If the main opposition, the All People’s Congress failed to win next year’s election, it may not be unconnected to court cases. Litigation upon Litigations, the main opposition, remains in opposition for another five years. The interim chairman, Alfred Peter Conteh has been sued for Contempt by members of the Old APC Executive for allegedly flouting the ruling and directives of the high court.
Erstwhile chairman and leader, Ernest Bai Koroma and the Secretary-General, Osman Foday Yansaneh alleged that the chairman had been taking and publishing unilateral decisions contrary to the simple majority directive issued by the court. “That the plaintiff/contemnor being the chairman of ITGC (Interim Transitional Governance Council) has, on diverse dates, been making and publishing decisions in the name of TTGC without seeking or obtaining the approval of ITGC,” the summon document reads in part.
ITGC is a temporal executive body formed after the Koroma-led executive is dissolved. Their mandate expires after a substantive body is put in place by way of elections. The allegations are serious and will cost the court time to .look into them when APC no longer has time for the elections.
Ernest and Yansaneh are asking the court for Conteh to be detained for contempt. “That the plaintiff/contemnor…Alfred Peter Conteh be committed to prison for contempt of court in that he has deliberately disobeyed or continues to disobey the judgment dated 28th April 2022 of the Honourable Mr Justice Adrian Fisher J,” the document also reads. The matter commences next Wednesday.
The fresh lawsuit will tame APC backwards after much progress has been done. The party is expected to hold a convention within three months according to credible sources. Modalities were being put in place before the fresh lawsuit to ensure that the convention is held. Rules for the conduct of lower-level elections have been formulated and published, and supporters waiting to vote for flag-bearers of their choice.
Several dates for APC’s convention have been missed. The move for a convention began in the days of the erstwhile chairman and leader, former President Koroma. The former party leader slated last June for the party’s convention to be held, but the time was also missed owing to litigations. Problems started in the APC a year after it went out of power in 2018. A convention that was going to be held in PortLoko, the North-Western capital was aborted following a lawsuit. The convention was meant to adopt the old 1995 constitution which contained clauses seen as obnoxious. One of the most hated clauses was the ‘selection clause’ which empowers APC’s leadership to handpick officials of the party including the flag bearer.
The party’s youth who constituted overnight into a body known as the National Reformation Movement (NRM) dragged the party to court. The matter went on in court for months before an out-of-court settlement was reached by the two sides in the interest of peace and unity. APC met almost all NRM’s demands as a way of pacifying the young men and women of the party to walk towards peace.
Peace and cooperation prevailed in the party but were not destined to last long. A third party was in the drama. Peter Conteh, the plaintiff in the present case opened a fresh legal battle by suing APC executive because the members have outlived their normal existence. Contest sat at the helm after he emerged victorious in the legal battle. The Party is never at ease after the temporal executive was formed. Several petitions were made against some ITGC members because they once sat as members of the old Executive.
The interim body’s publicity Secretary, Issa Bumeh Kamara confirmed the petitions. It’s not clear whether the petitions have been resolved. Former Minister of Social Welfare, Dr Sylvia Blyden is seemingly becoming a threat to APC’s existence.
It was reported that she too was about to contest the rules either in the court or the Political Parties Regulation Commission. Many APC members have intimated to this press that the party’s main problems stemmed from the perceived reinstatement of the former Vice President, Sam Sumana.
Key members of the dissolved APC executive have suspected the ITGC
chairman of trying to reinstate former Vice President by surreptitious
means. Although hidden, it could be the basis f for the current litigation. Higher and competent judicial authorities have made it clear to Sierra Leoneans that Chief Sam’s removal from the vice presidency is illegal, a decision that is weighing hard on the country.
The government owes Chief Sam hundreds of thousands of dollars in
compensation owing to the arbitrary removal. The compensation was a
the ruling of the ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States) court which overturned the Supreme Court’s decision, Sierra Leone’s highest court. For a long time, many Sierra Leones had hoped to see Chief Sam’s reinstatement especially after he reconciled with his former boss, ex-President Koroma. Sam Sumana’s reconciliatory move cost him greatly as earned the wrath of his party members.
He abandoned his Coalition For Change party for the APC, a move that attracted bitter criticism and resentment from different sectors. Many Sier Leoneans were of the view that the former Vice President risked it all. Ch Sam’s return to his old root also shocked members of the ruling SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party) who had restored him to his status as a former Vice President.
SLPI’s response to Sam’s reconciliation was terrific. Armed guards looking
after the former Vice President was immediately withdrawn. Two-time Sam Sumana has been deprived of his benefits and retirement allowance by the Bio Administration while all other ministers including former President Koroma have got theirs.
To bounce back to power next year, APC must stop litigations, resolve all conflicts and create the necessary platform for all flag-bearer aspirants only through these measures can APC celebrate victory next June.