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.