Reform APC Now …NRM Insists

 

Things seem to be falling apart fall apart in the All People’s Congress (APC) family and the centre cannot hold. Anarchy has been let loose in the party by a group of dissidents under the name National Reformation Movement (NRM).

The NRM Secretary General, Usman Bikal Kamara has said their mission to reform the internal politics to reflect true democracy is unstoppable and winnable. He stated that the movement cannot be bullied, threatened or intimidated by anyone because they are all bonafide APC members who have also made contributions to the party in various leadership and membership capacities.

Explaining NRM’s crusade to reform APC, Mr. Kamara maintained that the movement is not against anybody and does not care about who the party’s leaders are, but are adamant that leaders of the party must be democratically elected.

He disclosed that since 2002, there has been no democratic election in the APC. This, he said, is not good for the people and the party. It is based on this he said, among other demands, that the NRM wants the Selection Clause in the APC 1995 Constitution to be repealed. The reason, the Secretary General said, is because the Selective Clause has been misused, abused and manipulated by a few stalwarts to serve their own interest to the detriment of the party. Mr. Kamara opined that the selection of candidates was one of the main reasons for the defeat of APC in the 31st March, 2018 presidential runoff election.

Another reason the NRM is calling for reform in the APC, the Secretary General said, is because there is disconnection between the leadership and the grassroots supporters, adding that the only purpose of the grassroots, who the leadership claims own the party, is to wear T-shirts and go out and dance for the party. He lamented that the grassroots have no say in the affairs of the party which, he said, is undemocratic.

“This is the appropriate time for reforms,” Mr. Kamara said, adding that the people must participate in decision-making and electing their leaders. “If the party is grassroots, then the grassroots must have the right to determine who should be their leaders as a matter of democratic principle,” the NRM scribe insists.

Mr. Kamara said their movement is not intended to fuel an uprising in the APC or to create disunity but to make its internal politics democratic. With particular reference to the Selection Clause in the party’s 1995 Constitution, Mr. Kamara explained that the provision was made by the framers of the 1995 Constitution, including the late Solomon A. J. Pratt, William Juana Smith, Mohamed Lamin Bangura, amongst others within the existing circumstances in the country under the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) military regime that toppled the APC from power in April 1992. Mr. Kamara furthered that because party elections could not be freely and openly held to choose the party leaders, it was included in the 1995 Party Constitution that the choice of leaders could be done either by election or selection.

He maintained that despite such circumstances no longer exist, the party continues to use only the selection for appointing people instead of the democratic practice of election. The Selection Clause, he said, is now obsolete and therefore of no relevance to the people and the party. According to him, it benefits only an infinitesimal group in the party and must therefore be challenged now or it would go on forever.

Another section of the party constitution NRM wants expunged is that having to do with anti-party activities which, he said, gives cause to abuse of power by the leaders. “NRM are also calling for a term limit on holding of executive positions,” Mr. Kamara said, adding that it should be limited to a maximum of two or three terms in order to give other people the chance to serve their party. NRM alleged that there are some stalwarts that have occupied positions in the party for over four terms.

Mr. Kamara charged that those opposed to their move are the ones benefitting from the status quo and referred to them as a minute group. NRM, he said, includes some APC Members of Parliament and is funded from contributions made by the grassroots whose interests the movement represents.

Meanwhile, the NRM Secretary General said the movement has written a letter to the APC Secretariat inquiring about the outcome of the 9-man committee’s investigation into the circumstances leading to the defeat of APC in the 2018 presidential runoff election but said they have not yet been replied by the Secretariat, noting that the six-week period that was given to the committee to submit its report has elapsed.