Sierra Leone’s opposition APC party must be responsive to calls for unity

Cornelius Oguntola Melvin Deveaux: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 01 February 2021:

Sierra Leone’s main opposition All Peoples Congress is sadly caught up in a complexity of setbacks which are seriously limiting the partys ability to cement the blocks of the foundation of that nation we seek to build on the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance.

Another court case! And God knows how many more litigations to come. However, before delving into the issues of the APC and calls for unity, let me take a moment to bring to the attention of the public the blatant misuse of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) system and how the All Peoples Congress remains placid even as the SLPP voraciously erodes its legacies of good governance.

The All Peoples Congress government of former President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma introduced a Treasury Single Account (TSA) system as a good governance fiscal policy to block financial leakages, enhance effective public expenditure control and the efficient management of public finance, promote transparency and improved financial accountability, and to enhance and enable the consolidation and optimal utilization of government cash resources.

In his handing over notes to the incoming Julius Maada Bio administration in April 2018, former President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma singled out the introduction of the TSA system as one of his key reforms in improving transparency and accountability in the management of public finance.

The architecture of the Treasury Single Account system is to ultimately have a single bank account at the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) to which all revenues or monies collected by the government are deposited and from which all government disbursements are made. It is in line with the provisions of the Fiscal Management and Control Act of 2017 that President Julius Maada Bio on his assumption of office issued an Executive Order to the effect.

The Fiscal Management and Control Act of 2017 compel all MDAs to deposit all revenues into the consolidated revenue fund (CRF). Section 5(1) of the Public Finance Management Act (2016) entrusts the responsibility to manage and control public money through the management of the Treasury Single Account and the planning and forecasting of cash flow on the Minister of Finance. Section 23 of the Finance Act of 2019 and TSA manual launched by the SLPP government in 2020 reinforces this.

Allegations of corruption which have been made public by the Africanist Press and borders on the egregious loot of the consolidated revenue fund is indicative of an opprobrious conduct for which public officials should be censored and held accountable.

(Photo: President Bio and First Lady enjoying  a lavish holiday in Lebanon a few months ago – costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, amidst rising poverty and raging global covid-19 pandemic). 

Yet the Anti Corruption Commissioner, even as he gallivants with an international accolade, sees no reason to probe the veracity of the allegations being made by the Africanist press.

The Bio government should be accountable to the people and should speak to these allegations if it should pride itself as a transparent and accountable government.

Regrettably, the government continues to take Sierra Leoneans for granted and think it owes no moral and constitutional obligation to be transparent and accountable to the people and to respond to these allegations.

The huge financial losses highlighted in the 2019 audit report in tandem with the allegations made by the Africanist press shows a bizarre level of fiscal indiscipline in the management of government spending and an obvious misuse of the TSA system by the SLPP government.

The APC Members of Parliament should call for a probe into the allegations made by the Africanist press. The allegations from the Africanist press are alarming and demand affirmative action. Affirmative action obliges the government to speak out. For the opposition APC, affirmative action should go beyond issuing a press release.

As the main opposition and hope of a nation disgusted with this SLPP administration, history will judge the All Peoples Congress as failing in its obligations to uphold democratic good governance and hold the SLPP government accountable.

The rank and file, and by extension the general public, is not oblivious the APC is laden with an internal strife the preponderance of which are the polarization of party executives across all structures by flagbearer aspirants; an intense horse-trading with the ruling SLPP which jeopardizes the safety and security of well meaning comrades and is undermining the unity and effective functioning of the party as the main opposition in a democracy; a compromised leadership lacking focus, morally and legally questionable and, due to vested interest, have a stranglehold on the ability of the party to position itself as a government in waiting.

The internecine social media warfare is deepening the acrimony and widening the divide. Equally problematic and repulsive, perhaps even more than the court cases, is the high level of sycophancy and hypocrisy being exhibited by the elites of the party.

As a party, we should be responsive to the urgent need for a united and focused APC if we are to effectively hold this government accountable and win the 2023 elections. Or else, we are failing our people.

Comrade chairman and leader (Photo: Ernest Bai Koroma), should provide leadership in uniting the party more than ever before. Unity in the APC is the craving desire, not just, of the rank and file but of a nation and people desperate to vote the SLPP out in 2023.

We must come to terms with the fact that there can be no unity in the APC without a genuine reconciliation that seeks to put the party interest above all other consideration.

One of the recommendations of the Nine-Man committee was to reconcile the party. A committee led by Comrade Alimamy Petito Koroma was established by the secretariat but it seems this committee has not been given preference and as a matter of fact many more have been hurt and the acrimony is nauseating.

