October 6, 2016 By Sahr Morris Jr.
Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Sports (MOS) and National Sports Council (NSC) on Wednesday announced that the long-awaited Sierra Leone Athletics Association (SLAA) re-elective congress will now be held on Tuesday, 11 October, 2016 at the Atlantic Hall, National Stadium, in Freetown.
The announcement of a new congress date came weeks after intensive pressure from the group opposed to the Abdul Karim-led administration that the later 15 December election was illegally conducted.
A statement released by both the MOS/NSC reads: “The constitutional congress of the Sierra Leone Athletic Association (SLAA) will take place on Friday 7th October 2016 at the Atlantic Hall of National Stadium in Freetown.
Verified delegates of the Sierra Leone Athletics Association are requested to attend. The elective congress will be on Tuesday 11th October 2106 at the Atlantic Hall of National Stadium at 11 AM. The five man committee and the NSC will conduct the constitutional and elective congress as per article 8(1) of the National Sports Council act 1964.”
This latest decision by the MOS and NSC is set for a possible wrangling with the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), who in January said they have officially confirmed that Abdul Karim Sesay is the re-elected president of the SLAA.
In an exclusive interview with Concord Sports then, the IAAF communication department’s deputy director, Chris Turner, said they were satisfied with the conduct of the election and accepted the results.
Turner’s message read: “The IAAF was informed on 17 December 2015 that the SLAA finally held their elective congress on 15 December 2015. Mr. Abdul Karim Sesay was re-elected President. They have yet to appoint a General Secretary. The IAAF is satisfied with the conduct of the election and recognises the results.”
The IAAF’s decision to endorse Sesay’s re-election did anger stakeholders who dubbed themselves as ‘the legitimate stakeholders of SLAA’, as they continued to contest the legitimacy of the election.
It could be recalled that the election at the National Stadium ended in fiasco when the then Sports Minister Paul Kamara announced that former contender for the presidency, Palo Conteh, was not qualified to contest as his candidacy contravened Article 56 (3) of the country’s constitution which stated that no Minister or Deputy Minister should contest for a position in any election organised by various associations.
However, it was understood that the election was later conducted at an unknown location in the capital, Freetown, with only few delegates and supporters of Karim Sesay in attendance.