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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.



26th IPRA Conference in Sierra Leone Ends on a High Note

The International Peace Research Association (IPRA) successfully held its 26th General Conference on ‘Agenda for Peace and Development: Conflict Prevention, Post-Conflict Transformation, and the Conflict, Disaster Risk and Sustainable Development Debate’ in collaboration with the 10TH Dealing With Disasters Series, Northumbria University (UK)and Sakarya University (Turkey) and  the University of  Sierra Leone at the Bintumani Conference Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone from November 27 to 1st December 2016.


Business News

Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, speaks to The Worldfolio about the investment opportunities in Sierra Leone

John D. Okrafo-Smart, Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, speaks to The Worldfolio about the investment opportunities in Sierra Leone and gives his insight into the banking landscape.

Excerpts shared by Sheriff Mahmud Ismail

The Government of Sierra Leone is placing great priority in improving the business climate, enhancing infrastructure and support to private sector development. In line with the government focus, the Central Bank is targeting price stability in support of economic recovery, enhancing monetary policy instruments and liquidity management and also limiting intervention in the foreign exchange market, which will be important to preserve foreign exchange reserves.

The above measures will help in the strengthening of the banking system to support financial intermediation. Commercial banks are thus poised to benefit and take advantage of the improved economic and business environment by offering better services to their customers, including loans and overdrafts and forex to import, thereby creating wealth and boosting government revenue.


Media News

Two veteran Journalists, now in the United States have paid a courtesy call on Sierra Leone's Ambassador

Two very respected and veteran Journalists who are in the United States of America for various reasons have called on Sierra Leone’s Amr. Bockari Kortu Stevens not only to appreciate the work of the Embassy, but also to pay courtesy as protocol demands.

Mr. Rod Mac-Johnson, former Lecturer Fourah Bay College, former Director of Information Ministry of Information and Communications, Former Director Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA), Former Chairman Independent Media Commission (IMC) and stringer French News Agency  etc. is on vacation and Mr. Cyril Juxon Smith Director Information and Communications House of Parliament, former Acting Director General Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) and former UNESCO Media Consultant  is in the United States of America to attend the funeral of his father.

Speaking at the Ambassador’s residence on 4821 Colorado Avenue, Washington DC  Mr. Rod Mac-Johnson said “Thank  you Amr. Stevens for accommodating us in the middle of your tight schedule, and also to discuss with us in a homely spirit.



Dr. Tam Baryoh’s Only Crime!

Boris Johnson as a Journalist worked at The Times and Daily Telegraph newspapers. He edited The Spectator newspaper between 1999 and 2006. He was Member of Parliament for Henley from 2001 to 2008 and was also Mayor of London. He is a member of the Conservative Party and the current UK Foreign Secretary.

Nnamdi Azikiwe was to serve as the first president of independent Nigeria from 1963 to 1966. He opened and edited a number of newspapers in Ghana and Nigeria and later became an active politician. Obafemi Awolowo was a great Nigerian politician. He also was an active journalist and edited The Nigerian Worker, amongst other publications.

There is a clear link between politics and journalism though, there seems to be a very thin boundary, or perhaps, “a reflective door in the firewall, such that with time, politicians and journalists cross the line changing roles and moving from side to side,” argues Aminat Afolabi in a piece, titled ‘Politics and Journalism, the Interwoven Relationship between Them.”


View Point

The APC Convention: A political façade, if not a joke!

Thanks to AYV partnered by AFCOM, I was able to followthe live coverage of the APC and SLPP conventions on my mobile phone from my base in the UK.It was good that both conventions took place simultaneously last week end (October 15-16, 2017) because, at the very least, it provided the opportunity to those keenly following the two historic events to compare and contrast them, not least in terms of democratic processes and procedures. Let me start by talking about how I saw the APC convention held in Makeni, then compare,and contrast it with what I saw at the SLPP convention held in Freetown.


News - Press Release

EU Election Exploratory Mission meets Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

(MFAIC Press Office, 18th October, 2017). The European Union Election Exploratory Mission to Sierra Leone led by Head of European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone, H.E. Tom Vens has paid a working visit to the Minister, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara and Senior Management Staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, at the Ministry’s office in Tower Hill, Freetown.

Ambassador Tom Vens stated that the EU Election Exploratory Mission is in Sierra Leone following an invitation by the Government of Sierra Leone for EU Electoral assistance, and to further discuss the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in facilitating EU Observer Mission for the March 2018 elections in the country. The EU Election Exploratory Missionas part of its mandate is in the country to draft and finalise the MOU with the Government of Sierra Leone through the Foreign Ministry.


Society -Local News

The State of World Population 2017: Unchecked inequality and failure to protect the rights of poorest women could undermine peace and world’s development goals, new UNFPA report warns

• Only about half of the world’s women hold paid jobs

• Globally, women earn 77 per cent of what men get

• Three in five women worldwide lack maternity leave, many pay “motherhood penalty”

Freetown, SIERRA LEONE, 17 October 2017-Unless inequality is urgently tackled and the poorest women empowered to make their own decisions about their lives, countries could face unrest and threats to peace and development, according the The State of World Population 2017, published today by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

The costs of inequalities, including in sexual and reproductive health and rights, could extend to the entire global community’s goals, adds the new UNFPA report, entitled, “Worlds Apart: Reproductive Health and Rights in an Age of Inequality.”



U.S. Ambassador launches National Early Warning Systems Project, funded by USAID

On Wednesday, October 18, U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Maria E. Brewer, announced the official launch of the USAID West Africa-funded “Mitigating Election Violence through National Early Warning Systems” (NEWS) project and the inauguration of the National Elections Response Group in Sierra Leone.

Supported by $500,000 from USAID, NEWS is implemented by the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) in Sierra Leone. The focus is to monitor and identify potential electoral violence triggers and assist government and non-government organizations in Sierra Leone to better mitigate them.
The National Elections Response Group (NERG) is a partnership under the NEWS project, between WANEP, the Inter-Religious Council, the Campaign for Good Governance, government stakeholders, representatives from the National Electoral Commission, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Office of National Security (ONS) and a number of civil society organizations.

The primary objective of the National Elections Response Group (NERG) is to monitor the elections environment, develop, and recommend strategies and actions to relevant stakeholders with authority to implement necessary response actions to prevent escalation of tensions or incidence of violence for a peaceful 2018 election. Members of the NERG will work closely with WANEP, the Integrated Election Security Planning Committee under the ONS, Provincial and District Election Security Committees – PROSEC and DISEC with an extensive network of civil society organizations and with 60 community monitors across the country to identify potential risks of electoral violence.



PRESIDENT KOROMA SAYS… “I am very proud of Ansumana Usman Koroma”

President Dr Ernest BaiKoroma has informed Sierra Leoneans that, “I am very proud that we have people like Ansumana. We need many more Ansumana Usman Koromas that will go out there as Ambassadors of our country, showing and telling a good story about Sierra Leone.”

Whilst speaking at his Presidential office in Freetown, President Koroma affirmed that, “I am very proud of Ansumana and I am encouraging him to do more by helping his people.”

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