Sierra Leone Telegraph: 31 January 2021:
The future of Sierra Leone’s main opposition All People’s Party (APC) is looking bleak by the day, as questions are being asked about whether it will have the legal authority to hold its national convention in a few months, amid battle to overturn a court injunction.
The long-drawn court wrangling between the National Reformation Movement (NRM) – a breakaway faction of the APC party and the executives of the APC is still in motion, and no one knows where that will end, as argument continues about the legitimacy of the APC party’s national executive committee, whom many believe have overstayed their office.
About a week ago (25th January 2021), the National Secretary General of the APC – Dr. Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh, published a statement – following a meeting of its the National Advisory Committee (NAC), announcing a timetable for the holding of its various district conventions, culminating in a National Delegates Conference which he said will take place on 28th to 29th May this year.
This decision, the APC National Secretary General said is “pursuant to Article 184.108.40.206 of the 5th of December 1995 APC Constitution”. (Photo above: NRM members stopped the last APC convention).
The election of its 2023 Presidential election candidate is expected to take place at the National Delegates Conference scheduled to take place on 28th to 29th May 2021.
But prior to holding its National Delegates Conference in May, the party’s executives are planning to convene an emergency Delegates Conference on the 24th – 25th February 2021, to adopt the draft Constitution that will replace its 1995 Constitution, which many now describe as unfit for purpose.
Following the adoption of the new Constitution, in April 2021, the Party will organise a plethora of mini conventions: 8th – 14th April 2021: Constituency Conventions; 19th – 23th April 2021: District Conventions; 28th – 30th April 2021: Regional Conventions excluding the Diaspora Region; 7th – 9th May 2021: Diaspora Chapter Conventions; 11th – 12th May 2021: Diaspora Branch Conventions; 15th May 2021: Diaspora Regional Convention; 16th May 2021: Women’s Congress Convention; 17th May 2021: National Youth League Convention; 18th May 2021: Veterans Convention.
And on 28th – 29th May 2021, the party’s National Delegates Conference is scheduled to take place.
The legal argument between the lawyers representing members of the NRM and the APC will continue at the High Court on 22 February 2021, when it is hoped that the Judge will make a ruling as to whether to quash the injunction that has paralysed the APC party for well over two years.
Any continuation of the court injunction beyond 22 February 202, will scupper the party’s plans to adopt its new Constitution in the next twenty-four days, as well as elect its 2023 presidential election candidate at its National Delegates Conference in May 2021.
Meanwhile, the ruling SLPP party – enjoying the power of incumbency, held its National Executive Council meeting in Kenema City on Saturday, 23rd January 2021, where President Bio addressed his party members and the country.
Addressing the National Executive Council members of the ruling SLPP at the meeting held in Kenema for the first time since becoming Party Leader, President Dr. Julius Maada Bio called for party unity. He called on party members to embrace those who had left the party and to accommodate new members in the interest of party unity.
He noted that this is in the best interest of the party. “This is not only necessary, but it is the right and proper thing to do,” said President Bio, promising to make the SLPP more attractive by making it accountable to its membership.
“We have to make our party more accountable and transparent. That is the best way to attract donor funding, since we are one of the oldest surviving political parties in Africa”, President Bio said, as he called on party members to ensure that they elect vibrant and passionate people to represent them in Parliament in 2023.
President Bio called on SLPP members to work for the party and protect the values that the party stands for since its formation in 1951; thanking party members for creating the platform for him to contest as the party’s flag bearer in 2018 and for voting overwhelmingly for him to become Head of State and President of Sierra Leone. He also thanked Sierra Leoneans for reposing confidence in him and the SLPP party in 2018 by voting the APC out of power.
The SLPP NEC meeting held in Kenema was chaired by the party’s National Chairman, Dr. Prince Alex Harding, who called on party members and supporters to continue to support and have confidence in the leadership of the party.
The party’s National Secretary General – Umaru Napoleon Koroma called on party members to continue to have faith in President Bio and the SLPP. He said that the SLPP is the best party for the country and admonish members to conduct peaceful lower-level elections which are scheduled to commence next month – February 2021.
The SLPP Kenema meeting agreed the following timetable:
Convening of the National Executive Council to agree on the guidelines for conduct of executive elections, to agree on the venue for conduct of Women and Young Generation Conferences to be held on 23rd of January 2021 in Kenema Town. To allow a further 14 days’ notice to be given to all regions to fully prepare for the discussions and approval of the rules and regulations.
Submission of the Adopted and Approved amended guides to the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) for Gazetting on 25th of January 2021 to 12th of February 2021, in line with the provisions of the PPRC Act.
Conduct all Sectional/Zonal Elections across the country on 27th of February 2021; Conduct all Chiefdom elections across the country on 6th of March 2021; Conduct constituency executive elections across the country on 13th March 2021; Conduct all district executive elections across the country, All Chapters/Branches in the Diaspora on 20th March 2021; Conduct all Regional Executive elections across the country, and all Diaspora Regions on 27th of March 2021; Convene the National Young Generation Conference and conduct the elections for the National Young Generation Council executive on 3rd of April 2021 in Moyamba; Convene the National Women’s Council and elect the National Women’s Leader and Deputy National women’s Leader on 10th of April 2021 in Port Loko.
The National Executive Council Meeting of the SLPP party to validate the elected delegates and the publication of the list of all delegates at the District Party Offices for 21 days in line with the Supreme Court Ruling in the case of Alie Bangura, will be held on 17th of April 2021 at the Party’s Headquarters Freetown.
The SLPP National Delegates Conference for the Election of key National Executive members including the Chairmanship of the party will be held on the 21st and 22nd of May 2021 in Bo City.
Frustrating stuff. However, the race is not for the swift neither the battle for the strong. I believe in slow but sure and steady. God help the legendary and indomitable APC in selecting the best candidate who will help them win the 2023 elections with overwhelming majority. TBC.