APC Divided Over Third-Term Debate

By Musa Thaimu Bangura

No doubt, President Koroma is popular leader in the APC. He has done well for both the party and our country. But President Koroma is not APC and APC is not President Koroma. Many stakeholders in the APC strongly believe that the president has a role to ensure our party wins the next election. But this role must be that of a facilitator and not a direct benefactor. This is the position of the majority in the APC today and the president is expected to understand, appreciate, and accept this fact.

Since the third term debate was made public by a few selfish and overzealous members of our party, President Koroma has begun to treat with cold shoulder any party member he perceives as not supporting or promoting the idea. The president use to have an open door policy for all party members and stakeholders. Now, his doors are only open to those who are promoting his extension or 3rd term agenda. This is more baffling because the president, for reasons known to himself has remained tight-lipped about his ambition. Those so-called close allies of the president are calling their fellow party members all sorts of names including sell-outs, rebels, none-loyalists, etc.

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the reasons why many APC members including myself oppose the idea of an extension or third term for the president:

Compromise of our nation’s democratic system and peace: We believe that by manipulating the Constitution to allow President Koroma to ultimately remain in power will not only undermine our democracy; it will compromise our moral standing as a ruling party and government. The disgruntled silent majority will support any future un-democratic attempt to topple our government and the international community will have no choice but to accept the will of the majority. This has happened across the Middle East and North Africa and it will happen right here in Sierra Leone.

Secondly, if an attempt to manipulation of the Constitution to grant President Koroma and extension or third term fails at the referendum; such defeat will affect the popularity and morale of or party. It will be difficult to motivate and mobilize those who are now opposing the idea because they will surely remind us that they told us so. Like in the past, this will leave our party, the APC least admired or liked and may cost us the next election if we lose the momentum we now enjoy. Our party may likely return to the wilderness for another decade or more. This can be avoided if we go to the next poll united behind the best new candidate. With that, the APC will surely win again in 2018.

Thirdly, let’s assume President Koroma succeeds in securing extension and third term; there are already fears within the party that he will ultimately become a dictator. The manner in which the president is currently marginalizing party stakeholders for opposing extension and third tem bid, coupled with the way he conducted himself by hand-picking party executives at our last convention, many stakeholders are concerned that the APC party will be hijacked by a few loyalist of the president at the detriment of the majority. The last time the APC was left with a dictator, many of our party brothers perished for simply opposing the president at the time. We have already began to see how the president has questionable sacked several of our brothers who have been accused of having presidential ambition.

While some of us like our party, we love Sierra Leone more. Consolidating the peace and democratic gains we have made should be the agenda of all. Like the majority in the APC and the wider Sierra Leonean community, I believe that an extension of the current term or granting a third term to President Koroma is not only a recipe for chaos, but detrimental to the future political success of the APC party. Long live APC, Long Live Sierra Leone.