By: Richmond Brima Tholley
Since the sudden demise of Dr. Minkailu Bah, the former District Chairman of the All People’s Congress in Tonkolili, it’s no longer hidden that clandestine campaigns to succeed the fallen hero have started and currently ongoing across the district.
However, a lot of names and personalities have showed up, and several meetings have been held across the District’s ten Constituencies and 19 chiefdoms. Several names like, former Honourable Member of Parliament, Mohammed Albert Tarawalie (MAT) from Kholifa Rowallah Chiefdom, Dr. M.Y Bangura of Yoni chiefdom, another from Matotoka, Tane chiefdom, were said to have made their intentions openly and a good number still not publicly showed up.
With the caliber of individuals showing up for the party’s highest position in the District, it has sparked a wide spread debate from all sections of the party across the district, especially Grassroots, who are currently sending a signal to the Regional and National Executive on what will be the political aftermath, should they be left out in the election/selection process of the district Chairperson of the party.
The APC left the corridors of power after the 2018 Presidential Elections, when the then opposition party candidate, now President Bio, was declared winner by the National Electoral Commission. Today, the party has taken two years and almost clocking it third year in opposition and many are of the view that, the failure to consult grassroots was one among the key factors for the party’s predicament.
From time immemorial, Tonkolili district was and still regarded as one of the strongholds of the APC party, it was not only unprecedented, but it also left many wondering, to see the APC party losing to the now ruling Sierra Leone People’s party, a parliamentary seat, two Local Council Wards and a Local Council ward to an Independent Candidate on the soils of Tonkolili, after many years.
Like in any elections of this nature, there were arguments and counter-arguments on the factors responsible for what many political pundits referred to as a slap on the face (s) of party’s big gun in the District. Though the party earlier won majority of the Parliamentary seats across the country, but many hold the view that, the Minkailu Bah chairmanship was deeply embarrassed in the 2018 General Elections. APC supporters in Tonkolili district and especially the party’s grassroots were embittered and dissatisfied, thus blamed the District’s hierarchy of the party for neglecting them (GRASSROOT). The emergence of different political camps within the party, internal party squabbles, awarding symbols to the wrong candidates, disunity and many others, cannot be unconnected to the party’s poor performance in Tonkolili.
It’s also sad, but the truth, Dr. Minkailu Bah left an APC that is not only scattered, but one with different political camps, and with different minds. During the Dr. Minkailu Bah’s chairmanship, one would hear names like, the German and Brazilian, all in Magburaka, Baktala and others in Mile 91. Majority of the said groups were breakaway who were dissatisfied over the state of affairs of the party in the district.
By virtue of the APC 1995 Constitution, the party recently appointed Madam Yabom Sesay, current Chairperson of the Tonkolili District Council to act as the party’s District Chairperson. But what does the future holds for a political party that is day by day, not only assuring it members across the country of an enduring hope of bouncing back to State House. It’s no longer secret that the APC Grassroots in Tonkolili cannot accommodate a Chairperson that does not respect their views. What the APC Grassroots in Tonkolili district want is a Chairperson that is coming to unify the district and bring all Tonkolilians together. And if the party is to bounce back to State House, for their own good, power should be given back to the grassroots to decide on their future and destiny.
“Attempting to use the once archaic slogan and political ideology called party structures to muzzle the party’s grassroots will further divide the party,” grassroots supporters of the party explain.
“Allow the grassroots to choose a unifier, who will bring all APC party political camps together and build a one and united APC and Tonkolili district.” They emphasized.
The party leadership according to them must rebuild on the party’s strength and in this rebuilding process, the grassroots must be involved and they must also work concertedly in trust and openness with the leadership, no matter how they’re perceived, Mohammed Bangura is quoted as saying.