Sunday, August 19, 2007

APC and PMDC in secret talks

The headquarters of the opposition All People’s Congress Party (APC) at Hannah Benka Coker Street, was on Saturday afternoon thrown into wild jubilation, when the party’s leader Ernest Bai Koroma held secret talks with his counterpart of the People’s Democratic Movement Change (PMDC), Charles Francis Margai.

Details of their about-thirty minutes closed door conversation were sketchy as we went to press, but it may not be unconnected with the possible merger between the two parties.

In fact, at the end of the closed door meeting, both leaders walked down the building as Koroma escorted Margai into his waiting jeep amidst thunderous applause from onlookers’ mostly political supporters. The scene was expectedly colourful with both leaders in sporting attire.

Both leaders could not be reached to comment on the nature of their meeting and officials of both parties were also unwilling to comment. What is clear however is that the APC held an emergency executive meeting shortly after Margai left.

With results released by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) so far putting the APC in a comfortable lead ahead of the ruling SLPP, speculations are rife that there will be a run-off and that the PMDC will be the kingmaker. Any of the two parties (APC and SLPP)supported by the PMDC will win. Some APC stalwarts however still insist there will be no run-off.Unconfrimed reports say Charles Margai has already rebuffed reconciliatory overtures from the SLPP.

Margai’s PMDC, an offspring of the SLPP, has said in a press release early this week that the decision to merge with any political party in the case of a run-off is left with the party’s membership, but whatever the case may be, he said, that decision will be in the interest of the nation with no tribal or regional influences attached. He said the time was not yet ripe for him to make a statement on that issue, according to the release.

Newspapers in Freetown have been speculating that the SLPP had offered the PMDC four ministerial positions including that of Foreign Affairs and Justice respectively and two others.

It is not very likely that Margai will join ranks with his former party considering the bad blood that previously existed between himself and the hierachy of the SLPP.

On several ocassions, both the SLPP Publicity Secretary Victor Reider and its Secretary General, Jacob Jusu Saffa had dismissed Margai’s PMDC as a "social club" saying its leader is frustrated and does not have the capacity and ability to secure even a seat in the parliamentary race.

Margai, on the other hand had left the SLPP for what he called ’bad governance’ describing its leaders (President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and Vice President Solomon Berewa) as corrupt people who have no intention to move Sierra Leone forward.

Early this month, Margai said at a presidential debate organised by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), that the new APC under the leadership of Ernest Koroma has a very decent reputation.

Also, Koroma had once described Margai as a friend. It is thus very likely that the PMDC will declare support for the APC.

APC, PMDC in serious negotiations