RUFP faction declares support for APC in the runoff

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…But rival faction challenges their legitimacy  

March 20, 2018 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

RUFP
Madam Jemba Gbandi Ngobeh was the RUFP presidential candidate in the 2018 election

Presidential candidate of the Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP) in the 2018 election, Jemba Gbandi Ngobeh has confirmed to Concord Times in a telephone interview that her party has decided to support the presidential candidate of the All Peoples Congress (APC), Dr. Samura Kamara, in the second ballot scheduled for next Tuesday (March 27).

Madam Ngobeh could only poll 12,827 votes, equivalent to 0.5%, in the March 7 presidential election, while her party didn’t win any parliamentary, local council or mayoral seat. However, she defeated ten other candidates in a crowded field of sixteen political parties, exceeding expectations.

The RUFP also supported President Ernest Bai Koroma in the 2012 presidential election. Erstwhile standard bearer of the former rebel outfit, Eldred Collins, was rewarded to serve as member of the National Standards Council.

National Publicity Secretary of the RUFP, Abdulahi Dougakoro Saccoh, told Concord Times that their party decided to support the ruling APC in the run-off because of the personality of its presidential candidate, and not party.

“The RUFP has decided to dissociate itself from Musa Tarawallie’s declaration for the Sierra Leone Peoples Party. We are going to support the APC based on our assessment of the personality of Dr. Samura Kamara. His track records are second to none. He is very peaceful in his disposition,” he said.

Saccoh refuted claims that they had received monetary compensation from the APC fin exchange for their support, but stated that it was an obligation for any government to support the RUFP, quoting the Lome Peace Accord, signed in 1999 to end a bloody civil war that had raged for almost a decade.

“If people claimed that the APC has given us money, they might be correct but not to garner our support. Giving us money is no crime because the Lome Peace Accord obliged ruling government to provide the party with funds,” he said.

However, a faction within the party claims that Madam Ngobeh was illegally presented for nomination at the National Electoral Commission as their presidential candidate, claiming that her nomination fees was paid for by the ruling APC.

Raymond Kato told Radio Democracy yesterday that his faction has the support and mandate of majority of their supporters, adding that they had initiated a court action against the Ngobeh faction for ‘impersonation’.

The Kato faction is aligned with the defeated presidential candidate of the Citizen’s Democratic Party, Alhaji Musa Tarawalli, who has since endorsed the standard bearer of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio.

The run-off between the ruling APC and main opposition SLPP is a tight race with the opposition leading the ruling party by more than 14,000 votes.