It is my view we reconcile the party before convening a national delegates conference to elect new officers and flagbearer. It should be reconciliation before convention and not the other way round.

In conclusion, reconciling the APC is the most important task at hand. It is a sure precursor to ending court cases and the repositioning of the party. And while we may be entangled in the complexity of setbacks, let me urge our APC MPs to demand a parliamentary probe into the veracity of allegations from the Africanist press regarding the misuse of the Treasury Single Account (the consolidated revenue fund) by the SLPP government.

9 Comments

  1. Many thanks Mr Alimamy Turay for your brilliant comment. Frankly speaking, the NRM is on a doomed proxy political mission. Let me be clear to the NRM, that slowing of the APC leadership activities will have less impact on the APC to send the Bio SLPP kakistocracy to the political wilderness in 2023 forever. The NRM wants to hold the legendary and indomitable APC hostage, just like what we now see happening with the SLPP party by the Bio SLPP kakistocracy. If you are not happy to stay in the APC, just say bye and thank you very much. They are going to excellently fail. The only way out is for them to join forces with the majority of the legendary and indomitable APC, sort out their grievances amicably well and move on.

    My advice to the APC leader and the leadership, is to continue to engage with them constructively to come to a reasonable consensus. But if they continue with the notion that the APC must be the first democratic political party in the world, then the leadership of the APC must use all the tools in their constitution and power to bring an end to this silly mess. In the end, the APC Leadership will prevail in my view. Again to the NRM, a democratic political party does not exist. Period! To hell with all those who want to see the downfall of the legendary and indomitable APC. God bless Mr Alimamy Turay and the legendary and indomitable APC. On va les ecraser politiquement en 2023.

    • Sincerest thanks Mr Matturi – my reliable sources have informed me that the NRM is being manipulated behind the scenes like puppets on strings directly from the depths of State House by the crooked Criminal SLPP Cabal – yup,they have been sleeping with the enemies of progress.I heard a beggar mumble some prophet words last time i was in Freetown that gave me the chills;”Our Country is finished,”he grumbled to himself;”men who worship only themselves are now in Power.” I was speechless!

      Yup,a grey-headed beggar sleeping on the streets of Freetown said those revealing words.His utterances were authentic because he had no hidden agenda,he was aiming to benefit from unlike those of our countless self-seeking freeloading doctorate degree holders plundering our meager monetary resources.One of my uncles once said,” The SLPP doesn’t know they are playing a game with rules that change overnight – they think the APC is their at their mercy because they are now in power – hahahahahaha like a squirrel caught inside a merciless lions den they are the ones at our mercy.” True Dat.2023 is not too far away – a hard lesson they will never ever forget awaits them.(lol)

  2. With all honesty, it is difficult to contemplate how a bunch of lunatics can stand in the way of the smooth functioning of a well established political party amid a climate of constant degradation of the country’s constitution by the ruling party, alongside an atmosphere of overt persecution, abject poverty, the strangulation of civil liberties and human rights, and a blatant lack of enthusiasm to address the plight of the suffering masses. Even in the Western World that boasts of political correctness, there is no such party with a perfect constitution within the realm of democratic dispensation. Inherently, there are Capitalist, Socialist and Communist parties in the West, all within the matrix of economic development, although with different constitutions and political agendas.

    If the NRM are allergic to the constitution, etiquettes and ramifications of the APC party, why do they not break away from the party and form their own? Fringe parties like the NGC and C4C came to fruition as a consequence of the inadaptability of certain individuals to the intrinsic ideological construct of the main SLPP and APC parties respectively. When Charles Margai, who grew up with the ethos and values of the SLPP but later became disgruntled with the party, he took the honourable option and formed his party, PMDC. So, what is holding back the NRM faction of the APC from officially declaring themselves as a formidable force in the political limelight of Sierra Leone? Is the NRM a mere bunch of slickers whose main objective is to CAPITALISE on the brand name of the APC, at the detriment of the people they seek to represent?

    In the midst of it all there is the chronically corrupt Judiciary that seems trigger-happy to exploit the negatives of the APC whilst turning a blind eye to their positives. The APC would have to come out boldly and respond to the wailing cry of the masses. Apparently, the current problems of the party are not only within, but they have to steadfastly look over their shoulder as well. In the first instance, the APC don’t need the NRM! And apart from strengthening their solidarity and comradeship within the party, the should also seek to review the rules of engagement and the terms and conditions of the membership of the party. There is undoubtedly a cartel of political mafiosos unravelling in the country against the indomitable APC.

