…But Deveaux says convention is not about who becomes standard bearer
October 13, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The two main political parties in Sierra Leone will this weekend endorse their respective standard bearers of the March 7 presidential election.
While the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) will host theirs in Freetown from 14 to 15 October, the ruling All Peoples Congress will be in Makeni, northern Sierra Leone, to either elect or select their presidential candidate.
Over 1,500 delegates as well as thousands of supporters and observers will be at both venues to witness the election and or selection of the person that will most likely succeed President Ernest Bai Koroma.
It is a foregone conclusion that Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio will clinch the SLPP ticket again as he contests against four other contenders – Munda Rogers, Alie Kabbah, Amb. Umaru Bun Wurie and John Benjamin. But the APC are going to Makeni without any clear cut sign as to who will succeed President Koroma.
Acting National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Cornelius Deveaux ,told Concord Times yesterday that their convention in Makeni would not be about who becomes the next standard bearer, but the party ensuring that they accord President Koroma high respect because of his exemplary leadership and achievements within the last ten years.
“We will focus our attention on President Koroma and look to him to provide us direction as to who becomes our next presidential candidate. We are going as a united family. We are well focused in ensuring that our current chairman and leader will be endorsed to continue as leader,” he said.
He said the current atmosphere and spirit among senior officials and supporters of the party was convivial, adding that they have been able to conduct themselves in a very peaceful manner.
With regards security at the convention, Deveaux, who doubles as Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, said: “We are not going to have heavy presence of the police because we are not expecting any rancour or fight that will warrant the intervention of the police. We have been able to make our people understand that the party is above all other interest.”
He revealed that 10,000 party supporters and members would be around the perimeter of the conference hall to pledge their loyalty and support to the Chairman and Leader and added that their members know the things that will keep them together and not tear them apart.
According to him, the expected 1,400 delegates will include the newly elected or constituted constituencies, regional, and districts executives, as well as those in the Youth League, Women’s and Disable Wing.
“We will also be electing national officers, including the National Secretary and his deputy, Organising Secretary and his deputy and the National Publicity Secretary and deputy. Close door sections will be held after the opening of the conference on Saturday. Some resolutions will be adopted on the following day before announcing our presidential candidate,” Deveaux stated.