The outcome of Friday 30th June 2017 bye-election in Ward 139, Kambia district has left supporters of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party in shock and dismay. The APC candidate lost to an Independent candidate who was sponsored by Dr. Kandeh Yumkella of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP). Over the past 10 years, this is only the third time the APC is losing local council elections in Kambia district. During the 2012 Elections, APC lost two local council seats in former President Kabbah’s Braimaia chiefdom. Those two SLPP Kambia Councillors in Braimaia are now joined by a PRO-SLPP Councillor in Samu. However, this is the very first time in ten years that the APC is losing a local council seat in Samu chiefdom which chiefdom is the ancestral home of Yumkella. This very first defeat within its Samu stronghold in over 10 years is deemed as a big victory for Yumkella who is seeking the presidency next year.
The results, though joyful for Yumkella and his KKY Movement, are however a demoralising set-back to the APC ahead of the pending 2018 general elections.Party stakeholders who hail from within the district are being blamed as having gravely disappointed HE President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.
Kambia district under the leadership of President Koroma has witnessed massive infrastructural development with tarred roads, good pipe-borne water, rehabilitation of its government hospital to name but few. President Koroma also appointed indigenes of the district to very powerful positions inside his government.
The most powerful Cabinet position of Finance Minister is held by Mr. Momodu Kargbo who is from Kambia.
The extremely powerful Chief of Staff to the President at State House, Mr. Saidu Conton Sesay is from Kambia. Other very influential and powerful Ministers like Bai Mamoud Bangura of Youths Ministry and Ahmed Khanu of Sports Ministry are from Kambia.
The only Special Adviser to President Koroma at State House, Ambassador Dauda Kamara is from Kambia.
The Presidential Youth Aide at State House, Alie Conteh who is also the APC Youths League Secretary General is from Kambia just as President of the league is also from Kambia.
Several diplomatic Ambassadors like H.E. Ibrahim Sorie Kamara and H.E. Adikalie Suma are from Kambia.
Two former Cabinet Ministers who now aspire to be APC Presidential candidates and worked at State House as Special Adviser to the President and Ambassador to China Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay and Alimamy Petito Koroma respectively are from Kambia.
The list of empowered APC Kambia big guns is very long.
However, all these big guns from the district failed to win a simple Ward bye-election for the APC.
It could be recalled that the Friday 30th June 2017 bye-election was contested by two political parties (APC & ADP) and an independent candidate who enjoyed sympathies of the SLPP. The pro-SLPP but contesting as Independent candidate, defeated the APC candidate by a slim margin of only ten votes. The voter turnout of 62% was very high for a Bye Election which indicates the election was heavily contested.
Indeed, visible presence of money and many APC big guns during the campaigns had predicted an easy win so the result came as a major shock to the ruling party.
To better understand the shock, the results of the 2012 local council election for that same Ward 139 seat had seen the APC clinch the seat with almost 80% of the votes. This time, five years later, the APC got only a paltry 49% of the votes.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.