    • Absolutely well said – my Big bro Alimamy the “Illustrious Turay” If the NRM and others are not happy with the way the legendary APC conducts its business then let them “Hit the Road” for they are nothing but a bunch of opportunist trying to exploit the brand name of the APC as you indicated above.What type of marriage is the NRM looking for with the APC? Is it one of convenience or that of true love?

      Seems to me like they have their own hidden agendas and are out to seek only their own interests.Over the years I have been warning family members that are ardent supporters of the APC that there were enemies within our political house but I was ignored and shrugged off as being too overly cautious – now they have seen the light and all of them have started calling me a “Prophet of Truth.”(lol)

      Its seems to me Alpha Kanu,Sylvia Blyden,the NRM and others do not understand the real meaning of the words ‘Loyalty to the Cause’ and the reasons why those who aspire,and prepare to reach the highest echelons of Political Power should learn how to fall in line with the vision and objectives of current APC leaders.Its time for the APC to put her house in order and she must begin in earnest by “TAKING THE TRASH OUT”(lol)Let’s Go!

  3. When I hear about the APC intention to win power in 2023, it makes me angry and very sad. What new plans have they come up with and for how much are they prepared to sell said plans to the Sierra Leonean people? Or is it not time for us to abolish all political parties and come up with another plausible way of running the country?

    • That’s a would be a star, Mr Peter Dauda. The reality of course since we gained independence, our country has only known two major political powers, used as vehicles for politicians aspiring for high political office. Even military dictatorship in their most inhumane form, only reconnect with the general population, and put a semblance of human face in their government, through the use of political parties. Doe of Liberia, Idrish Debby of Chad, Rawlings of Ghana, Conteh of Guinea, and dear I say if Strasser had converted himself to civilian rule.

      The reality in our country,just like all major democracies the two party system is perfect. Its not APC or SLPP or any other party that is the problem. Our institutions are perfect. Its the politicians or personnel responsible for ensuring these state institutions are run for the benefit of everyone, that are the problem. They are the ones that are corrupt.

      If the police, Army, Teachers, Doctors, Nurses, Fire services, Prison officers, Custom officers are corrupt – its not the institution per say but the people working in them. That’s why we need to instil accountability, responsibility, and a strong sense of work ethics, and love for our country and flag. Otherwise our country is doomed, until a different generation comes along and do things differently. Einstein once said “The definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome.” Mathematically, that is factually correct. But politically, if we apply the same principle, Einstein is wrong. I would say if you do the same over and over again,at some point you will perfect it. In the nutshell our corrupt politicians have mastered the art of corruption, and denied our country much needed development.

  4. How can the APC party call for accountability now, when for over ten years in office they never ever displayed any level of public accountability? Is it all because of the ramifications of the outcome of the government white paper following the Commission of Inquiry?

  5. A healthy democracy needs a healthy opposition. Its not only good for the party and the government in power, but it helps to check the excesses of the ruling party by holding them accountable for their policies and actions and giving the government support in areas they feel the government is getting things right. Right now the APC party is going through a soul searching moment. All this infighting is self inflicted wounds. The only people that stand to gain from it, are Bio and his government. Those that are threatening to tear the party apart should not be encouraged or tolerated with such misplaced adventures, because it only serves one purpose to the eye of the voters, that the SLPP is the disciplined party as we head for 2023.

    Those parties that engaged in infighting will be spending a lot of years in the political wilderness of despair. If you think of it like a football match, the SLPP turing up for the match, whilst the APC is still locked up in the locker room squabbling over who should be the Captain of the team, it undermined confidence in the team, and the supporters in the stands, in this case the voting public are growing impatient. The only people that needs the RED CARD in 2023 is Bio and his team. The APC don’t need a Messiah, but a leader that can lead and knows exactly what he wants to do, to booth Bio out of office . The goal is setting aside individual egos and chalked out aspirations goals on how to play a constructive role, rather than detrimental roles that damage the party, and the future of our country’s democracy and development goals.

    The APC should have a definite and clearly defined programme for the country, that they can sell to the electorate. Their aim should be to change the narrative and offered a well-researched development programme that they can implement on day one of taking office. Learn from the strength of the governing SLPP and try to understand the sentiments and expectations of the ordinary Sierra Leonean voters. The question for the APC leadership then becomes – why are people attracted to the other parties? And you can’t answer that with infighting or jostling for positions. The APC should be a party of the people, for the people and all people, North, South, East, West. Sierra Leone cannot afford a government without a strong opposition. It is not good for our democracy. Stop these petty fights for the interest of the party and the country.

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