The political tense atmosphere in Sierra Leone is not only felt at the corridors of powers but in local pubs, ataya bases, streets squares, and in marketplaces. Citizens are in hot talks over the suitability of wound-be appointees for All People’s Congress (APC) party, the main opposition, running mate.
Dramatic scenes of events are unfolding with just three months to elections. The party had wasted time in court to get its election of various posts to run its affairs. It has just concluded a delegates’ conference in which positions are filled including an aspirant for the presidency.
The strength of people’s discussions at local pubs or ataya bases, and on the streets are gathering at a pace but in peace. But the peace turned to pieces when a group of government security guards disrupted and manhandled some key APC politicians and aides.
The main opposition party, APC, is heating the ground heavily after its delegates’ conference held in Makeni city, north of Sierra Leone between 18,19, and 20 February. The party has elected Dr Samura Kamara as its presidential candidate. Rumours are going in public squares, ‘abaya’ bases, streets relaxation blocks, that Samura Kamara would again appoint Hon. Chernor Rahmadan Maju Bah is his running mate. The law-maker was APC’s running mate for the 2018 elections. But a question of mistrust hangs around his neck as most APC supporters thought of him as a traitor in parliament.
Chericoco is playing dirty politics in parliament as he connives with the government in secret,” say some supporters of APC.
These people are of the view that the law-maker has “betrayed” the party as a leader of APC in the Sierra Leone House of Parliament. “We expected him to have resigned or do otherwise than just talking when those ten MPs were unconstitutionally removed from the well of parliament, “voiced the supporters.
They wished Hon. Chericoco has long since stepped aside as APC leader in parliament. Relying on practical examples in US and UK, an APC supporter seriously questioned the ‘integrity’ of politicians in Sierra Leone. He said Sierra Leonean politicians don’t respect the people’s interests but their interests. The stalwart supporter of the APC party cited an example of UK Labour party leader, Elizabeth Truss, who resigned from her post for having failed to fulfill her promise to the people of England. The reverse, he said, obtains in Sierra Leone as politicians operate in a cloak as they aim to meet their ulterior motive than to satisfy the wishes and interests of the people, the country, and their party.
The supporters argued that all that Chericoco was demonstrating lately in Bintumani Complex to have gone into blows with MPs of the ruling government at a State Summon couldn’t equate the lack of action by him not to have resigned when those ten of his comrades were evicted from parliament by the government. Another group of supporters believes that Hon. Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah has better served the party in parliament as he has always been so vocal on critical issues affecting the party and the nation.
“The man is in the opposition; he must have to be very careful with his choice of words, “said some delegates’ of APC in Waterloo on the street during the party’s match of victory for Samura Kamara. They think that the erudite lawyer, lawmaker, and politician has stood firm with the party in APC’s five years of turbulence. They see him as the fittest of all to be selected running mate. Opponents of the idea prefer Chericoco to be Speaker in the House of Parliament while the newest, richest, and much talked about the politician, Mohamed Kamara famously known as JAGABAN, a Muslim like Chericoco, to be appointed for the post of vice-president if only APC wins June 24 polls.
The race for APC’s running mate is hot as speculations are high among supporters and opponents. Prominent names of women have popped up as well. Madina Rahman is a Muslim and is eyed for the post. The outgoing Mayor Ivonne Aki-Sawyer despite being a Christian is wanted as a running mate. The school of thought that wanted a gender balance for APC presidential aspirant and running mate is fading away as another prominent figure in the party blossoms.
Mayor Sawyerr could be dismissed from the post as Sierra Leone maintains a blend of religion for the post of presidency and vice-presidency being a secular nation. Madina Rahman though a Muslim isn’t as popular as the others.
Since Kono is a ‘swing district’ whose support for both SLPP and APC has waived over the years, Sam Samuel Sumana, former vice-president, is ticked to sway in more votes for APC and to ensure the party gets the victory. So the growing speculations among people for APC’s running mate are tied to three politicians: Chericoco, Mohamed Kamara (JAGABAN), and Sam Sumana.
As Sierra Leoneans decide to choose their next president who is to serve them, the selection of APC’s running mate is pretty tight as a tribal or regional appointment may prove to be a gateway or a way out for the party’s victory ahead of June 24 polls.