FINAL POSITION PAPER & REQUESTS OF THE NATIONAL REFORMATION MOVEMENT – ALL PEOPLE’S CONGRESS (NRM – APC)
For God and Country
(Action Progress Commitment)
- Recipients of the Position Paper & Requests
- Why NRM?
- A recollection of how far we have come
- Requests of NRM
- NRM’s Position and feedback on the APC Draft Constitution 2020
- General Recommendations
- RECIPIENTS OF THE POSITION PAPER & REQUESTS
THE NATIONAL SECRETARY GENERAL
ALL PEOPLES’ CONGRESS (APC)
OLD RAILWAY LINE
THE FACILITATOR – DR. IBRAHIM BANGURA
- MEDIATORS (THE PEACE CORPS) – Abdulai Solema Kamara
- MORAL GUARANTORS:
- THE VETERANS WING OF THE ALL PEOPLES’ CONGRESS
- HON. ADIKALIE AMARA KAMARA
- DR. RICHARD CONTEH – FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF
- Rtd. MAJOR ALFRED PALO CONTEH – FORMER MINISTER OF DEFENSE
- HON. KEMOH SESAY – FORMER MINISTER OF WORKS, HOUSING AND INFRASTRUCTURE
- MR. MOMODU KARGBO – FORMER MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
- HIS WORSHIP BODE GIBSON – FORMER MAYOR OF FREETOWN
- MR. ALI M. KARGBO (COMMONER) – APC REGIONAL CHAIRMAN NORTHERN REGION
- WHY NRM?
In moments of deep reflection, following the 2018 General Elections, a cross-section of well-meaning comrades of the All Peoples’ Congress party (hereinafter referred to as the APC) formed the National Reformation Movement – All People’s Congress (hereinafter referred to as the NRM-APC) with the sole aim of advocating for democratic reforms in the internal politics of the APC in order to guarantee a level playing field for all members of this great party.
These comrades were, and the greatest majority of them are still, motivated and united by their common love for the party, their desire to see it become more responsive to the needs of its youth and grassroot supporters, their collective resolve to ensure the APC recaptures State House in 2023 and deliver the people of Sierra Leone from the political bondage of an SLPP rule.
For the priceless role of the party’s leadership in giving the party a political rebirth in 2002 and 2007 and the invaluable role the leadership continues to play, we register our special gratitude. However, we are not oblivious of the numerous cracks created down the line and the backlash that resulted from certain advertent or inadvertent mistakes that almost caused an implosion within the party.
NRM-APC believes that what happened on the 31st March 2018 was awakening and enlightening. It was an incident which gave us a better understanding of present-day political realities. What happened in 2018 spelt in bold letters the need for reforms within the internal politics of the party we all love and cherish in order to make it more responsive to the needs of its members and diehard supporters, without whom the party will not be as great and powerful as it is today.
- A RECOLLECTION OF HOW FAR WE HAVE COME
We have come a long way since we made that decision which we knew will be painstakingly challenging. We had to confront a lot of roadblocks both within and without our membership, but we remained steadfast as we believe in our bones that the reforms we seek are geared towards the greater good of our party and our country. We invested our time, energy and resources to achieve the goal we set ourselves.
We believe that our relentless advocacy for reforms in our party, the conduct of a research on the factors that led to our defeat in the 2018 Presidential Elections and the willingness of the party’s leadership to do the needful resulted in the following actions by the leadership:
- The setting up of the 9 Man Committee to conduct a research in the reasons that led to our defeat in the 2018 elections.
- The production and presentation of a Whitepaper based on the Report of the 9 Man Committee.
- The creation of a Constitutional Review Committee to review the 1995 APC Constitution.
- The convening of a National Delegates Conference in Port Loko City in January 2020.
In all of these, a lot did happen; suspicions upon suspicions, accusations and counter accusations; the question of sincerity and insincerity etc. Nonetheless, the majority of comrades of our great party (home and abroad) hold the view that the moment to lay the whole issue to rest and face the common enemy is now and here; the time is ripe to do what is right!!
The membership of NRM – APC are willing and ready to cooperate with the party leadership as we have demonstrated in the number of meetings we have held with the party leadership, facilitators and other brokers of peace and we will end all agitations if the modest requests hereinafter stated are met by the leadership of our party. Meeting these modest requests will give our membership the belief and conviction that the leadership is ready for business and progress in order to recapture power which is the birthright of the APC. Meeting these requests will further put the NRM-APC in a better stead to urge the plaintiffs in the matter between Alfred Minkailu Koroma and others vs Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh and others to discontinue the matter in court. In essence, the legs on which the case in court stands will be effectively cut off if these requests are met.
The membership of the NRM-APC did consider the manner in which the January 2020 National Delegates Conference of the APC was convened as unlawful, as there were issues of compliance with the procedures set out in our 1995 Constitution. We believe that the provisions of the1995 Constitution of the APC regarding the holding of a National Delegate Conference were not fully complied with!!
