The APC’s conduct of uneven lower-level convention could see the party in dire problems if steps to curtail this menace aren’t taken seriously.
Following months of legal battles and directives from Adrian Fisher’s court ruling, as well as internal party schisms, the All People’s Congress (APC) begins holding lower-level elections across the country. The lower-level conventions at the ward stage herald the party’s preparedness for the National Delegate Conference slated for early next year.
Today’s conduct at the lower-level elections, as observed and reported, casts doubt on the party’s readiness to hold its national delegate conference in 2023. The current sphere of uneven voting and squabbles over membership and those eligible to vote in lower-level elections is called into question though there are areas of peaceful conduct of the lower-level elections.
There were visible protests in Kono and Ward 91, with people peacefully displaying receipts for membership payments and thus demonstrating their willingness to vote. These persons feel disenfranchised. They chanted in Krio “we wan vote, box nor dea”-meaning we want to vote but the ballot box is absent. They claimed they had waited for registrars and other officials in charge of conducting lower-level elections, but none were present, even though they are genuine members as evidenced by payment into the APC bank account. As the saga continues at the lower-level convention across the country, new members affirmed they had not received membership cards despite having made payments into the party’s bank account.
Elsewhere within Kono district, the story was the same, especially for constituency 029, ward 97. Residents of constituency 029 proclaimed there had never been registration activities in Kono or their ward and that the APC elections body should not deliver any false result for that part of the country. In addition, other acclaimed members said they have been refused voting rights because they do not have the actual party card, even though directives had been given to them to pay into the party’s bank account to guarantee them voting rights during the lower-level elections.
The APC’s Kailahun chapter raised similar problems regarding the acceptance of payslips as proof of membership in the absence of party cards weeks before the lower-level convention started. It is thus established that there is an internal issue with registration and valid membership to lend credence to the current exercise the APC is undertaking. What is clear is that people cannot pay into bank accounts without directives from party officials.
Furthermore, the acceptance of payment into the account indicates some form of application on the membership form that would have been made to guarantee payments into the party’s bank account as opined old APC members within the southern province.
A few weeks ago, Honourable Abdul Kargbo, the Secretary and Head of the Secretariat-Interim Transitional Governance Committee (ITGC) mentioned the party’s preparation for the lower-level convention had begun with the country-wide registration of new members, an audit and an update of the party’s national register.
Retrospectively, It can now be said recent activities demonstrate proper planning is devoid of the registration of new party members, and the updating of the country-wide register, thus undermining the integrity of the very exercise that is meant to be democratic. Furthermore, news unfolding on the progress of the lower-level convention depicts the ITGC is running behind schedule to conduct elections of the National Union of APC Students (NUAS), Persons With Disability Wing, and The National Veterans Congress respectively.
Given the APC is conducting its operations under the directives of a court, could it be the party is heading for more dangerous times ahead? What if Justice Adrian Fisher rules in favour of an application to nullify the very process being undertaken now on the premise it lacks credibility and disenfranchises its very members? I am pretty sure this is a question for the APC’s party executives to answer in the not-too-distant future, whether in court or amongst themselves.
It looks however the interim executive is being proactive in taking the lead to nullify the lower-level elections and reach the court system before it happens the otherway round causing delays in further conventions.
Written by; Ali. M Tokowa.
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