By Yusufu S. Bangura
Founder of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC),Veteran Lawyer Francis Charles Margai, has told Concord Times that he was yet to consult the party’s national council on whether they would contest the June 24, 2023, general elections.
Lawyer Margai was contacted through his phone via text message in which he noted that, “I am yet to deliberate with the National Council of the Party on the way forward.
PMDC was officially registered as a party on the 19th January 2006 after a breakaway with the now ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).
During the 2007 presidential election, Margai was the party’s candidate who received third place behind former president Ernest Bai Koroma of the All Peoples Congress (APC) at that time and Solomon Berewa of the SLPP.
But on the August 19, Margai stated his support for Koroma in the second round of the election because the party sought to ensure a more representative government, the survival of the PMDC as a political party and the creation of a third formidable political force for smooth running of democracy in Sierra Leone.
He further said backing the APC would help bridge the regional political divide marking Sierra Leone’s politics as the SLPP and PMDC draw their main support from the south, while the APC draws its main support from the north.
He added that the APC had a natural reason to want the PMDC to survive, while the SLPP had a natural reason to want to destroy it.
Margai’s support for the APC during the 2007 election provoked controversy in the PMDC, with some feeling that his decision was made without properly consulting the party. Margai said on August 24 that the PMDC would campaign together with the APC for the second round.
At the parliamentary election during the 2007 presidential elections, the party became the third largest party in Parliament with 10 seats out of 112 and in the 2008 Local Government elections, the party did less well, winning only one Council Chairperson seat out of 19 with 4%. But in the 2012 elections, the party lost all of its remaining seats.
All the seats won by the party at that time were in the Southern region, specifically in the Bo, Bonthe, Moyamba and Pujehun districts
Also during the 2018 election, Margai was a presidential candidate when he selected veteran educator, Isata Dora Bangura to be his running mate.
The campaign struggled to gain power as many Sierra Leonean’s weren’t willing to support Margai after he formed a political alliance with former President Koroma and the party won 0.4% of the vote and didn’t get any seats in parliament.