By KABS KANU
With the Presidential, Legislative and Local council elections just a year away, any bye-election at this time is very crucial to Sierra Leone’s key political parties as it goes to demonstrate the strength of the traditional rivals, the ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) and the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ). A bye-election at this time will also give a picture of how both parties are standing presently in their strongholds on the eve of the General Elections, because the numbers never lie.
So it was that both the APC and the SLPP took today’s bye-election in the important Constituency 066, incorporating the three chiefdoms of Kalasongoia , Kafe Simiria and Sambaia , which are bastions of the ruling APC. Any defeat here for the APC will be bad news and an indication that the SLPP has chipped away a significant chunk of the popular votes of the Red Brigade in their own stronghold .
Reinvigorated by their new-found peace and unity which are gladdening the hearts of fanatics that the going will be good in 2018, the SLPP needed a win in Tonkolili to demonstrate that they have gatecrashed the ruling APC in their key stronghold and achieve some bragging rights ahead of next year.
As a further demonstration of the importance both parties placed in the bye-elections, top officials of their parties stormed the constituency in a show of power and support for the contestants. On behalf of the ruling APC, Vice President, Victor Bockarie Foh; the Northern Regional party Chairman , Hon. Buya Kamara; The Chairman of the APC Tonkolili , Hon. Dr Minkailu Bah; Minister of State Office of the Vice President, Hon. Mohamed Alie Bah; Resident Minister North, Hon. Alie Kamara, the Chairman of the APC in the Western Area, Capt. Allieu Pat-Sowe visited the constituency, while SLPP’s Deputy Chairman and Leader, Dr. Prince Harding presidential aspirants Maada Bio, Dr Alie Kabba, Ambassador Umaru Bond Wurie, Alpha Timbo and leading officials like Ambassador Alie Badara Kamara and Dr. Abass Bundu, appeared there to campaign for their candidate.
When votes were cast today , the APC came out tops.
ROSEMARIE BANGURA ( APC ) : 7, 173 (61%)
ALHAJI MUSA BOMBA FORAY JALLOH ( SLPP ) : 4, 666 (39%)
Void votes – 741 (6%)
There are few more precints yet to be called , but those results are not expected to affect the final tally.
The figures show that the APC is still holding fast to its strongholds. However , if the SLPP accrued 4, 666 (39%) , it also means that the SLPP is making some kind of headway into that particular stronghold. The margin is not as big as APC supporters would have loved, given the strategic importance of Tonkolili to the reigning party .