- REQUESTS OF THE NRM
Be that as it may, we make the following requests:
- That the draft Constitution of the APC be thoroughly reviewed in order to ensure that all the clauses are in conformity with democratic principles and best practices.
- That the leadership ensures complete compliance with the provisions of our 1995 Constitution before any convention is convened to adopt the reviewed Draft 2020 Constitution, especially the following provisions:
- Article 6 of the1995 APC Constitution as regards the election of delegates and the publication of the list of delegates at least 21 days before the National Delegates Conference.
- Article 16 of the 1995 APC Constitution as regards the publication of the agenda at least a month before the Convention.
- Article16 of the 1995 APC Constitution, regarding the publication of the draft constitution at least a month before the NDC.
- That the leadership of our party ensures the participation of credible and competent comrades in the planning of the next NDC.
- That a credible and independent Elections Management Committee be constituted and that measures be put in place to ensure that no member of the Election Management Committee be allowed to contest any election across the board (Ward, Constituency, District, Regional and National).
- That the membership of the Delegates Accreditation Committee be reviewed to ensure as far as possible that no one with a vested interest or potential contestants for national positions in the NDC be allowed to serve in the Delegates Accreditation Committee.
- That an Emergency Delegates Conference be convened for the adoption of the reviewed 2020 Draft Constitution as soon as possible so that future proceedings could be done under the New Constitution which we hope would have ushered in a new era of a highly democratic All People’s Congress.
- That regular invitations be extended to the moral guarantors listed above in subsequent negotiation talks until a final agreement is reached. This is to acknowledge the invaluable role they played in persuading the leadership our party and membership of the NRM-APC to agree to follow this current path.
- NRM’S POSITION & FEEDBACK ON THE APC DRAFT CONSTITUTION 2020
We are delighted that most of the reforms we seek are being addressed in the party’s draft constitution. We note with appreciation that:
- The National Chairman and Leader shall not contest for the position of Presidential Candidate (Chapter 5, Article 61 – Elections and Election of Presidential Candidate) – Separation of powers fully addressed
- All National Officers of the party shall hold office for a term of three years and shall be eligible for re-election for another term and no more – Term of office fully addressed
- No more selection clause. All position from polling center, ward, constituency, district, region to national are now elective
- The anti-party activities clause has been thoroughly defined (Chapter 5, Article 67 – Causes for discipline)
- The mandates of the Youth League and the Women’s Congress etc – clearly defined now
However, it is our considered view, that there are still a few gray areas that needs to be further reviewed to ensure that our 2020 APC Draft Constitution becomes more appreciable, more acceptable and fully meet the credentials of a modern day and democratic constitution. We have identified the following areas for your due consideration:
- The section dealing with interpretation
- We want the drafters to revisit the definition ‘Register’ and clearly explain the line … “other organs so authorized by the Party“. We wish to know if the Youth League and Women’s Congress are organs authorized by the party to keep a Register of the membership of the party.
- “Youth” – Youth is interpreted as a member who is not above the age of forty (40) years. We want our party to follow national and international best practices; a youth is someone between the ages of 18 – 35 years.
- CHAPTER 1
Article 3 (Party Motto) – The motto of our party is “Action Progress and Commitment”; when abbreviated it will read APC. We hold the view that this does not really sound well for a unique party like ours. We therefore propose that the Party adopt ‘THE PEOPLE SHALL GOVERN’ as our Party motto. This is because, the current draft 2020 constitution gives enormous powers to the people (the membership); as such, we should adopt a motto that rhymes or in line with our core values. Additionally, sovereignty belongs to the people; adopting such a unique motto will therefore put the APC in an admirable position.
Article 8 (Party Philosophy) – We acknowledge the fact that the drafters did change the Party’s philosophy from *’Democratic Socialism’* to *’Constructive Nationalism’*, we will appreciate if we can adopt *’LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND’* as our Party’s philosophy. There is need to use simple words/language to explain our philosophy to raise awareness and understanding by the grassroot people.
- CHAPTER 3
Article 18 (Meeting, Voting and Decisions of the NDC)
- “… provided that six months’ notice has been given…” For the convening of a National Delegates Conference. We wish to propose that three months’ notice to the membership shall be enough for the convening of an NDC
Note: The same can be said for *Article 18 (b)* etc.
Article 19 (Composition of National Advisory Committee)
XVIII – Thirty non-executive members nominated by the Chairman and Leader in consultation with the Deputy Chairman and Leader, the National Secretary General, the Regional Chairmen and endorsed by the National Delegates Conference. We see this as being undemocratic and a strategy of vesting enormous powers once again in the Chairman and Leader. Such action will make him more powerful and will use it to his advantage. We therefore suggest that the membership into NAC be by election at District level (one representative from each district) aside those elected National Officers of the Party whom by virtue of their positions they hold (for which they were elected) automatically becomes NAC members. In summary, this means 38 NAC members as follows;
- The 16 elected National Officers of the party
- The 16 elected District Chairmen and
- The Chairman should appoint 6 members into NAC taken into consideration Regional representation in consultation with the Deputy Chairman, Secretary and the Regional Chairmen of the party subject to approval at the National Delegates Conference.
