By Alhaji Kamara & Tony Bee, Australia
If there is anything good to talk about, especially within the APC family as patriotic and nationalistic Sierra Leoneans, the national convention of the APC Branch in Australia is no exception because of its uniqueness. The convention was held on the 12th of August 2017 at the prestigious Punchbowl Club in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), the Headquarter of the APC Australia Branch. It was a historic event that one cannot easily forget in their lifetime.
The fact is the convention was well attended by all APC Chapters across Australia and it was really a very colourful day for members of APC in Australia. In this convention, we saw a demonstration of the popular saying unity is strength or power, and how mutual respect is a recipe for growth and peaceful co-existence in the APC family in the Diaspora and at home. I mentioned home, Sierra Leone because charity begins at home as the saying goes. Within the APC Party, there is peace, love, unity and respect and the camaraderie in this party is next to none. It is a party that puts people ahead of personality, which creates smooth atmosphere of interaction within the rank and file of its comradeship. This makes it easy for its members to associate as a close knit in every part of the world.
One of the most outstanding uniqueness of the convention was that the re-election of the charismatic and able Chairman, Mr Mustapha Bangura of APC Branch in Australia. He was re-elected in a very admirable and peaceful atmosphere. Delegates from all APC Chapters in Australia including the Chapter Presidents supported the re-election of Chairman Bangura. One of the members could not hold his breath, but said “Mr Bangura, you deserved this result because you are a very hard-working man with good leadership qualities.”
In return, Chairman Bangura thanked members for the confidence reposed in him and called on all members to continue to work together for the good of the APC and the country. Chairman Bangura reiterated that the results produced by His Excellency, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma in the last 10 years have put the APC in a pole position in the 2018 elections. He however admonished members not to be complacent but to continue the hard work so the party will triumph in next year’s elections. He acknowledged the role of the following comrades for providing guidance and support in advancing the aims and objectives of the APC and the Branch: National Secretary, Ambassador Alhaji Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh, Deputy Chairman, Hon. Minkailu Mansary, Western Area Regional Chairman, Hon. Alieu Pat-Sowe, Elections and Diaspora Affairs Coordinator, Hon. Balogun Koroma. Chairman Bangura also acknowledged the pivotal role of the founding members of the Branch including the former Chairman, James Ibrahim Koroma and the Branch Strategist, Ansumana Usman Koroma.
The Deputy Chairman I, Eric Musa-Fanday thanked all the Chapters’ members for their relentless efforts in making the convention and the Branch a success. “Your presence here is an indication of your love and commitment in the APC Australia Branch and the APC Party in Sierra Leone. “Please let us don’t give chance to the enemies of APC and the nation’s development to deter our patriotism and determination” he said.
The Deputy Chairman II, Madam Rosaline Isatu Conteh also expressed happiness over the re-election of Chairman Mustapha Bangura. “Chairman Bangura is a man worth of trust because of his able leadership qualities for the past years. “So, there is need to give him a second chance to continue his good work, especially in uniting members of the APC Branch in Australia. Peace, love and unity are the pillars for the success of any political party in the world, especially the success of APC political party in Sierra Leone. “Where there is peace there is always harmony” she emphasised. She however, sent a message to the mother APC in Sierra Leone through Chairman Bangura that women should be given more role in governance in Sierra Leone, she concluded.”
The Secretary General of the Branch, Yusufu Kamara thanked members for their commitment and further articulated that the convention was a turning point of the Branch. It was a realisation of one of the goals set out in our previous strategic plan and there is no turning back. “We will take the APC to every nook and cranny of Australia”, Mr Kamara stated.
