• October 26, 2023

APC-GOV’T DIALOGUE: A NEW BEGINNING

APC-GOV’T DIALOGUE: A NEW BEGINNING
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 The people of Sierra Leone have been left in the cold, after a three-day plotted outcome of a dialogue that they thought was to speak truth to power and come out with a conclusion that would let them know whether their votes were truly stolen on behalf of Julius Maada Bio and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) since the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) has so far refused to let them see the disaggregated results of their votes cast on the fateful Saturday of June 24, 2023.

They thought the outcome might have also gone their way to empower them to go for a re-run election if no candidate in that election, as claimed by the reports of elections observers, polled the constitutionally mandated 55% votes cast. They are also wondering whether their politicians, be they APC, SLPP or other parties, really mean well for them and the nation.

Therefore, Sierra Leoneans both home and abroad thought it was the end after the publication of an Agreement for National Unity that emanated from the Mediated Dialogue between the Government of Sierra Leone and the All People’s Congress party (APC), which took place from 16 to 18 October 2023 at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

No, APC’s Dr Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara would want the people believe it is not the end. Rather, he contends, it is just the beginning of a fact-finding mission to “approve or disprove” the results of the June 24, 2023 multi-tier elections announced by the Chairman and Chief Electoral Commissioner of ECSL, Mohamed Kenewui Konneh, on 27 June 2023. That result announced by Konneh was rejected and contested by the opposition APC party on the grounds that due process was not followed before the announcement of the results in favour of Julius Maada Bio, which did not reflect the votes and popular will of the majority or masses of people of Sierra Leone; hence the APC decided to boycott participating in parliament and by extension in governance, leading to a stalemate in the political, economic and social functioning of the State and the country’s superstructure.

The resulting malaise in Sierra Leone over the last four months since the election took place necessitated the involvement of the International Community in the governance impasse in order to broker peace and dialogue, and if anything, as the APC wants the people to believe, to in six months’ time undertake a fact-finding mission that will unearth the truth and give to Caesar what belongs Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

The peace mission facilitated by the Independent Peace Commission for National Cohesion (ICPNC) brought about the just concluded 3-day dialogue conference spearheaded by mediators from the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Commonwealth, and other international partners.

The outcome of the dialogue brought shock wave to the people of Sierra Leone at home and abroad, especially to supporters of the APC and other Sierra Leoneans who want to see the Bio regime out of power, as they thought the signing of that agreement was the fag end of the tussle between the Bio administration and the APC party. There and then, it was and has been perceived that the APC executive led by Dr Samura Kamara has betrayed the people of Sierra Leone, particularly supporters of the APC, and they have become bedfellows of Bio and his administration, since there was no mentioning of a re-run in the signed agreement. The people thought that the Samura Kamara-led APC has sold out to Bio, leaving behind the sins, wrongs and heinous crimes against humanity meted out to the people of Sierra Leone over the last five years or so under the powers that be.

But according to the communique or agreement signed by both parties and the mediators, it is yet an unfinished business and it is just the beginning in an effort to unearth the truth about the June 24, 2023 elections to come up with the way forward that may lead to a re-run of that elections or otherwise.

The communique signed by the APC executive led by Dr Samura Kamara, the government of Maada Bio led by Chief Minister, Dr David Moinina Sengeh and the Mediators including the AU, ECOWAS, the Commonwealth and the ICPNC, states the following:

MEDIATED DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE AND THE ALL PEOPLES CONGRESS PARTY (16TH – 18TH OCTOBER 2023) AT THE BINTUMANI HOTEL, FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE AN AGREEMENT FOR NATIONAL UNITY

Preamble

  1. Welcoming the 3-day mediated dialogue between the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) and the All Peoples Congress (APC) party, (herein after referred to as ‘the Parties’), to address the political impasse post the June 24th 2023 multitier elections;
  2. Thanking the mediators of the dialogue – African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Commonwealth, and the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion (ICPNC) for their effort to bring the Parties together;
  3. Noting that the laws of the Republic of Sierra Leone, especially the Constitution of Sierra Leone (Act 6, 1991) are sacrosanct;
  4. Given that the Parties to the mediated dialogue (Government of Sierra Leone – GoSL and the All People’s Congress Party – APC) note records of cases fled in the Supreme Court against the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone – ECSL;
  5. Noting that the All People’s Congress has continued to ask the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone for the release of the “summary of all statements of the results from the polling stations” (Section 92, Public Elections Act, 2022) for the 24th June 2023 multi-tier elections;
  6. Noting further that the All People’s Congress continues to demand for the immediate resignation of the Chairman and Chief Electoral Commissioner and all Regional Commissioners of ECSL;
  7. The Government of Sierra Leone notes the provisions in Section 32 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone (as amended);
  8. The APC Party acknowledges the relevance of the Section 2(1) of the Right to Access Information Act, 2013;
  9. Noting that no individual or candidate who participated in the June 24, 2023 elections challenged the gazetted results (20th July, 2023) in court;

