In spite of the endless court cases engineered and bankrolled by some senior members of both the KKY Movement and All Aspirants Alliance, the Paopa faction has never relented in its determination to produce a victory for the SLPP in the 2018 election with Rtd. Brig Julius Maada Bio as President.
Provisional Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) figures suggest State House is firmly within the grasp of the grand old party. Crucially also, the BVR exercise, says the Chairman National Registration Committee (NRC), Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa provided a blue print on effective management (monitoring and reporting mechanism) of future elections especially the 2018.
The former National Secretary General as the Chairman explained that the broad responsibility of the NRC which was to lead the planning, coordination, monitoring and supervision of the BVR process nationwide reveals critical methods in effective election management.
On the registration figures, Mr. Saffa said the overall results of the registration indicate a huge success for SLPP. “Out of a total of 3,128,967 registered voters, 40% are in the South and East, the stronghold of the SLPP and 60% are from the North and West. The percentage is not significantly different from that in 2012. The percentage share of voters registered in the North dropped from 34.4% to 31.9% whereas the shares in the East and South are not significantly different. The difference between the South & East and the North is 241,295 in 2017 compared to 170,917 in 2012 in favour of the South & East. “
Assuming APC secures all votes in the North and SLPP secures all in the South & East, this means, APC needs to lead the SLPP in the West by at least 241,295.
Analysts believe with the declining popularity of the APC in the Western Area largely due to high cost of living and rampant corruption as well as the emergence of new political parties, it is impossible for the APC to retain its 65% control of the Western Area.
“The obvious beneficiary of defectors from the APC, according to some is more likely to be the SLPP if they intensify their outreach to youth groups in Freetown and surroundings”, an analyst pointed out.
Although the ADP stands a good chance of grabbing a large chunk of APC votes, most voters will perceive the SLPP as the alternative, particularly when they would not want to be on the losing side. Because of this, most swing voters reasonably do not join small parties. They prefer to be associated with large parties that have chances of winning elections.
Already, in most public transports and joints around Freetown, the front runner candidate for the SLPP flag bearer, Brig. Rtd. Julius Maada Bio is considered as the next option.
The best APC can secure in the Western Area given the ethnic composition is 50%. SLPP has a good chance to increase its Western Area vote from about 30% to 40%. This depends on how smartly they sell out their messages, reach out to youths and protect their votes. The ADP and other parties can at least secure 10% of the votes in the Western Area.
In the North, results from all last six bye-elections indicate that APC is gradually losing control. Average percentage share of APC votes has dropped from 85% to less than 70%. In Constituency 30 and 50 bye-elections, the ADP even secured at least a third of the votes and in Constituency 66, the SLPP secured about 39%. In the last three bye-elections, average SLPPvotes has been about 20%. With the challenges of incumbent government in its strongholds where most people who did not materially benefit become disgruntled and the fact that Kambia and Koinadugu are swing districts, the highest percentage votes APC can secure in the North in 2018 is 70%. The remaining balance 30% can be shared between SLPP and other parties. If the SLPP secures 15%, other parties will secure the remaining 15%.
In the South & East, the SLPP can raise its share of votes from 70-75% easily to minimum 80%. Even if APC secures all the remaining balance 20% in the South & East including Kono, the SLPP will still be comfortable.