BY DANIEL N’BOMPA-TURAY :
In a multi-party democratic state where political parties periodically seek the mandate of its citizens, the momentum of a governing party is crucial in prolonging its stay in power. Conscious of this self evident truth, the APC Veterans Welfare Association (VETWA) has given hope to party supporters nationwide in their recent countrywide tour to establish VETWA regional and district executives which will climax to a formal launching in December by President Koroma.
In the regional towns of Makeni, Bo, Kenema supporters assembled in their party colour in large numbers demonstrating their warm embrace for the VETWA initiative. According to many, it presents a clear road map in catering for the welfare of the elderly as well as providing a platform where their views and concerns of the party grassroot base will be heard. Many, including Balla Musa Koroma, APC Bo District Deputy Chairman confessed that VETWA has re-ignited their love and passion for the party as they now felt recognized for their great work. APC Eastern Region Secretary General, Abdul WAhab Wann noted that VETWA is strategically positioned to galvanize the party grassroot base and revive its unshakeable momentum to win successive elections.
In the jam- packed meeting in the party office at Makeni, chairman of the meeting, Hon. Abdul Ignosi KOroma who is the APC Northern Region Deputy Chairman and also Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, lauded VETWA for reaching out to the party grassroot base. He opined that with VETWA, the energies of the elderly will be profoundly tapped. He continued that it will also certainly reduce some of the burden on regional and district party leaders particularly in addressing members’ welfare issues.
VETWA Interim Chairman, Thomas Conteh, alias Tongbeh Tongbeh, spoke of the need to strategically position the party grass root support base so as grassroot supporters will fully realize the transformational package of the agenda for prosperity. Tongbeh Tongbeh noted that VETWA seeks to cater for the welfare of elderly party supporters as well as ensuring that their views and concerns becomes intergral in the party. This he explained will largely maintain party momentum in every region and district in the country.
VETWA Interim Adviser, Hon. Philipson Kamara, former Parliamentarian, Minister and Ambassador reckoned that the benefits of VETWA will only be realized when members remain discipline, respectful and united. He admonished supporters to always remain calm and be loyal to the party and Chairman and Leader of the party, who is the President, as the party is bigger than any individual.
Another VETWA Adviser, former Minister and Parliamentarian, the popular Harold Hanciles of Bo, chronicled the history of the party, pointing out the ‘party resilience’ which has always been fermented by its grassroots base since its first election in 1962 when the party established itself as the main opposition in parliament, just one year of independence. Harold Hanciles furthered that it was this party-resilience that distinguished the APC as the first opposition party after independence in sub-Sahara Africa to defeat an incumbent in the 1967 multi-party elections. It was this undying party-resilience that has been effectively rekindled in the elections of 1996, 2002, 2007 and 2012. He appealed to supporters never to loose their esteemed party-resilience so that the party will continue to provide the anticipated political leadership that will continue to profoundly improve the lives of the ordinary citizens.
VETWA Interim Chairlady and gender activist, Haja Kadie Sawyerr encouraged women to vigilantly embrace VETWA and ensure they play their full role its structures and operations. She boasted that women’s discrimination is completely discouraged within VETWA as it’s contradicts its grassroots focus.
Dilating on the rational for the establishment of VETWA, the Interim Secretary General,Ibrahim Sobonikeh Sesay, opined that supporters will continue to manifest their unflinching support to the party when their contribution are recognized and appreciated. VETWA, Sobonikeh continued, is a product of the sensitive nature of the party to the concerns of its grassroots support base. He vouched that the party will always endeavour to cater for its grassroots base so that they will be integral in the national development agenda.