Submission Of Lists of President And Parliamentary Candidates… Deadline Today

 

In the rundown to the highly anticipated March 7th 2018 national elections which is expected to be keenly contested by the incumbent and its 15 challengers, the National Elections Commission has confirmed today January 10th 2018 is the deadline for submission to it of the list of presidential and parliamentary candidates by the 16 registered political parties in the country taking part in the elections. In fulfillment of that requirement, after extensive consultations at constituency, district and national levels, yesterday the ruling All Peoples Congress party announced the names of the 132 people that will standard as its parliamentary candidates.

Similarly, the Editor of Unity, the official mouthpiece of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party, Abu Bakarr Joe Sesay informed this press that after having vetted their aspirants at the constituency, district and regional levels, the National Officers at the party’s Secretariat in Freetown were at work compiling the final list of its 132 parliamentary candidates. He disclosed that in the lower level selection processes. 95% to 98% of their representatives in the last parliament have lost their candidacy. He stated that this was because the party had this time round put in place measures to ensure that aspirants with money could not bribe lower level electoral colleges. This he said ensured that only the right aspirants with proven loyalty and commitment to the party who the people favored v got elected.

On the reaction of those aspirants who lost in the elections, he said many of them accepted the decision of their constituents in good faith and magnanimously congratulated the winners and pledged their allegiance and continued support to the party’s mantra, vision and mission. Others their supporters who he said had a do-or-die mentality towards the primary elections are disgruntled and grumpy. However, he noted that this is normal in a highly competitive election, adding that, however, nobody had yet been awarded symbol.

On the issue of who will be named as the SLPP Presidential running mate, Mr. Sesay said it remained the sole prerogative of Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio. However, he said the matter will be laid to rest before the party submits its list today to NEC.

Asked about how prepared SLPP is to win the March 7th 2018 national elections, he replied confidently that the party is well prepared and on course towards that. He said that in that direction, their presidential candidate has during his ‘Thank You’ tour solidly consolidated the party’s supremacy and hegemony in the South-East. He further stated that the party has established various election-oriented committees and are well funded, all geared towards their ambition of winning the elections. He disclosed that the appropriate election strategies have been designed to counter weaknesses that led to the 2012 defeat.

In a related political development, the NEC Outreach Officer, Albert Massaquoi in confirming that today is the deadline of submission said that this will be followed by training of aspirant members of parliament on January 17th at district level and at the national level for presidential candidates. He further disclosed that for the council elections countrywide, there are 146 wards with vacancies for 511 people including mayors, chairpersons and councilors. Only 6 of the parties – APC, SLPP, NGC, C4C and CDP have furnished NEC with names for all the council elections. ADP and PMDC he said fall slightly below the full complement.

Mr. Massaquoi commented on the impasse between the Commission and APC over the approval of the nomination of the party’s Freetown Mayoral candidate. He stated that the Commission will know the way forward after the court hearing tomorrow. A court order had entreated NEC to change the residence of the APC candidate from Regent to Lumley in line with NEC provision for qualification to vote and be voted for in a municipal election. NEC had replied that they are not doing registration but nomination.