Resolutions

The Parties resolved the following:

  1. His Excellency the President to make a “National Address” on dialogue, unity, cohesion and peace
  2. The APC will end its “Non-Participation” in governance”
  3. His Excellency the President, in consultation with the APC party, will constitute a cross party committee on Electoral Systems and Management Bodies Review with a three-way leadership nominated  by the Government of Sierra Leone; the APC Party and Development Partners. This body will examine the electoral systems, structures and processes of the 2023 multi-tier electoral cycle. The committee will also be informed by previous elections with a view to highlighting and addressing the contentious issues of elections and results management including the collation, verification, authentication and publishing of electoral data consistent with international best practice to enhance the credibility of all future elections in Sierra Leone that guarantees elections to be free, fair and credible.
  4. The Terms of Reference will be developed under the joint leadership of the committee within 30 days
  5. The duration of the committee will be 6 months from the date of establishment
  6. The Recommendations from the Committee shall be actionable and implementable
  7. The committee will be gender-balanced

 

  1. The parties to the dialogue agree to the following:
  2. Release of any persons arrested, detained and/or imprisoned for alleged elections and civil protest (informed by a list to be submitted by the APC and other Political Parties and considered by the Government of Sierra Leone)
  3. The discontinuation of any politically motivated court cases against the APC, other parties and their supporters (based on a list to be submitted by the APC and other parties and considered by the Government of Sierra Leone)
  4. Support the resettlement of any Political Party supporters internally and externally displaced due to political intimidation, attacks and harassment (informed by a list to be submitted by the APC, and other parties and considered by the Government of Sierra Leone) as soon as possible
  5. That upon assumption of their elected governance positions, all elected APC officials (Members of Parliament, Mayors, Chairpersons, Councillors) will have the issue regarding their entitlements addressed accordingly by the appropriate institutions
  6. Parliament to address any issues as it relates to the leadership, composition of Committees and representation in International Parliaments on behalf of APC  (the composition of Committees and international Parliaments must reflect APC’s share of seats in accordance with the Constitution of Sierra Leone)
  7. Both parties agree to the institutionalization of an inter-party dialogue between the APC, the SLPP and other political parties. This will be facilitated by the government
  8. Both parties commit to re-engineer and rekindle the relationships within the national socio-political ecosystem such as between His Excellency the President and former political leaders (former Presidents and Vice Presidents); the APC and SLPP leaderships, etc.
  9. The Government of Sierra Leone and the APC party strictly condemn all citizens at home and abroad who incite violence, spread hate speech and disrupt national cohesion (online and offline) and Government will continue all efforts to bring those involved to justice
  10. There shall be actions and commitments by the Parties to implement the agreements reached during this mediated dialogue. To this end, the Government of Sierra Leone and the APC Party commit to the establishment of an independent committee of ‘Moral Guarantors’ whose membership shall be agreed by the Parties to support and monitor the implementation of this Agreement.

Signed: Government of Sierra Leone and the All People’s Congress Party

Looking at this signed deal, one may want to fall for it at first sight as a good deal for the Sierra Leoneans. But it is really more of a saving grace for those who have committed theft, human rights violations and other crimes against the people, and for the others who are self-centred, opportunistic, corrupt and in politics to enrich themselves and their families and cronies out of taxpayers money and state coffers. All the political hullabaloo, at the end of the day, would be watered down to let the evil doers in our political space have their way, as there is many a slip twixt cup and lip in the struggle to free Sierra Leone from the shackles of inept, corrupt and dangerous selfish politicians on the political space of the land.

Forum will continue to give a thorough content analysis of the rhetoric in the communique and other national matters as the political saga in the country unfolds.

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