Victoria Chapter President, Michael Sillah who was also one of the outstanding speakers praised the organisers of the convention and the re-election of Chairman Mustapha Bangura. He admonished members to remain united and committed in the course of promoting the APC Party in Australia. He said with peace and unity in the party in general, surely, they will win the 2018 elections without doubt. “Therefore, please let us bury our individual differences for the sake of the success of our Branch and mother APC in Freetown. Other Chapter Presidents that attended and spoke about the need to form a united force included: Mr Alpha Dura Forna, President Queensland Chapter; Mr Sorie Hassan Bangura, President Western Australia Chapter; and Mr Alhaji Kamara, President Canberra Chapter.
Isaiah Lahai of Tasmania Chapter, Social Welfare Secretary of the Branch, who was also one of the eloquent speakers during the convention said that APC is a family party. He said it is a family party that does not know who is a northerner, Westerner, Southerner, Easterner, Mende, Limba, Susu or Temne. It regards all Sierra Leoneans as one body and one flesh. “It is on this background that makes the party to continue to be stronger and progressive” he said.
However, another important aspect of the convention was the election of Mr. Anthony Bee-Conteh known as Tony Bee as Publicity Secretary II. It was an appointment that many members deemed as a unique milestone for the progress and development of the APC Australia Branch and the mother APC in Sierra Leone because of his courageous patriotic and nationalistic attitude and behaviour that he normally portrays, especially for the development of APC and the country. Mr Conteh will team up with the Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Kamara of Western Australia to inject the trusted oxygen of publicity needed by the Branch and the Party.
Chairman Bangura recounted the role of Tony Bee, especially during the outbreak of the dreadful killer disease Ebola. “It was in Tony Bee’s resident that the first emergency meeting of the Sierra Leone community was held and up to two times before the venue was changed” he pointed. Chairman Bangura further stated that the name Tony Bee is a household name in the Sierra Leone community and in the media sector of Sierra Leone due to his great writing skills.
Below is the current 2017 APC Australia Branch National Executive:
- Chairman – Mustapha Bangura (NSW)
- Deputy-Chairman I – Eric Musa-Fanday (NSW)
- Deputy Chairman II – Madam Rosaline Makotie
- Secretary General – Yusufu Kamara (ACT)
- Assistant Secretary General – Ahmed Bunduka (NSW)
- Branch’s Strategist, Ansumana Usman Koroma
- Branch’s Advisor, Maneneh Lilian Sawaneh
- Treasury – Sanfa Adams Bamba (NSW)
- Assistant Treasury – TBA (WA)
- Publicity Secretary – Alhaji Kamara (WA)
- Publicity Secretary II – Anthony Bee Conteh (NSW)
- Organising Secretary – Abdul Rahman Bundu (NSW)
- Deputy Organising Secretary – Hamid Sillah (VIC)
- Disciplinary Committee – Chairman, Mohamed Fofana (NSW); Deputy Chairman, Alpha Dura Forna; Disciplinary Committee Members – TBA (SA), Sidibay Sillah (VIC), Mohamed Kamara (ACT)
- Chief Auditor – Kidron Koroma (NSW)
- Assistant Auditors – Emmanuel A. Sidibay (VIC); (WA); (SA); (QLD); (ACT)
- The Head, Women’s Congress – Mammy Fatu Bangura (NSW)
- Deputy Women Congress I – Elizabeth Kemoh-Conteh (WA)
- Deputy Women Congress II – Salamatu Njai (QLD)
- The Head, Youth League – Paul John Bangura (NSW)
- Deputy Youth Leader – TBA (ACT)
- Secretary Youth Wing – Salkatu Koroma (TAS)
- Public Relations Officer Youth Wing – Milton Sheka Conteh (VIC)
- President Australia Capital Territory Chapter, Alhaji Kamara
- President Queensland Chapter, Alpha Dura Forna
- President South Australia Chapter, Samuel Williams
- President Victoria Chapter, Michael Sillah
- President Western Australia Chapter, Sorie Hassan Bangura
- Social Welfare Secretary – Isaiah Lahai (TAS)
- Deputy Social Welfare Secretary I – Sulaiman Kamara (SA)
- Deputy Social Welfare Secretary II – Hamouday Kamara (NSW)