Dr Samura Kamara, the presidential candidate of Sierra Leone’s main opposition APC party, who in 2018 lost to Julius Maada Bio of the SLPP by a very narrow three percentage points, will once again lead his party into the June 24th 2023 elections as their Flagbearer, after winning today’s presidential candidacy race at the APC convention in Makeni by a landslide 1,382 valid votes.
Whiles his closest rival – Dr Richard Conteh polled 88 votes, the votes cast for all 17 candidates who ran against Dr Samura Kamara, including void votes, totalled 277.
Dr Samura Kamara is the man widely expected to win the presidential election on June 24, as Sierra Leoneans across the country call for political change of direction to a government that can turn the economy around and respect human rights.
As an economist and former finance minister, Kamara now has the herculean task of uniting the APC party under his manifesto by mending fences with his comrades who have once again been rejected by the party delegates as their flagbearer.
His biggest task will be for him to accept this resounding victory with magnanimity and work quickly to bring everyone on board – to present the party as a united and formidable APC government in waiting.
It should never be lost on the APC that they are running against an incumbent that is fierce in its bellicosity as it is strategic in its operations, and its capacity to organize what election observers have described as criminal expeditions to rig the polls.
Though public opinion may be on the side of the APC, its victory at the polls on June 24, would be contingent upon the strength of their campaign; but more so, the elections machinery Samura Kamara and the new APC leaders would be willing to marshal.
The critical element for the APC will be the quality of polling agents it will recruit and the extent to which those agents will be able to protect and ensure that every single vote cast in its favour will be counted.
The APC must also make very good use of technology and thorough-bred media professionals to ably march and effectively counter the expected volume of negative propaganda – misinformation, disinformation and downright lies the incumbent may deploy during this election cycle.
Whilst the convention hall in Makeni may have gone agog in last minute bidding for the running mate slot, this choice should not be driven by emotion without benefit of the obvious implications relating to religion, electoral demographics, political experience and savviness on the dynamics of governing Sierra Leone. This is critical to prevent voter apathy, especially in view of the fact that the margin that usually separates the APC and the SLPP is narrow – Three percent in 2018.
Even more so, the June 24th election is going to be a two-horse race between these two dominant parties – SLPP and APC.
Sierra Leone is ready for change.
These are the results of today’s APC presidential candidacy race: