APC Might Not Have A Flag Bearer This Year

There is growing fear that the main opposition, All People Congress (APC) might not have a flag bearer this year to lead them in the 2023 general elections.

This is according to a publication from News 24 on Tuesday 17 May 2022.

The full publication is stated below:

“We are gradually ending the first half of 2022. It remains 7 months for 2022 to bid farewell.

General elections (presidential, parliamentary, and local council) are to be held simultaneously on 24th June 2023. As things stand, only the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has endorsed a presidential flag bearer in the person of the sitting president, His Excellency Brigadier (Rtd) Julius Maada Wonnie Bio.

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If one had gone through the 66-page ruling of Justice Adrian Fisher, in the case between Alfred Peter Conteh (plaintiff) versus Ernest Bai Koroma (1st Defendant), Osman Foday Yansaneh (2nd Defendant), All Peoples Congress (3rd Defendant), and the Political Party Registration Commission (4th Defendant); one would infer that the if care is not taken the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) might not elect a flagbearer this year for next year’s presidential election.

According to the ruling of Justice Adrian Fisher, the plaintiff (Alfred Peter Conteh) and the leader of APC in parliament (Hon. Chernor R.M Bah) are to establish a 21-man Committee known as the Interim Transition Governance Committee (ITGC), comprising 9 persons from the plaintiff and 12 from APC’s parliamentary leader on 13th May 2022.

Whether it was done as a fulfillment of the order from the court or based on charade, the said committee has been established with the responsibility to carry out the affairs of the party until the election of national officers during the National Delegate Conference when their time expires.

For the conduct of all lower-level elections, the Committee is also charged with promulgating rules and procedures which shall be in compliance with the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, the APC 2022 Constitution, and the Political Parties Act of 2002 within 14 days upon assuming office; meaning not later than Friday 27th May 2022.

The judgment ordered that the said rules shall be forwarded to The PPRC not later than 3rd June 2022 which shall be subsequently gazetted.

Provided there is no objection to the gazetted rules and procedures for the conduct of elections, the ruling states that the ITGC should ensure the conduct of lower-level elections within 60 days through the Transitional Interim Independent Elections Management Committee (TIIEMC). Interestingly, the said 60 days might run until September 2022.

The Justice Adrian Fisher’s ruling also orders the conduct of the APC National Delegate Conference within 28 days after the completion of all lower-level elections. Again, this might run into late October 2022.

It is also important to note that, the ruling orders the APC to resolve all membership disputes prior to the National Delegates Conference and ensure that membership disputes that are required to be dealt with at the National Delegate Conference are resolved at the said conference by its inclusion on the agenda.

The ruling also orders the appointment of an audit firm to audit the out-gone APC executive for a period covering October 2017 to 28th April 2022. Upon appointment, the audit firm shall within 60 days complete and hand over its report to the Interim Transition Governance Committee (ITGC) which in turn shall forward a declaration of the party’s income, assets and liabilities to the PPRC within 14 days upon receiving the final audit report.

The 2nd Defendant (Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh) is also ordered to have on Friday 13th May 2022 provided and submitted to the Chairman of the ITGC a signed detailed financial statement of expenditures of all funds held in the All Peoples Congress of different accounts and how the same has been expended on behalf of the party from October 2017 to 28th April 2022.

The ruling further provides for the establishment of a Transitional Interim Independent Elections Management Committee (TIIEMC) comprising 25 persons and chaired by the chairman of APC’s constitutional review committee.

Except for the chairman, all remaining members of the TIIEMC shall be appointed by the Interim Transition Governance Committee (ITGC).

The TIIEMC shall conduct all ward, constituency, district and regional elections in the party within the different stipulated time frames mentioned above.

It is also important to note that the then APC executive officials at zonal, constituency, district, regional and national levels have been declared illegitimate and ordered to vacate their respective positions forthwith. The same applies to the party’ssecond-highestt organ, the National Advisory Council (NAC).

Cautioning the defendants, Justice Fisher says on the first paragraph on page 63:

“If you disobey these orders, you may be found guilty of contempt of court and may be sent to prison or fined or your assets may be seized.”

From the above legal, administrative, and political submissions emanating from the ruling, it is clear that the APC cannot and should afford to make mistakes or violations of the court orders if the party is to accordingly and speedily conduct all elections, including that of the party’s 2023 presidential election flagbearer. If not, the APC might not have a flagbearer this year, because every breach would lead to a court case(s) thereby delaying the processes leading to the flagbearership election.

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