As predicted by this newspaper last week, Ansu Kaikai of the opposition SLPP won the Bye-Elections in Pujehunís Constituency 87 but just as was reported upon by this same newspaper, the ruling All Peopleís Congress (APC) has made shocking inroads into what was hitherto an indisputable SLPP or the SLPP-offshoot party (aka PMDC) stronghold.
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Since a return of multi-party democracy to Sierra Leone, several years now, Pujehun has always strongly rejected APC. At the last Local Government Elections held less than a year ago, the APCís showing was dismal in Pujehun.
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These Bye Elections however show the APC scoring 2,033 votes (21%) out of 9,836 votes cast with the SLPP taking 5,817 votes (59%) and the PMDC taking 1,986 votes(20%).
Whilst many SLPP members have been rightfully rejoicing that they have once again retaken the Parliamentary seat, others have been quietly expressing concern that the in-roads made by a foraging Ernest Koroma led APC was in reality a big set-back for the SLPP as a party.
The APC now controls 21% of the eligible voter population of Pujehunís Constituency 87 and this Constituency usually reflects the voting pattern of Pujehun district and to some extent, the Southís, voting pattern.
"It is time our party thought out new strategies and injects new faces and new ideas into the SLPP," Joe Rogers an SLPP stalwart in Pujehun told this presshouse whilst Pa Vandi opined, "If our SLPP continues at this rate, come 2012, Ernest Koromaís APC will have used the power of incumbency to over-ride our 59% support."
Prior to these elections, it will be recalled that Pujehun had usually voted virtually 100% for SLPP or divided their loyalty between the SLPP and SLPPís off-shoot, the PMDC Party. Pujehun was usually so fiercely loyal to the SLPP that they have been known in the past to score an excess of 100% voter turnout.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.