Can The APC win? Like all games, exams and contest, preparation is key leading to meaningful contribution, challenge and increase chances of winning or passing in any contending exercise. That the APC is ready for 2023 Elections cannot be assessed solely based on just their current demeanour with regards continual court cases, fisted arms at parliament and the lack of legitimate party hierarchy as seen in the current power struggle for convention or district leads.
In politics, there are marked voter categories who will respond accordingly every time an election is called irrespective of it being the Proportional Representation (PR system) or the First Past The Post (FPTP). Traditional voters do not change for nothing. Other than that, the majority of cases voters do so based on factors such as religion, class and gender. To date, these factors are ever dynamic leading to projections that are worrying for the upcoming 2023 multi-tier elections.
Religion plays a significant role in politics in that people have of late showed affinity towards candidates with the fear of God as opposed to those mostly circular in their mindset. There are two major religions guarding Sierra Leone’s political continuum. Islam and Christianity.
In Sierra Leone, religious tolerance has made it that people just look for those who are God fearing and have exemplified that in society-be it developmental or in kind and nothing else. The choice of political leaders will definitely inform the outcomes of the 2023 elections minding class in our societies.
Societal class is a major pull towards political voting. Poorer people tend to lean on a party that understands their needs and not just speak books and grammar as it is referred to in Sierra Leone. The people want the money to flow and that has been synonymous with the APC as opposed to the SLPP. Observing the voting trend in Sierra Leone, the mindset plays a big role in politics. There is however, a shift in this continuum a bit with most people wanting to elect individuals with prominent contributions to society for a very long time proving love to their respective societies. Look around the north and south, you will see marked developments either in business or otherwise by people relative of the APC. This in itself can be a winning lead in societies across the country if well used and persons of such calibre are pulled in by the APC in higher positions. Politics is about fixtures too for a match (Election Day).
The executives and working class are more likely to pull in to this “brainy, professional looking and flamboyant” right wing party found in SLPP currently but the middle and lower class will go for the grass root and common man-liked left party called the APC. Here comes political ideologies and commoner association. Currently, the educated elite are less than the uneducated and that will go against the SLPP if well used and forced through by the APC as it has both the commoner, the middle class and the upper class. The SLPP rather has left this void unattended in the quest for academic excellence, gerontocracy and “connectocracy” not minding gender very well in practice but only in policies and tabled bills that has now been passed. The fact that policies or bills are implemented and passed does not guarantee political gravitation in that route. It might be a spring board for political representation divergence and variance.
Very significant in Sierra Leone now is gender. The 2015 population census and the 2021 census depict women are in the majority. They have a place in politics and big time right now. The APC has to imbibe this in their party working to make a significant in road for the 2023 elections. According to statistics, northern Sierra Leone, has teenage pregnancies but not as much in the south. One will question the number of educated female elitist in the north, north-west or those in the south that associate with the APC. Once the algebra is worked out, the political plane will be on wheels for a take off.
In politics, women are more likely to support left-leaning parties. One explanation for this is employment. Women are more likely to work in the public sector. This will be a good battle ground with the incumbent, the SLPP, making a significant in road in meeting gender equality. The question is how will APC match the advantage of the SLPP? Like for like match will be an initiative worth exploring and could yield political gains. Irrespective of the current party predicaments, the APC can survive if it focuses on repairing;
The damaging images worth correcting
If the APC is bent on winning, it must take few steps to overturn the damaging impressions about the party being a violent party that knows no law and order. A concise and impressive voter message to the electorate is necessary explaining their acts, involvement or non-involvement and disciplinary actions taken with regards;
- The Government Transitional Team Report (The GTT). It merits and shortfalls and accept responsibilities where necessary.
- Make clarity on petitioned MPs during the early years of the Bio led government including disadvantaged experiences meted by the government.
- August 2022 riot. Purported member involvement and the merit of the protest or riot from their views. Were those involved members? Were they misdirected? Was it the blessing of the APC allowing rioters using them as associate or not?
- Parliamentary fights. They must explain why the fight in all languages to convince the electorates.
- Dealing with tribal sentiments. The statement by Samura Kamara can be expunged upon in the context it was used. Dr. Samura’s contextual use of the words “Bi waa Bi seh” can be made quite explicit. His marital standing can be given with regards inter-marriages. Like Fatima Bio, the wife of doctor Samura can filter in.
