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The APC Convention: A political façade, if not a joke! PDF Print E-mail
View Point
Written by Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, Senior Lecturer, Media and Politics, Northumbria University, UK   
Friday, 20 October 2017 12:33

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.

The APC Convention

I must say that I was concerned about the very flawed process of selecting, rather than electing, the APC presidential flagbearer, Dr Samura Kamara and his running mate, Chernor Maju Bah, as well as the national executive committee of the party, for the March 7 2018 elections. By singlehandedly sanctifying and implementing such a very problematic process, President Ernest Koroma blatantly defied basic democratic protocol and denied all the hundreds of APC delegates who braved all odds to be at the conference the right to vote for the candidates of their choice. This is not only a bad precedent in our fledgling democracy butperhaps more disturbing; it is a recipe for chaos with ramifications not just for the ruling APC party but also for the peace of Sierra Leone as a whole. Social media platforms are already awash with images and videos of protests and burning of APC posters in Port Loko, Kono reaction to the selection of the APC ticket.

Moreover, most APC delegates abandoned the convention hall in Makeni as soon as the names of the selected national executive members (largely dominated by the same people), the flagbearer and his running mate were announced. It did not come as a surprise, therefore, to see proceedings at the convention coming to an abrupt end no sooner the selected flagbearer and his running mate came to the podium following invitation by President Koroma with no time for victory speeches.It really made a mockery of the APC convention and I honestly wonder why all the 28 candidates who declared their intentions to run for the APC ticket wasted their time crisis-crossing the country to campaign for votes when they knew that there was in fact not going to be any opportunity for anyone to vote for them. The whole thing smacks of a political façade, if not a joke!

Some commentators have likened this autocratic process to that of electing a new pope. However, I honestly find this parallel to be problematic since a Pope, who is also a Bishop of Rome, is elected (not selected) by a two-thirds supermajority of the College of Cardinals. Perhaps the nearest thing to what happened at the APC convention one can think of is the election, or rather selection, of the Chinese president every ten years.However, even here there could be a problem since the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s highest state body, which also has power to remove the president and other state officials, elects the Chinese president. The election or removal of a president or state official is decided by a simple majority vote. On the contrary, no such thing as a simple majority vote by the convention delegatesor the members of APC’s NEC, took place at the APC convention.What happened was that President Koroma and other members of the APC NEC emerged from a short meeting where they claimed to have held consultations, not election, and the next thing we saw was somebody announcing the list of the supposed selected new NEC members; delegates were then asked to endorse the list by a show of hands. The television cameras of AYV unfortunately did not show the delegates raising their hands in endorsement, if at all they did.Even if they did endorse the list in that way this would have hardly made any difference since it was highly likely that any dissenting voice would have been quickly silenced, or bundled out of the hall. President Koroma, who doubles as chairman and leader of the party for life, was then given the honour of the last word, which he used to announce his selected flagbearer and running mate without referring to the APC NEC. What was even more discouraging for democracy was the similar simple endorsement of President Koroma’s imposition of himself as ‘leader for life’ of the APC party without a single dissenting voice in the convention hall. This can perhaps only be compared to what we often see in communist North Korea. But I am sure it will not be long for us to start seeing how unsustainable all these internal political machinations of the APC would turn out to be!

