Titus Boye-Thompson, London
In a remarkable display of strength in his own personal conviction and resolve to be undeterred in the pursuit of his goal to set his mark on the All Peoples Congress Party, the Interim Transition Governing Council (ITGC) Chairman, Comrade Alfred Peter Conteh has refused to honour another invitation to meet with senior stakeholders of the APC at a venue of their choice to engage on matters to do with the internal squabbles in the Party. This is the second such invitation in the same number of weeks that the Chairman has refused to honour and from all indications, events are proving that the man in charge of the APC for the moment is bent on delivering his mandate to the letter and without being distracted or otherwise obstructed by the so called “party big guns.”
While many would be concerned that the APC is running out of time to get its house in order before the next general elections next year in 2023, the matter for others may securely rear on the attitude and behavior thus far of many of those who ought to know better than to attempt to undermine the sitting Chairman as
If by bringing pressure to bear on him, he would pack up and leave the party, go back to the US where he had a lowly job and go lick his wounds forever too timid to show his face again at any APC party event. It is not only shocking but downright disgraceful that those who had held on to the leadership of this once great party that served and represented the interests of such a diverse and poorly served lower cadres in society to now become barriers to progress and veritable change for the good of the Party and a proper functioning of the democratic principles within its operations.
The court order made it clear that the APC had infringed its own rules when it failed to have its executive officers elected to positions as stated in the Constitution yet it proceeded to illegally occupy office and therefrom made decisions that are now wholly untenable, unsafe and unfair to subsist. The very same people who did such egregious acts of illegality now wish to maintain their actions by misleading the rest of us on some flimsy attachment to a Constitutional procedures that they themselves do not believe in or have adhered to.
The media onslaught on Alfred Peter Conteh went into overdrive in the past week, culminating in a peremptory ruling by His Honour Adrian Fisher, J who has to issue an Injunction restraining the functioning of the IGTC, as a collective or by any person aligned to it by themselves, or by their agents or assigns pending his substantive ruling on a petition in front of him on Friday 25th November 2023. Had it not been for the Judges decision and a stern warning to the warring factions, it is not inconceivable that Alfred Peter Conteh would have been lynched by now. The reason for the vitriol against the man seeming to stem from one issue and one issue alone, that the APC is under siege and there are those who are still aggrieved by the judgement that saw the Party being taken away from the hands of the former executive and given over to the IGTC on the grounds that the former executive were all in all illegally constituted. That following on from that decision, the Party was forced to adopt a new Constitution and directed to resolve all outstanding membership issues. While the Constitution has been adopted though entirely untested, a contentious issue arose out of the recall of the erstwhile Vice President, Alhaji Chief Samuel Samsumana back to its ranks. Instead of resolving this as an outstanding membership issue that could have been otherwise smoothly dealt with at the party’s last convention at Makeni in 2021, the former Chairman and Leader was held to have instructed that such a matter should be put aside for now and that the Party should deal only with the adoption of the Constitution as a matter of priority and singular focus. If that decision made sense at the time, it does not now, because it is the further directives on this matter and interpretation of Justice Fisher’s earlier interim judgement that this matter should be actively dealt with that has caused the most discomfort within the Party. As Chairman of the ITGC, Alfred Peter Conteh has seemingly managed to deal with this matter but not without umbrage by others within the ITGC as to the composition of a quorum or otherwise definition of a simple majority for decisions of the ITGC to become legitimate.
The summoning of Alfred Peter Conteh by perceived Senior Stakeholders of the Party have been called severally as an ambush to the authority of the interim Chairman, to get to call him to order on who can and cannot have authority over matters pertaining to the APC.
The avoidance by Alfred Peter Conteh to attend such meetings are in their generality applauded because what has now become an u briddled attempt to undermine his authority has been met with stiff resistance. It is lamentable that some in the APC refuse to accept that Alfred Peter Conteh is the Chairman of the APC at this point in time and so long as his mandate subsists, be has the legal responsibility to direct the affairs of the Party. It is a shame to say this but it is the same attitude that some have taken within the Party that makes it impossible for them to understand that the APC is in opposition to a political dispensation that has no reason to allow it to regain power nor do we have any automatic claim to be back in office when we cannot deal with issues of legality and democracy within the Party.
On another note, it is being rumoured that the old guard are attempting to circumvent the election of the next flag bearer to reflect a choice of the former Chairman instead of the choice of the grassroots and members of the Party. In this regard, the former flag bearer in 2018, Samura Kamara is not guaranteed to be the next flag bearer even though he is undoubtedly the most popular choice in the minds of the people. In one such meeting called at Makeni recently to discuss the future leadership of the Party, Samura Kamara is alleged to have been asked to consider stepping to one side “in the interest of the Party,” because of the concerns raised about his impending matter in court which is likely to be ongoing up to the date of the next general elections in June 2023. The thinking is that the APC would not allow him to stand for election as flag bearer if his case has not been completed before the elections on the grounds that the party may be disqualified if he happens to have a judgement against him after the closing date for flag bearer registration at ECSL this rendering the APC without a bona fide Presidential candidate. Funny as it seems, truth is always stranger than fiction and the potential for such a gerrymandering is rife and the APC “senior stakeholder, its erstwhile former Chairman and Leader” is seeming to attempt again to circumvent the will of the people, “in the interest of the Party.”
To what is looking as unlikely bed fellows is now a potential for the Alfred Peter Conteh camp to be aligned to the Samura Kamara camp if in the unfolding events, the former Chairman is determined to discourage Samura Kamara from contesting as a flag bearer when that election is called.
What those who are still aligned to the former Chairman’s line of thinking are failing to accept is the simple fact that such an appropriation of influence would do more damage to the party than bring it together and for that matter, his overbearing stance must be rejected. It is for that very reason that the position of Alfred Peter Conteh to refuse meeting with him and any other persons who name themselves as senior stakeholders is applauded. The APC does not belong to, nor should it be overtly influenced, by its old guard. It is a party of the future and hence must look to its young people to start taking charge of the party’s affairs.
For the time being, there is only one Chairman in the APC and that is Alfred Peter Conteh so as soon as the rank and file of the party accept this and acquiesce to his authority, the better it would be for party unity to prevail. Alfred Peter Conteh was right not to attend a meeting called by Ernest Bai Koroma to go and discuss the future direction of the APC at his house in Makeni – had he attended, he would surely have been ambushes. For his refusal, he just may have secured some real tenets of democracy and the will of the people to prevail in the unfolding lower level and other elections to choose a new executive for the party. For his decision over the weekend, it is clear that such strength of character must be admired!