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Re-echoing Mr. President: ...”APC is a Family” PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sayoh Kamara   
Thursday, 30 March 2017 22:09

When a Chairman and Leader of a grass root political party or any organisation has his or her wits about him or her, it helps that political party or organisation to blossom and continue to bury its roots deep down; for it is people who form and make these parties and organisations.

This was exactly what President Ernest Bai Koroma, Chairman and Leader of the All People’s Congress (APC) Party, the Fountain of Honour and Grand Commander of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone, exemplified in his keynote and opening statement at the just concluded conference of the APC National Youth League in Port Loko Town. If there is any moment I would have to remember Mr. President, it would be what he said and how he said what he said at this all important assemblage of the party’s youths. He positioned himself as a unifier and one who upholds in very strong terms, the tradition of one of Africa’s oldest political parties.

Among several sensitive and very crucial statements made on several thematic issues that day, was his clarification on rumours, bickering and rhetoric about how old one should be in the APC to qualify to contest for any elected position within the party. He said the APC is a “a family” and as long as one is registered and is fully paid up, that individual has the right to contest for any position in the party regardless of whether the individual was registered yesterday or last year. This certainly has cleared what seemed to be an orchestration by certain people or group of people to eliminate some of their own by making them appear too new and too young in the party to contest for any elective/selective position in the party, least, the position of flag bearer.

But President Koroma showed his magnanimity once again, by stating that all are equal in the party of their fathers to run for or express interest for any position, for as long as one is a bonafide member and he or she is fully paid up. This proved him once again as a democrat and a liberal politician who believes in performance rather than sheer rhetoric and political manoeuvring and that in any case, the will of the people should prevail to determine what is right in the interest of the party.

The definitive description of the APC party as “a family” bares the hallmark of the Chairman and Leader’s inclusivity and attachment to the ideal of inclusiveness rather than the so-called exclusivity preached by certain segments of the party’s old school. By that description, Chairman Koroma has opened the gates widely for people from all over the country, regardless of their tribe, regardless of earlier political association, regardless of their place of origin, to come to the APC. I must state in categorical terms that the APC before this historical declaration, like its main opponent, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) was considered especially by minority tribal groups as too ethnocentric; with one or two ethnic groups claiming total ownership of them. Chairman Ernest Bai Koroma has therefore demystified that myth and it is now left with party members, who have love and belief in the Chairman, to practicalize this declaration. My belief and the belief of many Sierra Leoneans from minority ethnic groups before now was that they have not been given space within the party’s national structure or opportunities in the top echelon of the party.

People have argued and debated in ghettos, ‘poyo’ bars, night clubs, restaurants, and in ‘poda-poda’ transports, about whether the APC is a Temne or Limba party. Many have argued against that notion and many have equally supported the notion. Before the advent of President Ernest Bai Koroma and his ideology of the ‘New APC’ which gave it clout to woo local and international support enough to grab power from the incumbent SLPP government, the APC was undoubtedly a Temne and Limba party.

Even though it still remains a mystery as to which tribe the late President Siaka Stevens truly belonged, the presence of the late Sorie Ibrahim Koroma (S.I. Koroma) and the late Christian Alusine Kamara-Taylor, who were longstanding First and Second Vice Presidents respectively since the country was turned into a one party state in 1977, the Temnes and the Limbas took claim of the party and asserted their political authority over it. National Executive positions at all levels were virtually shared amongst peoples of these two tribes. That is how the ‘Orgeh’ and ‘Mathorma’ societies became tools of identity to the APC. Between 1980 and 1985, almost every single individual in the APC was either a member of the ‘Orgeh’ or ‘Mathorma’ society and you are either associated with the Temne or the Limba ethnic group. This became the case because over time, it was an accepted norm that only peoples of these two ethnic groups were true-blooded and loyalists of the APC. It was against this background that the late Serry Kamal in about 2002, when Yours Truly had elicited from President Ernest Bai Koroma his desire to run for the flag bearer in the APC had reacted, “Only true-blooded APC will lead the APC”.

Chairman Koroma’s declaration therefore is no mistake. It is a deliberate move to open up the APC party as a national entity and not a secret society that is open only to a selected few. This example, I believe, should be applied by all political parties in this country, be it the SLPP, the PMDC, the PDP, the NDA, ADP, etc. This is also important to those political parties that are formed around individuals and or with tribal inclinations.

