has joined forces with Alfred Conteh’s lawsuit to ensure that the matter is concluded in court.

The movement is particularly pleased with these two orders handed down by Justice Fisher:  restraining the national officers of the party and their handpicked opponents of democracy, who masquerade as delegates, from sowing further confusion and instructing that elections are conducted for the delegates who are to adopt the constitution.

Conclusively, we at the NRM call for the formation of an interim body to conduct elections for delegates and organize a convention, where a new constitution will be adopted within forty-five days.

The NRM remains committed to the struggle to democratize the internal politics of the APC.

Signed: Mohamed Sheridan Kamara, Leader, NRM.” (END).

Today, former president Koroma is being accused of tribalism after making what many have described as “careless and unsavory tribalistic comment about people of the Fulani tribe” whom he refers to as “feeble” in this video clip. Has the former president shot himself in the foot?

This is what he said:

As the battle for the heart and soul, as well as survival of the APC continues, the question now is whether the party rank and file will continue to hold on to their support for the party, even as the ruling SLPP party makes huge political gains across several communities in the opposition APC heartlands through development programmes rolled out by the SLPP government.

19 Comments

  1. Some defenders of the former President, Ernest Bai Koroma still ignoring the reality, pretending like they do not know, how much damages he had done to the country’s image, in the eyes of the world. Let’s come out say the truth the whole truth nothing but the truth, EBK is not good for Sierra Leone period. In order for him to gain more respect and integrity, this gentleman could have distance himself from power since he left office, and after their heavy loses defeat in 2018 presidential poll. Yes of course he did something better for the country, but that doesn’t mean there is nobody like him. Most of the promises he made, during the 2007 Presidential campaign we seen nothing. I am going to run this country as a business concern, it was a very good term, also this Koroma APC, is gonna be different from any other APC party you knew.

    After President Kabba left office he never hang on to power – self selected as a chairman of the SLPP, can you dispute that? The whole African continent, name me one single country that it’s former president claim him or herself as “life chairman” of his party? Can EBK copy from some of his comrades like Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria? Is any of these gentle former presidents claim a life chairman leadership from their party? Give me a break. Tell EBK that, he enjoys 11 years in power without no hindrance, can he step aside and give peace to the country? I hope he does. Even some of his nearest like Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh and the others, most of them tired of him frankly speaking.

    I believe that there will be some indirect attacks on me, even though my name won’t be mentioned in their comments, but that’s fine with me. EBK wants to remain chairman for life, my friend APC is finished. First of all this is the only president that I have witnessed in my life time, left office after serving 11 years and up to date, he never apologizes to the nation like saying “Sierra Leoneans, I am sorry if I hurt anyone during my time in the state house”. Has he ever done that? Please let us know. Yes of course, he has apologized to the APC party members, not because he loves them but he is encouraging them to come out and vote, can you dispute that? It is a prestige and honor for any leader to thank and apologize to their people, after they step out of office. Try to meet with EBK, and advice him to quit and fire himself with this life chairmanship. May God continue to bless my beloved country Sierra Leone and it’s people. Later

  2. Totally agree with you both. Mr Matturi and Mr Thomas. But we need someone that is not easily swayed by money and power. It can be done, if that individual has the will power, and determination. And above and beyond, put the interest of the country’s development first. Its all too familiar story . When they say “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” At the same time, Power and money can turn an angel to a demon. Who ever coined that phrase, they knew what they were talking about. And I can also add – don’t place your trust in politicians. Sometimes, with the best of intentions, they over promised, and deliver litte. Like some of us on this forum, and outside the political tent, we can see all the things that are holding back our country to graduate from a struggling economy to a well performing economy that stands to benefit not only the few but the many. We know where the fault lines are located. But for some intriguing phenomenon, once we find ourselves in hot house of political life, we tend to abandon our principles and beliefs. Maybe we need a Mandela, a JJ Rawlings, or Colonel Andrew Joxson Smith mentality.

