From the Editor’s Keyboard

Sierra Leone 2018 politics: Coalitions galore

9 January 2018 at 02:38 | 2078 views

Commentary

By Bailor Emperor Jalloh, PV Freetown Bureau Chief.

As my home country, Sierra Leone, a tiny country in West Africa goes to the polls come March 7, 2018, the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) with presidential candidate Dr. Samura Kamara and the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) with presidential candidate Brigadier (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio are facing a tough political battle for the presidency with two new main opposition coalitions : the National Grand Coalition (NGC) under the leadership of former UNIDO boss Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella (KKY) and the Coalition for Change (C4C) under the leadership of the sacked vice - president of Sierra Leone Alhaji Chief Sam Sumana.

The declared objective of NGC and C4C is to eliminate the APC and SLPP from the political arena of Sierra Leone claiming that these two old political parties have been exploiting the country to their advantage despite its abundant natural resources.

Interestingly,NGC and C4C are formed by some former senior members of APC and SLPP. KKY defected to NGC when he was unable to pursue his presidential ambition via the SLPP while Alhaji Chief Sam Sumana defected from APC to C4C after his sacking from the office of vice president of Sierra Leone by president Koroma and the subsequent Sierra Leone Supreme Court ruling against him and his appeal to the ECOWAS court.

Some Sierra Leoneans jokingly call the APC and SLPP Alusine and Alhassan (twins ) and NGC/KKY Gbessay ( twins’ younger brother ).

Meanwhile, in 2017 when visiting former Ghanaian president John Jerry Rawlings, the People Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) leader lawyer Charles Francis Margai,the National Unity Reconciliation Party (NURP)headed by Dr. Sandy and C4C headed by Alhaji Chief Sam Sumana signed a communique in Accra, Ghana to form a Grand Alliance and proposed to set up the Grand Alliance secretariat in Sierra Leone for the March 7,2018 presidential, parliamentary and local council elections.

In a similar vein, People Democratic Party (PDP), the People Liberation Party (PLP) and Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP) have also joined the Citizens Democratic Party (CDP) to form another opposition coalition under the stewardship of former minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment of the ruling APC Alhaji Musa Tarawally.

Some political pundits are wondering whether Sierra Leoneans have recently learnt a lot from the Gambia and other West African countries regarding opposition coalitions.

Indeed, many here strongly believe the emergence of these opposition coalitions may prompt a possible run-off as the wind of political change is blowing heavily.

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