Out of an unquenched thirst for power, Senior APC (All People’s Congress) members are moving for an end to Samura Kamara’s leadership relying on the party’s constitution. Their argument holds that, according to APC’s constitution, Kamara’s mandate will expire this December, and must give way to a fresh executive to man the affairs of the party.
Although the argument lingers, the exact provision of the constitution on which they rely on remains absurd at the moment, but they might go to court for interpretation in the near future. As news about the anti-Samura campaign filters through the public, grassroots members of APC prepare for a robust resistance as they pledge to recognise Dr. Samura Kamara as the party’s leader after December this year until the real results of June-24 elections are released.
For the grassroot, Kamara did not lose June elections and should continue to hold the forte indefinitely until such a time they deem it fit to review his mandate. A trader on Abacha Street, Mabinty Kamara, not her real name, believes that the election is won by Samura Kamara and not by Julius Maada Bio.
“I know, for sure, that Maada Bio is not the winner of the elections as he stays there only for a moment. I believe that Dr. Samura Kamara will be the next President of Sierra Leone,” she expressed hope referring to Bio as a “caretaker President.”
When asked whether Kamara should step aside after December, this year, Mabinty does not hesitate to answer in the negative saying Samura Kamara is their leader until ECSL (Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone) produces the actual results. Mabinty’s view is supported by a teacher in Freetown, Ibrahim Bangura who says “it is hypocrisy of the highest level for APC members to think about getting Samura Kamara out of the party’s leadership this December.” Bangura who has been in the teaching profession for over 15 years represents a generation of teachers who still struggle to have somewhere to live in and make ends meet.
He has always argued that his miserable condition is a direct result of weak leadership and bad governance but hopes for the better if Samura Kamara takes over state command. “With a technocrat in power, the country will not only survive but also will thrive,” he expressed hope. For Bangura as well as many Sierra Leoneans, Kamara is the right man at the moment as Sierra Leone’s Socio-economic situation needs him.
“Samura Kamara represents the hope of Sierra Leone and is one who will lift Sierra Leone out of poverty and under-development if entrusted with state power,” Bangura argues further as he looks back to 2013 when Sierra Leone’s economy was referred to as the fastest growing in the world with Kamara as Finance Minister. Kamara’s lengthy years of work at World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Commonwealth Secretariat as well his service to Sierra Leone in different capacities are enough to put back Sierra Leone on the development track.
He appears as a man of all seasons when he served Sierra Leone as Financial Secretary in the defunct National Provisional Ruling Council and SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party) government under Tejan Kabba and APC under Ernest Bai Koroma as Bank Governor, Minister of Finance and later Foreign Affairs Minister. Apart from making a strong case for Kamara’s rich experience at local and international institutions, Bangura remains firm on insisting that APCs leader wins the election and must retain the party’s leadership until Bio hands over the baton of power.
“As far as I am concerned, Samura Kamara is the APC leader until Maada Bio gives up power,” Bangura further claims.
His views are watertight as they are shared by members of the diplomatic community in Sierra Leone, world powers particularly US and UK as well as inter-governmental institutions such as European Union, African Union ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States) among others.
“Samura Kamara represents the hope of Sierra Leone and is one who will lift Sierra Leone out of poverty and underdevelopment if entrusted with state power, Bangura argues further as he looks back to 2013 when Sierra Leone’s economy was referred to as the fastest growing in the world with Kamara as Finance Minister
The UK, European Union and other foreign missions have held back their funds as they do not recognise their govemment, EU continues to subject ECSL to pressure to publish the real results if Sierra Leone is to enjoy smooth relations and cooperation with government. The United States too tread on EU’s path as she calls on government to publish the results by polling stations and districts. Government’s failure to comply with EU and US’s demands raise suspicion among the international community of stealing the people’s votes and holding a “stolen mandate.”
Tough stance against the Bio regime is not unconnected to the findings and recommendations submitted by international and local observers. The Commonwealth, Carter Centre, AU, ECOWAS and EU observers condemned the electoral process saying it “lacked transparency.”
Chief EU Election Observer, Invin Incir made claims of intimidation of voters at press briefing two days after the polls. Incir said shots were fired in the air by security making the election environment less comfortable for voters, an allegation government vehemently denied. In some polling stations across the country, voting was also troublesome as voters were scared away by the heat of teargas canisters fired by the police an act outlawed by law.
Government does not stop at terror and intimidation before, during and after voting but embarked on petty rigging acts that derailed the electoral process. Time for opening and closure of polling centres in North-West regions was not honoured by ECSL staff, a move that also stopped many voters from voting. These practices are illegal, according to the Public Elections Act, 2022, and it constitutes rigging on the part of ECSL in collusion with government for which the international community is taking punitive measures. In few days, Commonwealth team will be here in Sierra Leone to mediate the election standoff between the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party and the APC to bring back normalcy to Sierra Leone.
It is hoped that the mediators will pay keen attention to the legal framework on elections, political violence, intimidation and harassment during voting as well as the findings and recommendations of the international and local election observers. A bright light shines at the end of the tunnel if the mediation is geared towards meeting only the end of justice and not pleasing just one side.
As mediation effort is about to commence, APC members have urged the leader, Dr. Samura Kamara to opt either a resignation of President Bio or are-run of the elections or the struggle continues. With a re-run, APC’s hope of a victory remains high as SLPP, many say, cannot win the election by honest means.
But effort by the international community is being undermined by key APC members who wanted to see Kamara out of the party forgetting that such action would come back to hunt them. But, those APC members who are curious about ending Kamara’s political existence have been advised to borrow a leaf from SLPP politicians who retains Bio after 2012 elections.
Prior to its manipulation which SLPP politicians call a review, SLPP Constitution had a clause that prohibited a presidential candidate who lost an election to continue to exercise leadership of the party. The losing candidate, according to the old constitution should become ex-officio which means the candidate should no longer takes an active part in running the party. It was that clause that affected late Vice President Solomon Ekuma Berewa after he lost 2007 elections to former President Ernest Bai Koroma, Bio however appeared to be a different case as he was still retained even after he lost the elections although the clause was still in the SLPP Constitution.
A popular argument at that time held that Bio did not lose the elections even when it is clear that Ernest Koroma was politically weightier than him. Koroma, according to many Sierra Leoneans, executed his mandate well in the first term and won the ticket for the second time. Bio, out of fair assessment, has not done justice to his presidential mandate in his first term as clearly indicated in the ballot box.
If SLPP retains Bio who genuinely lost the elections in 2012 as party leader, why APC wants to cast away Samura Kamara who won with a landslide?