    It is doable because Colonel Smith was a Sierra Leonean. So its not beyond the realm of possibilities that it can be done. As Sierra Leoneans are all too familiar with the empty rhetoric, and no dilivery of service . Over the intervening years, we’ve been lied to so many times, the gulf between those who govern, and the governed has widened to such an extent for majority of people, government only exists in name. Bio and all the leaders that came before him, are what I call honest liars. Safe for one or two leaders: Former President Tejan Kabbah, the man that stopped the RUF war in Sierra Leone. And earlier years, Colonel Andrew Joxson-Smith. In 1968, he warned about the dangers of tribalism, and regionalism, and how if not addressed, will tear our country apart. The 1990s RUF wars proved him right. He was right in 1968, just as he was right about today’s Sierra Leone. Somethings never change. His short lived military government was perhaps the best government Sierra Leone ever experienced since our independence. We enjoyed relative peace, tranquility, and above all else, harmony amongst our people. The civil servants were dedicated to country and flag. Everyone was working towards the common good.

    Maybe, any one of us could be the Colonel Andrew Joxson – Smith of today. Unfortunately, his government was too good to be true. So the anti progressive forces set about to destroy him and his military government. And to some extent sow the seeds of division we are harvesting today. He came to power and identified, and diagnosed our main problem in the country. Tribalism and regionalism. Before he assumed power, Bio was a fervent advocate of the anti corruption drive in Sierra Leone. He was just like one of us. When he lost the election, he went and lived in London and the United States. Sofa crashing until he resurfaced in Ghana as a used car salesman. Indeed, Bio and his colleagues overthrew Momoh’s government on issues like lack of support in the war front and corruption. That was the list of issues they highlighted, during the 1992 NPRC take over against the Momoh government for which Bio played an active role. To rescue our country, we need someone who is dedicated to the cause. And going by the contributions you read in the comments section of the Sierra Leone Telegraph, there is no shortage of men and women. But for me, I will nominate the editor of this online news outlet – Mr Abdul R. Thomas. His organisational skills and fairness to all and his independent mindedness, is what we need in the leader of Sierra Leone. Mr Thomas tick all the right boxes.

  3. Why do you hate former President Earnest Bai Koroma – EBK? Why do you cherish an almighty occassion of polluting the political landscape with his negatives, even if they only edge on the border of triviality, and give a blind eye or incorporate a tendency to sanitize his positives? Is it because EBK is the first democratically elected President to have the audacity to bring relative economic development in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country? Why are you so limited in thinking, and continue to pretend or compromise the real definition of Sierra Leone? Why are you still trapped in the colonial mentality or the lopsided economic model of visualising Sierra Leone as comprising of mainly Freetown, Bo and Kenema in terms of development priorities?

    The ‘new direction’ philosophy, at times, sounds synonymous to the blatant diversion of economic resources form the North, or a disruption of the equilibrating effect as envisaged by EBK, in favour of the pertinent imbalance in the distribution of resources as manifested in the North-South divide. Even the killing of youths in Makeni was not accidental. It was a statement made by a delusionally insane and tribalistic President that felt irritated and unsecured by the sudden relevance of this nothern city that has the potential to act as a pivot of accelerated and rapid development in the country. Is EBK an innocent victim of Makeni? On the other hand, is it ironic for a fake leader like Maada Bio to talk about development when looking at the concept in a peripheral or tangential mode?

    The rehabilitation of Lungi International Airport and the eventual construction of the Lungi Bridge are just stop-gap projects, or by extension, an overt demonstration of a profound incapacity of sound economic thinking, but will not stand in the way of the need to address the inequitable distribution of resources in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country. Seemingly, EBK has set the threshold for the development of this tiny country, and no amount of hypocrisy will deflect this mentality to the days of colonialism. It might take decades for the right leader to come that would emulate EBK – whose main crime appears to be because he cares about the country as whole and happens to come from the North, Makeni. Sierra Leoneans wake up … don’t let them fool YOU.

  4. Ladies and Gentle. To get rid of the APC or SLPP will be very difficult if we are not united. So, lets forget about these tribal hints and move forward together to help build a better Sierra Leone. To be honest, the APC and the SLPP have made Sierra Leone a PLUTOCRACY. Every President from any of these two parties, bring their team and enrich themselves. If it continues like this, then you always have to coalesce with one of these parties at any given time to have your way. Greedy stuff! One wonders sometimes why people who are highly educated behave the way some of our government officials and politicians behave today. Is it a political disease or curse for Sierra Leoneans to perform poorly when they enter politics or part of the elite?

