What Does The APC Really Want?

By Sorie Fofana

The June 24, 2023 Presidential and General elections have come and gone. The man, who was declared winner of the Presidential election by the Chief Electoral Commissioner/National Returning Officer, Mohamed Kenewui Konneh, has been sworn-in by the Chief Justice. The African Union and the ECOWAS Elections Observation Missions have all declared the elections to be peaceful, free, fair and credible.

The newly elected Members of Parliament from the ruling SLPP and the elected Paramount Chief Members of Parliament have all subscribed to the Oath of Office. All but one of the APC elected MPs have refused to subscribe to the Oath of Office because of the political position taken by the party not to participate in any governance activity until their grievances are addressed.

The APC MP for Karene district, Mohamed Bangura, has subscribed to the Oath of Office in Parliament explaining that, his decision to contest for a Parliamentary seat was to serve his constituents. He said he would have betrayed those who voted for his party in his Constituency if he had not gone to Parliament to take his seat and subscribe to the Oath of Office. He called on his APC colleague MPs to join him in Parliament and allow the leadership of the party to pursue their grievances.

The question is now being asked: What does the APC really want? Their demands remain the re-run of the Presidential election, the resignation of the Chief Electoral Commissioner and his Board of Commissioners and an independent body to be established to conduct the re-run Presidential election. All of these demands have turned out to be something of a damp squib.

Where does the APC go from here? In the first place, the APC will find it very difficult, if not impossible, to expel Mohamed Bangura from Parliament for anti-party activities. In order to expel Mohamed Bangura from Parliament, the APC needs to get the support of the Speaker of Parliament. The Speaker of Parliament is a senior member of the ruling SLPP. He is certainly not going to allow the APC to humiliate Mohamed Bangura simply because he (Mohamed Bangura) refused to toe the line of his party in boycotting Parliament.

The Chief Electoral Commissioner/National Returning Officer and his Board of Commissioners made it very clear, even before the elections were conducted on June 24, that they had no intention of resigning.

The President-elect, Dr. Julius Maada Bio, has been sworn-in for a second 5-year-term and has even completed the process of appointing his Ministers.

He has so far attended an ECOWAS heads of state and government meeting in Guinea Bissau where he received congratulatory messages from not only his colleague heads of state but from the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to West Africa and the Sahel.

Even the Secretary General of the Commonwealth has congratulated President Bio on his re-election and has wished him a successful second term in office.

Other world leaders including Ahmed Bola Tinubu (Nigeria), Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey), the Chinese and Russian Presidents have all congratulated President Bio on his re-election.

The APC leadership knows that, it is completely unrealistic to expect any of their demands to be met now. In order for them to be taken seriously, they must rescind their unrealistic demands and order their elected Members of Parliament/Councilors/Chairmen to go to Parliament/council and do the work for which they have been elected.

The leadership of the APC can then engage the government especially on electoral reforms. The reforms of the electoral laws can only take place if the APC MPs go to Parliament and make their voices heard, loud and clear.

If the APC leadership continues to press for their demands to be met before they take part in the governance of the state, even their friends in the international community and their media and civil society backers will run out of patience and abandon them.

Up and down this country, people are asking only one question: What does the APC really want?

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