The National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone (NOC-SL) on Tuesday boycotted the Sierra Leone Athletics Association (SLAA) elective congress that was organized by the five-man interim committee with the support of the National Sports Council (NSC).
The tussle within the SLAA has lasted for a long while now as it could be recalled that in 2015, stakeholders of the Association called for the intervention of the then Acting Director of Sports Saidu Mansaray and General Secretary of the National Olympic Committee Joseph Nyande to get their executive to convene the organization’s congress.
A letter signed by 19 officials mainly club Presidents and Secretary Generals, informed the pair that the SLAA executive committee has been silent over the pronouncement of a date for the congress for which they were dissatisfied.
On 20th November 2015 at the Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown, the then SLAA secretary general, Dauda Sundufu Sowa organized an elective congress without the consent of his boss, Abdul Karim Sesay.
But before the staging of the election, the NOC-SL in a press release stated that they will not recognize an executive that is not elected through congress organized by the sitting executive. Sowa and his followers went on with the election in which the former Sierra Leone Defense Minister, Paolo Conteh emerged as the President of the Association while Sowa maintained the Secretary General’s position.
However, the World Athletic governing body, IAAF ruled against such move and revealed that they will not recognize the said executive.
In December, another congress was summoned but it ended in chaos following confrontation between the then Minister of Sports, Paul Kamara and Palo Conteh as the former insisted that the latter was not qualified to contest as per parliamentary rules.
Despite the chaos, the congress was reportedly conducted in another venue in which Mr. Karim Sesay was pronounced the winner, a move that led to several protests by other factions over the credibility of such convention.
After several consultative meeting and engagement with the two parties by the NSC and the Sports Ministry, no headway was reached but on October 5th, the Ministry and NSC announced Tuesday, 11th October, 2016 as the re-elective congress date.
Despite several calls, the Karim executive boycotted the said congress while Martin Bangura was said to have been elected as the unopposed president.