    I sometimes scratch my head asking what will Sierra Leone look like if anyone of us on this glorious platform becomes president. Will we change our honest and genuine attitudes and behave the same way as now? Just lie to the people and enrich ourselves? This is serious and disappointing stuff. Getting rid of the APC or SLPP is a nightmare that anyone thinking of that will have to live with for a very long time. God bless would be politicians on this glorious platform and our people.

    • “I sometimes scratch my head asking what will Sierra Leone look like if anyone of us on this glorious platform becomes president. Will we change our honest and genuine attitudes and behave the same way as now? Just lie to the people and enrich ourselves?” – This must be a question for all forumites to ponder today and in the future. It is perhaps one of the most important questions to come out of this Telegraph Forum since its inception. Thank you Mr Matturi for your candour. Over to you forumites!

  5. I appeal to all Sierra Leoneans to take the Covid-19 vaccine to save your own lives and also other people’s lives. The coronavirus disease is not a whiteman’s disease : it is a disease that affects everybody regardless of skin colour. The mortality ( death ) rate is 4 times higher in blacks, 3 times higher in brown ( Asians ) than in whites. Even treatment in the best hospitals and best hands yields a high mortality ( death ) rate.Remember the virus does not carry passports. So please take the vaccine when offered to you : you ask for it . The vaccine is safe. My family and I have taken it and we now feel safe. Don’t risk your life.

    • You are sure Mr. Aboud, that these vaccines, specially the mRNA vaccines are safe? do you are a doctor of medicine? May be not in Africa, but in the USAa and Europe you will find more and more critical voices against these vaccines and their side effects, even now in some mainstream media.

  6. I wish the best readers and listeners will evaluate this article and see how seriously APC party is cracking apart like a dry clay under the hot dry season. The whole APC party members are afraid and scared to tell EBK that, enough is enough. The people of this country don’t have confidence in the APC party any more. First of all there are infights among themselves; they totally confused with their totalitarian attitude. Let me draw your attention folks; The former president Ernest Bai Koroma, and Dr. Alhaji Foday Yansaneh, also others in the inner circle, are the major problem for APC.

    I don’t care if Dr. Samura Kamara was fortunate to succeed EBK in the 2018 presidential polls, he could have been just a symbol or photo image at state house. That is why we voted overwhelmingly for Bio. It seems to me like Ernest B. Koroma has some secret about these people which they don’t want him to reveal to the public, am I right? What is EBK trying to cover-up by making himself lifetime chairman of the APC party? Please we need some explanation folks. Is there a secret club for the party elders that we don’t know of? RIP to APC party and it’s leadership come 2023 polls. May God bless and protect our country sierra Leone.

  7. You are right, Mr Leo Africanus. There is no ethnocentrism here. The former President’s choice of words might sound a bit unfortunate and unhelpful, verging on what appears to be a case of crass ethnic stereotypification. The point he is trying to make though is that people of Eastern African descent – Somalis, Ethiopians, Eritreans etc. are smaller in physical build when compared to say West Africans apart from the Fulani.

    I believe that the former President is not so dim-witted and ethnocentric as to think for a second that the Fulani, who are one of the most intelligent, talented and successful people anywhere on this earth, are weak people. In point of fact, the Fulani, who are traditionally a nomadic people are often said – in mythical, legendary and perhaps historical terms – to originate from among other places the Nile valley, thus having an affinity physically and otherwise with Somalis and related peoples of Eastern Africa.

    Those who might be interested in exploring this issue further might want to check a very brilliant novel, ‘Peuls’, by the great Guinean novelist Tierno Monénembo (his real name being Thierno Saidou Diallo). The work was published in 2005 and traces in epic mode the origins and evolution of the Fulani across time and space.

