Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 February 2020:
Yesterday, 22nd February 2020, marked a major milestone in the very short history of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) party, as well as in the history of Sierra Leone’s chequered political landscape. The NGC party leadership, launched the final phase of their constitutional consultations with stakeholders, which will be held throughout Sierra Leone in an effort to fully democratise the party.
According to the party’s governing body, the purpose of the constitutional consultations, which started in May 2018 and will end in March this year, is to present a draft revised constitution to the party leaders (i.e. Chairpersons, Women’s Leaders and Youth Leaders) of all districts and constituencies for their final comments.
The next phase of the process is restructuring the party leadership at the constituency, district and regional levels.
All chapter elections in North America and UK&I have already been completed. Consultations with NGC chapters and regions in the diaspora commences today, Sunday 23rd February 2020, says the NGC leadership.
What the NGC is doing that is most significant and strikingly different to all of the other political parties – including the ruling SLPP and the main opposition APC, is that the constitutional reform and structural changes the NGC party is putting in place now, will ensure that the party’s presidential candidate will be elected by the district party conferences and not at the national delegates conference.
This means that for the first time in the contemporary history of Sierra Leone’s politics, there will be primary elections for presidential candidates conducted by a political party. The NGC will be the first political party to introduce primaries to elect their presidential flagbearer.
Whilst other political parties including the ruling SLPP and the main opposition APC are locked in fierce and bitter internal constitutional struggle, the changes that the NGC are now making will not only fully democratise the party, but will ensure that those representing the will of party members are freely and fairly elected by ballot at the local and regional levels.
Consultations for the NGC democratisation process in the Northwest Region of the country were held in Kambia. The process was led by Dr Dennis Bright, Ambassador Daboh, Ambassador Ibrahim Mbaba Kamara, John Bangura – Northern Region Chairman, Dr Obai Kabia, Alhaji Ibrahim Sesay and the Reverend Alfred Munda Sam Foray. The meeting was hosted by the party’s parliamentary representatives – Hon. Foday Mario Kamara, Hon. Baisama Kamara, Hon. Abdul Titus Kamara and Hon Alhaji Kandeh Yumkella.
Similar consultations are also being held for the Southeast in Bo, led by Mr. Francis Hindowa – National Secretary General of the party, Hon. Helen Kuyembeh, Madam I.J. Kabba, Mr. Joseph Maada Kpulun, Mr. Amadu Sheriff, and Haja Memunatu Koroma.
Consultations in the Northeast and Western Area will be held in the coming week. The consultation process will culminate in a National Convention to be held at the end of this year.
Speaking about this ground-breaking democratisation process taking place in the NGA party, Dr Dennis Bright – Chairman and National Leader of the NGC, told the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph that: “In keeping with our promise to provide the best example of internal party democracy in Sierra Leone, the NGC has made a ground breaking decision to choose our flag bearer by holding primaries. That means that all our constituency, district, regional and diaspora executives will be voting to choose our Presidential candidate. We are all set to change the face of politics in Sierra Leone.”
Mr Alan Luke – the newly elected Chairman of NGC UK and Ireland, also spoke to the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph. He said: “This development does not only empower executives at all levels of the party to choose our Presidential candidate, it will make aspirants forge relationships with the electorate from all parts of the country. They would not rely only on local stakeholders to campaign on their behalf, they would have go to all parts of the country and fight for those votes.”
The National Grand Coalition party it seems have set a new standard of democratic politics in Sierra Leone that other political parties in the country will now have to follow, if they are be taken seriously.
Only time will tell whether the constitutional reforms and structural changes that are being proposed by the APC and SLPP will go so far as to include the holding of primaries to elect their party leaders and presidential candidates.