By Amin Kef (Ranger)
Questions are being raised about the lack of transparency in the much-anticipated Commonwealth-led mediation process in the midst of growing uncertainty related to the outcome of June 24 Presidential Election.
However, as doubts loom over the possibility of a rerun of the election, Cornelius Oguntola Melvin Deveaux, a prominent figure within the All Peoples Congress (APC), has voiced concerns about the secrecy surrounding the mediation framework.
Deveaux highlights the disconnect between the de-facto leadership of the APC and the framework for mediation maintaining that it appears the reasons behind the decision not to formally challenge the Presidential election result do not align with the expected mediation process. He emphasizes that the mediation is likely to center on the Commonwealth-brokered peace pledge of May 25, 2023, which is at odds with the APC’s earlier stance expressed in Press Releases on the 30th June and 3rd July, 2023.
Deveaux points out that the APC leadership is now attempting to shift blame onto Dr. Samura Kamara, the party’s 2023 Presidential Candidate, and his associates, for the party’s inability to substantiate claims of electoral theft and secure a rerun of the elections underscoring that
accusations of betrayal and propaganda have further clouded the political landscape in Sierra Leone.
According to him, the consequences of this blame game have been dire, with some party members, supporters and even the public paying a heavy price. Deveaux further acknowledges that some of the party’s demands, such as non-participation at all levels of governance and a travel ban on Government officials, have proven unrealistic.
Moreover, he points out that the APC’s claims and misinformation are unraveling over time as key figures within the Government have maintained their positions, and the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) continues to operate within the bounds of electoral laws and the national constitution.
He argues that the APC’s calls for governance boycotts are also losing traction, with some Members of Parliament and Councilors taking the oath of office adding how the high-profile engagements of the presidency on the international stage, including participation in UNGA 78, have reinforced the legitimacy of President Julius Maada Bio’s Government.
He asserted that even with the looming Commonwealth-led mediation, hopes of overturning the presidential election result and triggering a rerun appear slim additionally suggesting that the blame-shifting strategy employed by the APC de-facto leadership is an attempt to cover their tracks.
Deveaux reminds readers that Dr. Samura Kamara’s role in the party is often misunderstood saying as the National Leader and Presidential Candidate, Kamara does not hold executive powers. He postulated that, instead, the responsibility for promoting and defending the party’s integrity, policies, and programs falls on the National Chairman, who serves as the party’s CEO.
According to him, the National Chairman, not the National Leader, is the highest-ranking officer in the APC, and he presides over key party meetings, act as the custodian of the party’s decisions, and ensure that party organs operate within established policies and principles. He also provides firm and effective leadership.
In light of these constitutional responsibilities, Deveaux argues that blaming Dr. Samura Kamara for the party’s challenges is misplaced clarifying that the National Leader is primarily a figurehead during a presidential election, and it is the National Chairman who must navigate the political landscape and advocate for the party’s interests.
Deveaux concludes by urging right-thinking members of the APC to seize the opportunity to rebrand the party and embrace visionary leadership, highlighting that the path forward requires a deeper understanding of the party’s structure and responsibilities.
He maintains that as Sierra Leone navigates its political challenges, the role of leadership within the APC remains a central point of debate and scrutiny adding how the outcome of the Commonwealth-led mediation and the party’s ability to adapt and rebuild will undoubtedly shape the country’s political future.