By Alhaji M. Kamara…..
The All People’s Congress (APC) has chosen Samura Kamara as their flag-bearer to lead the Party into the March 2018 elections. Members of the National Advisory Council (NAC), over 1,400 delegates, aspirants and supporters of the APC gathered in Makeni to choose their flag-bearer. The APC convention was held at the newly constructed Ernest Bai Koroma hall over the weekend of the 14th and 15th of October 2017.
According to the Party’s Secretary General, Osman Foday Yansaneh, when the building is complete, it will have to cost close to $5 million USD.
During the Conference some motions were raised, seconded and endorsed by the delegates. One such motion included the one where all the delegates agreed that their Party’s Leader and Chairman should chose his successor as flag-bearer and they will accept and endorse the person.
On Sunday 15 October, members of APC NAC held a closed-door meeting that lasted for an hour. Others were soon invited into the closed room including the Chairmen of the Party and the Chairs of the 16 Districts. The aspirants were later invited into the closed-door meeting.
Upon completion of the closed-door meeting, all the aspirants came out quietly with only the running mate Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah and flag-bearer Chernor Bah raising both hands to the delegate as a sign of victory.
Announcing his successor as flag-bearer, President Koroma maintained the process was done in line with the Gazetted Party rules and regulations and the regulation of the Political Party Registration Commission (PPRC) and also provisions of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
According to the President, “Having consulted the NAC, Regional and District executives and also listening to various reservations from the aspirants in the true spirit of unity and progress and for the Party to achieve its goal, Dr. Samura Kamara has been chosen as the flag-bearer and Chernor Ramadan Bah as his running mate.”
Despite the huge shout inside the Conference Hall after the pronouncement, there were some side comments from some people inside and out of the Hall expressing disappointment over the decision.
Delivering his acceptance statement, the chosen flag-bearer, Samura Kamara, “the chosen one”, said he is standing in front of his supporters as a different person, explaining that the convention is disturbing in many respects.
He called on all to follow President Koroma’s statement that their Party is about unity and courage, and in doing such they should know that some people have worked for the Party long ago and some new people have joined the Party with lots of energy to keep the Party going.
He expressed thanks and appreciation to the Party stalwarts and asked for permission to stand together with the former aspirants and he concluded his speech.
Throughout the Conference there were mixed feelings and wild speculations among the delegates, aspirants and supporters who were busy posting on social media and making calls to people outside the hall.
Following the surprising announcement, supporters of the former aspirants gathered in disappointed groups discussing the issues while others were condemning the decision. Others were singing and dancing for the President and the Party.
Such discussions could be spotted all round the township of Makeni but was suddenly halted by the downpour of heavy rain that disbursed almost everyone.
Immediately after the announcement, both John Sesay and Joseph F. Kamara issued press releases on their Facebook pages congratulating Samura Kamara and Chernor Bah on their new positions.