Cracks have emerged within the ranks of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) over its decision to avoid the legal route in efforts to challenge the outcome of last weekend’s general elections.
The APC in a statement made public on Saturday announced its decision to boycott the governance process until the elections are re-run, among several other controversial demands.
But a prominent member of the opposition party, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, is arguing particularly against boycotting the legal route.
A renowned legal practitioner, Fitzgerald Kamara said that such a move will amount to the party implicitly accepting the results, which it intends to challenge.
“As lawyers we owe an ethical duty to represent the best interests of the Client. Elections are challenged by petitioning the results before the Courts. Any decision by the APC to abandon legal redress is regrettable,” Kamara, popularly known as JFK, who once contested for the presidential ticket of the party, wrote in a tweet.
“Implicitly, the APC have acquiesced and accepted the outcome,” he added.
The APC in its statement accused the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) of colluding with the incumbent Sierra Leone People’s Party of President Julius Maada Bio to rig the June 24 general elections.
Bio was declared winner with 56. 17 percent of the vote cast, ahead of APC’s Samural Kamara with 41.16 percent.
Western elections observers have criticized the electoral commission for failing to ensure transparency in the counting process.
According to the APC, the decision to take this boycott route followed wide consultation within the party’s general membership.
And some of the people who support the party’s move argue that the justice system can’t be trusted because it is under the control of the incumbent. But Fitzgerald Kamara, who himself presided over the sector as Attorney-General and Minister of Justice under the Ernest Bai Koroma-led APC administration from 2016 to 2018, said institutional failure has been a perennial problem that only needed fixing.
“Such institutional failure has been perennial for decades, but its importance still relevant. Time to fix it,” he wrote.
It appears that Fitzgerald Kamara isn’t the only APC member who thinks boycott is the wrong way to go.
Alfred Peter Conteh, former Chairman of the Interim Transitional Governance Committee of the party, has been vocal about the actions of its current leadership. He said that boycotting the governance of the country as a way of challenging the outcome of the elections will destroy the party’s political existence.
“We will not allow unpatriotic members of the APC to destroy our party’s political existence,” he said in a tweet.
On Saturday evening the electoral Commission announced results for parliamentary elections as well as the chairmen and mayors’ contest.
The results show that the incumbent SLPP has made significant gains in parliament, winning a massive majority of 81 seats, against APC’s 54 seats.
Only the two leading parties will make up the House of Representatives in the next parliament, according to the data released by ECSL, thanks to the proportional representation system which saw heavy weights like Dr Kandeh Yumkella and all independent candidates losing their seats.
But the APC keeps the crucial mayoral seat of Freetown, which was tightly contested between incumbent Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer and Mohamed Gento Kamara of the SLPP.