The Ability To aggregate Suddenly
There is a peculiar trait of the APC. Once the above is well communicated and dealt with by respectable members, the APC can progress to their indelible trait in summing. The name congress originates from congregating. There is a history quite peculiar in the APC. They will make all the “Palava” but once they agree to select or elect a leader, the power of unison emanates. That is the power of aggregation enviable within the APC party that is politically dangerous for any incumbent or political party.
The current court case is the hindrance to this aggregation and once this huddle is past, all roads leading for 2023 will be flooded. Who “nor like to be recognised”? From the Nigerian parlance to the English description of who do not like recognition is a question for all when party engineering is at play. The single most important thing here is get done with the internal party rift, the court case by burying the hatchet and ensuring the people choose their leaders and the game is set to kick-off otherwise your very hands will destroy your guts.
A different Approach To Awarding Symbols
Patriarchal allegiance to awarding symbols or accent to key positions have killed political parties in Sierra Leone leaving voters in shock and awe thus creating political alienation for the most part. That a candidate is the son or relative of an APC patriarchal origin does not necessarily mean they should be awarded a symbol automatically leaving those that are adored by the masses.
The phenomenon “Babu woke Monkey eat” must be met with stiff resistance. There is always the need for new players in the game especially for those known to be corrupt free, upright and developmentally oriented especially when there is glimpse of doubt on the older generation. If it means fishing them from another party or encouraging some to join if not interested in politics. It must be done to save the image of the party, for the betterment of the country and the party’s track record in the long run.
The APC can change the game if they adopt an open approach to positional accent within the party for growth beyond party strong holds. An open tribal allocation of symbols and open party hierarchy initiative will be deemed the best ever since its history for a more social cohesiveness in the next 5 years. The idea of northern based politics should be shifted if the APC party wants to survive the 2023 elections in colour and style. Aggrieved tribes should be welcomed and given key roles never attained before while adopting the duck politics approach with elders guarding the young generations. The need for this is ever increasing in our current political dispensation within the sphere of the PR system where the coach (party officials) decides on the players in the field.
Infiltrating The South-East With Bullish Political Offers.
Recent population census suggest a huge population shift to the south-east as on record. While this is arguable given the huge voter turnout in the north, it is only but prudent for the APC to position it self well above concentration in the north and north-west as a fall back since the SLPP has also made in-roads.
In the north, shrinking figures as of provisional results made available by the ECSL, dampens APC’s hope for an averaged vote cast in their favour (projections only). If the ECSL continues giving blind eye to the Opposition Leader in parliament, Chernor Maju Bar, it can be fatal to the APC’s survival even in the north. The very calculation of parliamentary seats will go on the premise of this very merger of the 2022 and 2015 population census with the former demonstrating population shift. If so then, party mandate must change in its allocation of positions, registration of eligible party members and sorting the faction divide.
Can the APC survive the upcoming elections in victory?
If the leadership keeps an embracing approach and reduce tensions among factions there will be great hope even if it is 5 months to the general elections. In-differences with regards membership both old , new and returning members will not help. Politics is about numbers and once that is dealt with, the multiplying effect of support and allegiance will bring forth victory from every faction within the party. A clear unification message is needed going forward. If all of this fail, confiding in a third forced political party is key.
The concept of victory here will be measured in parliamentary seats and voting margins. More seats, retained seats and a small loosing margin will be deemed as victory even if the presidency is not clinched. Again, the resulted margin might prove the victory here. It all depends if the party employs a robust, non-regional, open membership and reduce factional approach.
Winning the presidency is so possible if careful thought, bullish approach and regional sentiments are put aside given the current census result upon which parliamentary seats are being calculated on. It makes no sense for a biased regional outlook of party hierarchy. This most not be fixtures only it must be indeed with binding documents. Liberal approaches will only bring liberal results that can radicalise the party and the nation otherwise the APC will stay within very few quarters.
How and when will the APC begin the south-eastern appeal? A re-look down memory lane here https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/oct/20/president-ernest-bai-koroma-iron-fist-methods-raise-fears-for-future-of-democracy-in-sierra-leone-march-election
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