- CHAPTER 3 continue
Article 26 (The National Women’s Congress)
(f) “… powers to the National Women’s Leader to add non – elective positions as she thinks necessary”. We see this as a recipe for internal conflict as cabal formation and other sub sections will be borne out of this action. For instance, a leader may choose to add certain persons as s/he thinks necessary and may choose to work with these persons thus sidelining elected members. We therefore suggest that all positions be filled through election.
Article 27 (The National Veterans Congress)
“… power to the National Veterans Leader to add non – elective positions as he thinks necessary”. As cited above.
Article 28 (The National Youth League)
- Youth: “…18 but not above 40”. It should be 18 – 35.
(f) “… powers to the National Youth Leader to add non – elective positions as he thinks necessary. As cited above.
Article 36 (The Ward Executive Committees)
(XI) “…powers to the Constituency Executive to establish other offices for the ward as it may deem necessary”. As cited above
- CHAPTER 4
Article 55 (Powers and Functions of National Secretariat Officers)
- The Deputy Legal Adviser: “… a lawyer of not less than 5 years post call”. We hold the view that the Legal Adviser and the Deputy Legal Adviser should have the same qualification in terms of the number of years in the practice i.e. not less than 10 years post call.
- In the absence of the National Legal Adviser he shall perform the functions of the National Legal Adviser.
This also points to the fact that the Deputy Legal Adviser should be knowledgeable enough to be able to adequately step into the shoes of the National Legal Adviser in his absence; thus, the justification why both must meet the same requirements.
- All internal elections of the Party shall be primarily administered by the Internal Elections Management Committee
- All elections shall be conducted in accordance with the election rules and regulations drawn up by the Internal Elections Management Committee and approved by the National Advisory Committee.
We humbly suggest that an Elections Manual which will clearly spell out bylaws governing the conduct of internal elections be adopted alongside this constitution to prevent any future problem(s). This said Elections Manual should be subject to periodical review to ensure that it is kept up to date in meeting the current trends of time.
- GENERAL RECOMMENDATION
- We note that the nomenclature National Chairman and Leader runs through the draft 2020 APC Constitution. We wish to propose that the two positions be separated; we hold the view that the position of Leader be reserved for the standard bearer that will be elected so that he too will be an integral part of the Leadership of the Party. The Chairman shall remain as the Executive Officer of the Party, the Leader a ceremonial head only but will represent and speak for and on behalf of the Party as and when necessary. The Secretary General shall be the administrative head.
- Another major concern that runs through the 2020 Draft APC Constitution is the formation of a quorum (one – third). It is our considered view that the number is too small and that such numbers can create loophole for manipulations. We therefore suggest that a quorum should be two-third or in worst case scenarios half of the membership that should be present in any meeting or convention.
We have always considered the party to be bigger than every individual, group or movement within the party. In this light, we wish to assure the leadership of our party of our continued cooperation and interest to achieve a win-win solution on the current issue at hand.
As we look forward to hearing from the leadership at their earliest convenience, please have the assurances of our highest regard.
Signed for and on behalf of the membership of the NRM home and abroad:
- Comrade Minkailu Koroma
Lead Negotiator and Spokesman NRM
- Comrade Tejan Conteh Esq.
Secretary General NRM
- Comrade Alvin Williams
National Coordinator NRM
- Comrade Masilika Conteh
Financial Secretary NRM
- Comrade Sheku Samura
Dpt. National Coordinator NRM
- Comrade Ing. Sallieu Kamara
Regional Coordinator North West NRM (Negotiator)
- Comrade Mohamed Julius Kamara
Regional Coordinator Northern Region NRM (Negotiator)
- Comrade Alfred Davies
Regional Coordinator Southern Region NRM (Negotiator)
- Comrade Saffa Abdulai
Regional Coordinator Eastern Region NRM (Negotiator)
10 Comrade Joshua Gordon
Regional Coordinator Western Area NRM (Negotiator)
- Comrade Abdul Rahman Bangura Esq.
Legal Adviser 1 NRM
- Comrade Sydney Campbell
Legal Adviser 2 NRM
- Comrade Amie L. Koroma
Strategic Advisor NRM (Negotiator)
- Musa Al-Islam Kargbo
Religious Head NRM (Negotiator)
- Comrade Mohamed Turay
Dept. Leader NRM (Negotiator)
- Comrade Hon. Sirajin Rollings-Kamara
Chairman NRM (Negotiator)
- The APC 1995 Constitution
- The NRM National Tour Report (the 2018 Multi-tier Elections – An APC Introspection)
- NAC Whitepaper on the Nine Man Committee Report
- The APC 2020 Draft Constitution
Hon. Sirajin Rollings-Kamara