The SLPP Convention

What happened at the SLPP convention in Freetown turned out to be in sharp contrast to what happened at the APC convention in Makeni. It was a clear culmination of the first SLPP convention, which took place about three weeks earlier in Kenema between September 15 and 17. According to manydelegates and independent observers, who attended the convention in Kenema, the National Executive Committee members of the main opposition party were elected in free, fair and transparent elections organised by an independent electoral commission set up by the former SLPP NEC.According to press reports, candidates for NEC positions openly and peacefully campaigned for the votes of the delegates who in turn cast their votes for the candidates of their choice in secret ballots.The same electoral commission organised the election of the SLPP presidential flagbearer at the SLPP convention, which I watched live on the screen of my mobile phone thanks to AYV powered by AFCOM.The processes and procedures were very similar to what happened at the SLPP convention in Kenema as all five flagbearer candidates were given the platform to make the case for their candidacy.The supporters of the candidates wereallowed to move around to campaign for the votes of the party delegates, who were later called one by one to cast their vote after verification of their identity.From the way I saw it on AYV TV, the whole process wasnot only peaceful but also largely free, fair and transparent, thus meeting all the ingredients of a truly democratic process. Moreover, here unlike what we saw at the APC convention, Maada Bio, who emerged as the clear winner of the SLPP flagbearer election with 475 votes had the opportunity to deliver his victory speech amidst thunderous applause. (John Benjamin, who polled 116 votes, came second; followed by Dr Alie Kabba-11; Munda Rogers-10; and Bond Wurie-6). I was therefore not sure why panellists who took part in the discussion of the AYV Sunday programme anchored by Angela Ngweni, which I also followed, struggled to accept and say the hard but honest truth about the reality of the marked difference between what happened at the APC and SLPP conventions when asked. Almost all three contributors to the programme sang from the same hymn sheet in comparing the two conventions as being manipulated and yet still mustered the courage to openly admit that the APC convention was based on selection while the SLPP one was based on election. But of course, the devil is in the detail because the question is raised if, as they admitted, the APC convention was based on selection, and the SLPP one on election, then where the hell is the parallel they were talking about? I was particularly appalled to hear one of the panellists, Dr Abu Bakar Kargo, who, by the way, taught me International Relations at FBC, University of Sierra Leone, praising President Ernest Koroma for imposing his candidates on the APC delegates, because, according to him, political leaders are supposed to tell their people what is good for them, and not the other way round. However, with all due respect to my former professor, I beg to defer; while I agree that political leaders are supposed to provide leadership and direction for their people, this must be done in consultation with them in a true democratic spirit. Unfortunately, as things turned out this was not what happened at the APC party convention.

I want to end this piece by strongly recommending that the Political Parties Registration Commission consider the possibility of introducing some guidelines, perhaps in the future, which would ensure that all political parties follow democratic procedures and processes of electing party executives and presidential flagbearers.




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


The Parliament of Sierra Leone on Monday 04th December 2017 debated and ratified two additional agreements aimed at improving and expanding Ports facilities in Sierra Leone to be at par with international best practices.

Presenting both Agreements prior to ratification, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Balogun Koroma said that the additional Agreements are geared towards addressing some of the concerns raised by MPs, in respect of expanding our Ports facilities to accommodate larger vessels, and the issuance of license with the view of combating money laundering, contra-band goods, and attracting more funds for Government.

Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader of the House, also supported the ratification of the two Agreements, saying if our Ports are not developed, we would not be able to attract huge vessels; thus the need for the continuous improvement of our Ports facilities.


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.




Your Excellency Sir,

For over a month now, since the ECOWAS Regional Court in Abuja, Nigeria handed down their landmark opinion on the Vice President, Samuel Sam-Sumana’s appeal law suit against his “unconstitutional removal” from power by your APC government, having been legally sanctioned by the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone, I have been taken, both by extreme trepidation and satisfaction, as I continue my reflection. In their ruling, (in resume,) the ECOWAS Courtoverturned” the Sierra Leone Supreme Court’s seemingly “compromised” opinion that saw Mr. Sam Sumana arbitrarily or constitutionally deposed from his position as the duly elected Vice President of Sierra Leone (alongside you,) midway your second presidential tenure in 2015; just after the infamous Ebola viral epidemic devastating scourge on Sierra Leone. The ECOWAS Court ruling therefore “ordered” the immediate reinstatement of the vice president, furthering that all backlog of his remunerations and emoluments be accorded him, from the time he was sacked, to date; along with his claim for damages of U. S. $ 250 million.

