A Short Comment by Sorie Fofana
A Parliamentary bye-election was conducted in Constituency 010 in the Kailahun district on Saturday, 27th February, 2021 following the death of the elected SLPP Member of Parliament for the Constituency, Hon. Samuel Genewai Panda.
Three candidates contested the bye-election in Constituency 010 on Saturday, 27th February, 2021. The three candidates are John Allieu (APC), Zainab Kama Braima (SLPP) and Ibrahim Sylvester Jusu Hengela (Independent).
The Independent candidate is a registered member of the SLPP. He decided to contest the bye-election in protest over the award of the SLPP party symbol to someone who is not an indigene of the Constituency.
The SLPP candidate in the February bye-election, Zainab Kama Braima (Mrs.), also contested as an Independent candidate in the 2018 Parliamentary elections after she was deprived of the SLPP party symbol as a result of a flawed party symbols award process in that Constituency.
Mrs. Zainab Kama Braima emerged the winner of the 27th February 2021 bye-election held in Constituency 010 in the Kailahun district. She won by a convincing margin.
Significance Of The SLPP Victory
At the SLPP NEC meeting held at the Holy Trinity Hall in Kenema on Saturday, 23rd January, 2021 President Julius Maada Bio as Party Leader called on party members and supporters to embrace those who had left the party and to accommodate new members in the interest of party unity.
Even though she contested as an Independent candidate in Constituency 010 in the Kailahun district in 2018, Mrs. Zainab Kama Braima never resigned from the SLPP. In fact, she was a very active member of the party and one of the greatest supporters of the party’s activities in Kailahun district.
Many SLPP supporters in the Constituency decided to vote for the Independent candidate in the February 27th bye-election in retaliation to the party’s decision to award the symbol to someone who had contested against the party’s official candidate in 2018. The award of the party’s symbol to Mrs. Zainab Braima in the bye-election held on 27th February, 2021 shows that the SLPP is not a vindictive party.
The SLPP leadership’s decision to award the party symbol to someone who does not even hail from that Constituency and from that district shows that the SLPP is a national party and respects their slogan of “One People, One Country”.
Mrs. Zainab Kama Braima does not even speak a word of Mende. She is a Loko from Kalangba in the Bombali district. She is married to a Mende from that Constituency. Many people are wondering how a Loko woman was awarded the SLPP symbol to represent a Mende-dominated Constituency in Parliament. It shows that the SLPP is a One Nation Party.
The decision by the leadership of the SLPP to award the party’s symbol to a woman, shows that, the SLPP under President Julius Maada Bio is creating the ideal platform for strong women to openly participate in national politics.
The result of the bye-election held in Constituency 010 in the Kailahun district shows that, the SLPP Presidential candidate in the 2023 Presidential election, President Julius Maada Bio will secure nothing less than 95% in the Presidential election in the whole of the South/Eastern Region with the exception of Kono. Kono remains unpredictable because of the current dynamics of local party politics in the district.
The SLPP victory in the bye-election in Constituency 010 in the Kailahun district has put the party in a stronger position to wipe the main opposition APC party out of the political map of the South/Eastern Region.