  8. I am not an avid supporter of the former president, however, I do not think he is against the Fulanis, as he appointed chericoco as VP in the previous election. It’s semantics, I think he meant to say they are slim in body type, which is a stereotype, due to the fact that in Guinea, there were galoot, to paraphrase, Fulani. Africa is the most diverse continent in the world with all types of people and body types.

    • Listen to the audio again, I don’t think on the context for which he said it was anything against Fula people. He said Somalian thinks Sierra Leoneans are big men. Now If we Fulanis are in the diaspora knows too well, I have been mistaken for a Somalian, Ethiopians, and Eritrean. We physically look like them. I go to an Ethiopians shop, they start speaking Ahmeric to me. A Somalian woman in face vile have unwittingly hugged me in the streets. She apologised. She said I thought you are one of us. I told her we are Fulanis from west Africa. Now my Cosine work for the United Nations peace keeping operations. He told me how he was amazed how villages in Rawanda and Some of their people looks like Fulanis.

      Historically Fulani people have roamed East to West Africa for thousands of years. Uthman Dan Fodio and there is a particular sect in the Fulani tribe we call the TELEKOH FULA. Now this people dressed and appeared like JEWS. Eeven there hairs side burns won’t make them look out of place in Jerusalem. There is a History there that President Bii Koroma touched on. Or how those one explain Fula people like to call all the other tribes in Guinea and Sierra Leone, “THE BLACKS”We the Fulani students used to get the stick for that. Other students will asked us, you are black like us, why are you calling us the blacks.

      Before any Fulani get exircise by fomer President Koroma audio, listen to it again. He is just stating a historical fact. Read our history. The Fulanis are the largest tribe in Africa tbat don’t have a state of their own. Because historically we are normads.

  9. The only person that stands to gains out of this APC infighting, is Bio and the SLPP party. An opposition party is not a credible opposition party capable of fighting an election and forming a government, if the leadership and the grassroots members are engaged in a battle of wills, or who blink first.No one voter will want to cast a vote for such party. Because you are demonstrating through your actions, you are fighting for your survival not the survival of Sierra Leoneans that you claimed you want to represent. This socalled NRM members, a break away factions, within the APC party is doing the work of destroying the APC with in and is doing a serious damage to what the party stands for. Damaged yes, but mortal damaged, I wouldn’t go that far. The APC party is stronger than that. And it is like the Cotton tree. Is deeply rooted in Sierra Leonean society. With roots and branches all over the country. So for me, this issues is just a storm in a tea cup.

    Maybe we need to put this people under the credibility test and ask them what they wants to do with the APC. Maybe to their understanding, or the lack of it, how political parties functions, make research on social issues, like what really intrest the ordinary voter, interms of policy engagements, like bread and butter issues, and how to build trust between them , so voters can see them as an alternative government in waiting, this socalled reble within the APC party will do our country a massive favour, and tore up their membership cards and form their own party . Better still they might claim to be APC members, but SLPP at heart. Over the course of our history, we’ve seen it happen.Bio and his SLPP supporters most be laughing their heads off in one of the SLPP brain storming sessions on how to defeat the APC presidential Candidates in 2023, who ever that person turns out to be. Surely this is one way of doing it with out breaking a sweat.

    Bio and his SLPP party strategist, are happy to keep their gun poweder dry, and play the wait and see game, to see how far this APC malcontents is ready to go, to tear this great party asunder. They will not succeed because, as we’ve have seen in South Africa when Julious Malema break away from the African National Congress, the party of Nelson Mandela, and the present ruling party of South Africa, and formed the Economic Freedom Fighters, so far the impact of his party performance in the National elections, hasn’t impacted or translate as a massive vote winning formula amongst the people South Africa as experts predicted. Sierra Leoneans might have elected the wrong people in to parliament to represent their interests, but you will never asscued them of changing party colours, because the characters runnig it. Party politics in Sierra-leone is like a family business. It has deep roots. My Father is an old APC, so is majority of my family members. So changing party membership or affiliation, will be deem as dishonoring your family.

  10. After watching that video at the end of this story, all I can say is that former president Koroma must resign as leader and chairman of the APC party. My God how can he refer to the Fullas as feeble and weak people. This is hardcore tribal slur and must not be allowed in my country Sierra Leone. I am fullah and I am very upset by what he said.