The APC National Youth League by all indications appears to understand the direction in which their leader is looking and they resoundingly reaffirmed their support for him by endorsing his continuity as Chairman and Leader of the party for life. The APC in this 21st  Century needs a leadership that collectively believes in inclusiveness and tolerance. That leadership must be equally firm in ensuring that inclusiveness is not cosmetic but a reality where every citizen, irrespective of ethnicity or region, can just become a member of the APC and he or she is not condemned to being an underdog just because he or she comes from a minority tribe or comes from a region that has been branded otherwise.

A political party historically based on marginalizing other ethnic groups or a political party in which sections of its members think that they own the party, as was true for the APC some decades ago, when one or two ethnic groups exerted dominance and ownership of the party, is doomed to die out. It will just be a matter of time. At least in the last nine years, we have seen a dramatic shift in that awful political paradigm. We now see members of minority groups like the Kissis, Konos, Krios, Kurankos, Sherbros, etc registering as members of the APC and are considered for very important positions in its government. This trend also needs to be replicated in the National Executive and the various organs of the party including the NAC, the Women’s Congress and the Youth League. This can be one of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s notable legacies. But if anyone finds it hard to accept that fact, then you are not Sierra Leonean at all because it shows you don’t know your country.

Mr. President actually needs to live on to entrench his philosophy of inclusiveness and to certainly make the APC, in the eyes of Sierra Leoneans, a family. In a family, all are bound to be equal-even the baby that is just born to the parents automatically becomes a bonafide member. To literarily paraphrase what Mr. President told his trusted, competent, proactive and vigilant youths at their recently concluded National Conference: The APC is a family.

Whether someone registers as a member today, or yesterday or last year, he or she is a member and as long as he or she is qualified according to the party’s constitution, that individual has the right to contest for any position within the party. Indeed Mr. President you are not mistaken. You are on the right trajectory of political inclusiveness. A political party, a national institution, should not be seen as under the stranglehold of any individual, or group of individuals whose interests might not be in the collective national interest. Members should feel they are part of the party at all levels. The APC is a family and that is what President Ernest Bai Koroma wants to be ingrained by all and sundry.



2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul


The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in  Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of  the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th  IPRA conference in Turkey,  at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th  IPRA  conference in Istanbul  to serve a second term of two years.


Business News

Four illegal fishing cases found in Sierra Leone in four days

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, April 20, 2017/ -- Four illegal fishing cases have been found during a joint surveillance mission conducted by Greenpeace ( and Sierra Leone fishery authorities. Two Chinese vessels and one Korean vessel have been arrested for infringements of Sierra Leone fishing legislation, including possessing or using illegal fishing nets on board, no visible marking and a lack of required paperwork, including log books and authorisation for unloading catch. Fishing authorities ordered the vessels to return to Freetown port for further investigation. A fourth vessel, owned by an Italian company, was found with four kilograms of shark fins on board. Though not illegal under Sierra Leonean laws, this is a clear violation of European Union (EU) fishing rules. This boat’s case will be taken further with relevant EU authorities.

In addition, more than 70 bags of shark carcasses were found on one of the Chinese vessels.


Media News

Press Freedom under Siege in West Africa: 30 Media Workers Arrested in 38 Days

The 30 victims, made up of 15 journalists and 15 media technicians, were arrested, detained and/or assaulted in 10 separate incidents in four countries namely Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Togo. Nigeria recorded six incidents, Cote d’Ivoire recorded two incidents while Guinea and Togo recorded an incident each.

In Nigeria, seven journalists were arrested and detained during the period. In Cote d’Ivoire, six journalists were arrested and detained in a single incident while one journalist each was affected in Guinea and Togo, bringing the total number of journalists affected to 15. In respect of the other media workers, nine staff of a newspaper printing firm were arrested in single incident. In Cote d’Ivoire, six technicians working with the state-owned television station were also arrested in a single incident.




The Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone has overwhelmingly approved the appointment of Mr Melron Nicol-Wilson as new Ombudsman, on Tuesday April 11, 2017. This follows him being named by H.E President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma as the replacement to Justice Edmond Cowan - a long-standing legal icon, who now chairs the Sierra Leone Constitutional Review Committee.

A man whose action speaks louder than words, Mr Nicol-Wilson has been appointed as new Ombudsman for Sierra Leone, a position reserved for high-profile people, who are well-respected and with unblemished character. Mr Nicol-Wilson has the typical pedigree of an Ombudsman, best known both in Sierra Leone and internationally as a champion for justice and human rights.  

