The ruling All Peoples Congress (APC), the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), the ever-ready Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), the revived United Democratic Party (UDM), and the newcomer National Patriotic Democrat (NPD) have all nominated candidates for the National Electoral Commission (NEC) slated Saturday 29th April 2017 by-elections in Ward 186 in Portloko district and Ward 089, Bombali district, all in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone.
The by-elections tomorrow in wards 186 and 089, according to a prominent political commentator who spoke to the Awareness Times Newspaper, will portray a rehearsal of next year’s 2018 pools, which many Sierra Leoneans are of the firm conviction that it would be fiercely contested.
Meanwhile, it could be recalled that the events leading to these elections were fraught with some concerns of threats and skirmishes as raised by the Chairman and Leader of the ADP. Mohamed Kamaraimba Mansaray alleged that his supporters were intimidated by “alleged supporters of the APC in Makeni City.” He further added that his party’s office in Port Loko Town was set on fire, but for the timely intervention of neighbours, the fire was halted.
However, the National Secretary General of the APC, Ambassador Osman Foday Yansaneh who in an interview with us said, “the APC is a party that is not known for violence.” He added that there have been no instances in any place of the country that his party has ever been accused of causing mayhem. He therefore warned the ADP leader to stop citing APC supporters, and further urged the police to carry on with their investigations. He said, the APC has proven to be the most dynamic political party in the country, and since 2012, it has won all the by-elections held in the north, the west, and including some areas in the east and south of Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, former chairman and leader of the SLPP, John Oponjo Benjamin who also spoke to the Awareness Times Newspaper from Port Loko Town, confirmed that he had traveled from Segbwema Town, Kailahun District, Eastern Sierra Leone, to join other SLPP supporters to campaign in Lungi. He said, it is high time the APC stop thinking that the north is their strongholds. Therefore, he assured that with the amount of zeal they will pour in these by-elections, the SLPP will do all it could to claim the two seats in Makeni and Lungi.
As of the time of coming to press, trying to get on to the leaders of the NPD and the UDM for appropriate reactions to the by-election was very hard. However, with the NPD coming in now as a fresh political party, who is for the first time contesting a by-election in Sierra Leone; and with the UDM fighting to restore its integrity after it pulled out of the presidential race few days to the 2012 elections, many voices who speak to Awareness Times Newspaper say that tomorrow’s elections would really portray a rehearsal of next year’s 2018 polls.
Meanwhile, it could be recalled that in a press release from NEC dated 6th March 2017, “according to letters from the Deputy Chief Administrators of Portloko and Bombali District Councils, the vacancies occurred due to the deaths of Councilor Habib Lansana Kamara of Ward 186, Portloko District Council and Councilor Memunatu Smart of Ward 089, Bombali District Council.”
Therefore, the release added that all the above mentioned political parties nominated candidate for the said Local Council by- elections on Thursday 24th March 2007 at the NEC District office, 75 Lungi Road, Port Loko Town and Azzolini Highway, Makeni City.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.