    When the mayor of Freetown Aki Sawyerr made a comment about Mendes some months ago, she was called to resign. What EBK said on this video is worse.

    • Mr Usufu Jalloh, you can only get upset if you think Fulanis are weak and feeble. In the past we were refered to as foreigners from Guinea. In the eighties Hon Taimu Bangura was engaged in a bitter fight with Fulanis in Sanda. The police used to stop and search Fulanis at Pamalap, especially Fulani cow traders returning from Freetown and Liberia as Korto, or our tribal markings number 11 on either cheeks. The constant rivalry between Fulani and our nomadic lifestle and the sedentary Temene farmers has always been a source of friction. If you ever look after a herd of cattles, feeding them, shepherding them, and on top of that you have three wives, in the case of my father four, and an assortment of Children, you can’t refer to such person or individual as weak. To be critical of a particular group of people, means that person making such comments must not be feeling good about themself. This is why it is important we learn our history.

      Today Fulanis are one of the fastest growing population in Sierra Leone. Elsewhere in places in Northern Nigeria, there is a war going on between Fulani herdsmens and some of the farming tribes. Prople say why is Buhari or tbe Nigerian army not taking action against Fulani Banditry, well the president is Fulani. The Nigerian army is made up mostly of Haussa Fulani. EBK Koroma might have offended some sections of Fulanis, but my brother we’ve been called worst, especially in our school days.

      Last year a forumite on this platform asked me, if I am not happy with the way the freedom of press is handled, why can’t I try Guinea. Well he was roundly condemned by my fellow forumites. So my advice to read about your history. Which ever tribe you come from. Thank goodness we have the Krio language that unites us. Otherwise, which other language would a divided Sierra Leone have used to express themselves. Maybe EBK might have insulted us in his mother’s tongue, we may never have known what he meant. We are glad to have the krio language, at least we can see through him.

  11. Sierra Leone democracy is toast as long as APC and SLPP are still around. The ruling party is definitely behind the machinations and pulling of the strings via the malleable Judges who seem to be idle.

    The SLPP diasporians have no six-figure salaries to return to once booted out of office in the next elections.They are left with no choice but to do everything silly to overstay in power undemocratically. Their woeful performance in governance and their heightened politics of division means they could only get meaningful votes in the South East in a free and fair contest. Even Dandogo as an APC flagbearer could defeat the SLPP in a level-playing field.

    When will our country be given a new slate or fresh start sans SLPP or APC?

  12. Let us be honest; no one can lead APC in the presidential election; unless you are from the north; but if they know they can not win, they will elect whoever they want to lead. So let us be honest we the children of Sierra Leone – APC is the party of the north, SLPP the party of the south.

    • Thanks Mr Ibrahim Bah for your insight. The APC must elect the leader that will help them win. They should have learnt the lessons of being in the political wilderness by now. In politics like many other areas in life, one should expect slippery customers or fishes. A word for a wise is quite sufficient. Anyway, I hope that the APC will choose the right leader in time, who will definitely defeat President Bio. All what they are doing now at the community level will be irrelevant if they help us take the presidency home for safe keeping.

      If the right leader is not chosen, then, there will be not much opposition to President Bio if he wins a second term in my view. The reason being that you can’t continue to oppose someone whom the people of Sierra Leone elected in a free and fair election for the second time. All you can do is to support him and help the country move forward. Bottom line, let bygone be bygones. Period! God bless the Republic of Sierra Leone and Mr Ibrahim Bah. Yeah.

  13. Sorry, but I can’t understand all this procedure. What has a high court got to do with problems within a political party? These problems should be solved in an open and public discussion within the party by their members. If there is no agreement then may be the opposition has to establish a new party.

    • We are on the same political wavelength on this issue Mr Reinhard Wiecha. Political parties should be allowed to solve their problems. I don’t understand what the courts are doing. Maybe someone have an answer. Anyway, disputes in political can sometimes be a fierce battle and messy. Let everyone try their luck. The strongest will eventually win. God help the APC party politics.

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