The Parliament’s decision to approve Mr Nicol-Wilson was anticipated, as the high-profile human rights lawyer emerged unscathed from an exchange of views with Members of Parliament.


View Point


(The thoughts expressed in this article are purely and entirely the thoughts of the author)

Election in any democratic setting, include the enjoyment of those rights that will elicit the full participation of individuals in determining the political life of his/her country. An election is a decision making process through which eligible citizens(those who have reached the age of majority, 18 years and above and with sound mind) freely choose their leaders through the ballot box to hold public offices for a specified term.

Generally, people vote with the expectation that the office holders would represent their communitiesand or countries best interest.  Elections are viewed as a central feature of the rule of law, human rights, and democracy. Essentially, election is a testimony to peoples’ sovereignty and that ought to be respected and the process must be credible, otherwise there will be challenge with regards the acceptance of the result.


News - Press Release

Police reject security for Alternative Peoples Independence Procession and Rally

April 24th 2017: On the occasion of the 56th anniversary of Sierra Leone’s independence, Movement for Social Progress (MSP) had requested the Sierra Leone Police to provide the necessary security for a peaceful Alternative Peoples Independence Procession and Rally that was planned to coincide with the official celebrations. The procession was planned to start from Clock Tower to Brima Atouga Stadium in the East end of the city while the official events are scheduled to take place in the West end of the city.

In a meeting with senior members of the Sierra Leone Police at the SLP headquarters, on Monday 24th April attended by the Inspector General, Francis Munu, the Head of Police Operations, Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Al-Sheikh Kamara, AIG Memuna Konteh Jalloh, AIG FUK Dabor, among others, the police top brass told members of MSP that they would not be able to provide security for the procession and rally.

The Inspector General of Police, Francis Munu, informed the meeting that they were overstretched with covering the official events, the traditional masquerade (or Odele) parade as well as the Lantern Parade on the eve of Independence.


Society -Local News

Malaria continues to threaten more than half of the world’s population - Deputy Health Minister

Sierra Leone has joined other countries in the world to commemorated World Malaria Day on the theme: “End Malaria For Good” with the slogan: “Sleep under a Mosquito net always” on Tuesday April 25, 2017 at the St. Anthony Parish hall Brookfields in Freetown.

Launching the World Malaria Day 2017, the Sierra Leone Malaria Indicator Survey 2016 Report and the Sierra Leone Malaria Business Plan 2016 -2018, the Deputy Health and Sanitation  Minister 1, Madam Madina Rahman said malaria continues to threaten more than half of the world’s population and presents an alarming threat to global development.

She informed her audience that as of 2016, an estimated 3.2 billion people, almost half of the world’s population in 97 countries and territories including Sierra Leone are at risk of being infected with malaria.



LAB wants transports to allocate seats to the blind

The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles has disclosed plans to launch a White Cane Campaign in the coming weeks.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles made the disclosure while addressing a cross section of the Waterloo Community including stakeholders at the District Council Hall on Monday, 24 April 2017 in a meeting to plan the launch of the Legal Aid Board in Waterloo in the WesternArea Rural District on 6 May 2017.

She noted that the campaign will seek to address the challenges faced by blind people in using public transport. ‘Blind people have been suffering in silence for far too long,’ she said. ‘They have been discriminated against because of their disability and this cannot be tolerated.’



Former elected Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana left Freetown International Airport, Lungi late afternoon Wednesday April 19, 2017 onboard Kenya Airways on an "Emergency Travel Certificate",  en route to Abuja, Nigeria on or about April 23/24, 2017 for the hearing of his petition filed on October 24, 2016 in the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, "seeking an enforcement of his fundamental Human Rights arising from his unconstitutional removal from office, and for further orders contained in the application."
"This matter has been set down for hearing by the Court for April 26, 2017."
According to a spokesman for the Sam Sumana family Matthias Bendu who was with Sam Sumana at the airport until the aircraft was airborne because of advanced information reaching the family that there would be some problem awaiting Sam Sumana at the airport, Matthias Bendu told this Writer on the cellphone from the airport that Sam Sumana "was detained by Immigration Officers at the airport for more than thirty minutes  after the aircraft  landed, and it was due to the intervention of the Inspector General of Police Francis Munu who told the immigration Officers that Sam Sumana had not committed any crime and must be allowed to travel".
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