Upon the ruling by this higher regional court, I have had to do some very sober reflections and musing over the “political manoeuvres” and intrigues that originally erupted from an internal APC party wrangling that proceeded to the Sierra Leone parliament, and had to eventually culminate into what most objective and independent legal minds considered a “blatant travesty of justice and breach of our constitution.” This ruling also brought a legal embarrassment to the Sierra Leone justice system in the sub region, continent and world over. And whereas I would not want to meddle with the political ramifications and implications of that higher regional court’s “legal opinion,” I would like to briefly examine the moral and economic considerations, as I objectively see them. This then obviously takes me back to my caption question that I would summarize as “Who Pays the ECOWAS Court’s Ruling Charges??”


View Point


Dear Mr. President, events leading to, including the horrible aftermath of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, the twin disasters of mudslide and flooding convey unarguably a fatalistic dose of stress. Worsening is the inflation of basic food stuff and the devaluation of our Leones which has made life very difficult for the average citizens.

Mr. President,stress is increasingly becoming visible in the conduct of most Sierra Leoneans; hence stress is a pressure or worry caused by the problems in somebody's life.

Before 2007 elections, protestation songs by Emmerson Bockarie, Innocent and "Dry yai crew" assumed the role of the opposition parties against the Tejan Kabbah-led SLPP government. Today, public transport cabs/buses, ghettos and the ‘Ataya base’ have now assumed that position in venting out frustrations against your APC led government.


News - Press Release

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation presents AWOL Awards to outgone Minister

(MFAIC Press Office, 4th January, 2018). The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr. Kaifala Marah has presented the All Walks Of Life (AWOL) prestigious award of ‘Best Ministry of the Year 2017’  to the outgone Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara at a press conference held at the Ministry’s conference Hall, Tower Hill, Freetown.

In his brief statement before officially handing over the award to the outgone Minister, Dr. Marah gave a brief overview of the introduction of performance contracts in 2014 by His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma that set in motion the process of enhancing and operational mandates in various MDAs. It is against this background that the Ministry was among the five best performing Ministries based on the outcome of the Ministry’s Performance Contract Assessment Report for 2016/17 (Performance Tracking Table – PTT) in the country.

Dr. Kaifala Marah lauded the relentless efforts of Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara, during whose tenure the Ministrydeveloped and articulated, for the first time ever, a comprehensive strategy to guide and re-invigorate the national approach to foreign policy and international cooperation in a rapidly changing global environment.


Society -Local News

Deputy Health Minister leads Seven-man delegation to the Fourth Conference of African Ministers responsible for Civil Registration in Mauritania

A Seven-man delegation led by the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation 1, Madam Madina Rahman have returned home after attending the Meeting of Experts of the Fourth Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration from 4-8 December 2017 in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The theme for the meeting was “Accelerating a coordinated improvement of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics for implementation and monitoring of the development agenda in Africa: Review of progress and the way forward”.

The Meeting was attended by representatives from Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, Congo, Cote d’ Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, the Niger, Nigeria, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, the Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.




The Ambassador of the State of Israel to the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Ambassador Chaim Choshen today 4th January 2018 paid a courtesy call on Sierra Leone's Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Ambassador Omrie Michael Golley, at the Sierra Leone Mission in Seoul, the South Korean Capital. 

Ambassador Choshen, who was appointed as Ambassador of Israel to South Korea in August 2016, expressed his appreciation for being warmly received by his Sierra Leonean host and counterpart, and stated that his Government was very keen to expand its relations with Africa, citing the examples of Official Visits in recent months by the Israeli Prime Minister Mr Benjamin Netanyahu to various countries in Africa.

Recounting the recent Official Visit of His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma to Israel, Ambassador Omrie Golley stated that the recent visit of President Koroma underscored the importance that his Government was attaching to expanding Sierra Leone's ties with Israel, particularly in the economic sphere.



It will not be business as usual – Bio assures diaspora

He was passionate, confident and assuring as he addressed hundreds of Sierra Leoneans at the prestigious Royal Regency Hall in London on Saturday 9th December 2017 with a very simple message that as the next President it will not be business as usual.

For a man who has a solid track record as a disciplinarian, Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio continues to attract many voters who feel the country needs a strong and disciplined leadership.

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