APC witch-hunt against Yumkella now goes to the Supreme Court

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 February 2018

After losing its two protest hearings at the National Electoral Commission to ban Dr Yumkella from contesting the forthcoming elections, the ruling APC has now taken its anger and what many regard as a divisive plot to the country’s Supreme Court.

The central point of law that the ruling APC have taken to the Supreme Court for legal interpretation of the constitution and ruling , is that: “Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella with voter identification card number 2282101 is a dual citizen of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the United States of America in violation of section 76(1a) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No 6 of 1991 and the Public Elections (Act No 4) of 2012……….and that Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella with voter identification card number 2282101 said openly on the 18th Day of January 2018 in a Press Conference that he holds a dual citizenship and that he has renounced same.”

But speaking today to the Sierra Leone Telegraph, a senior retired judge made this observation  to the editor – Abdul Rashid Thomas in a telephone conversation – not as an answer to the issues raised by the Supreme Court case, but as an observation:

“Government brought changes to the immigration laws in 2006, with the intention not to punish its citizens or disenfranchise them. When government failed to ensure that those legal changes are also effected in the constitution, its the govt that has failed its citizens in its duty.

“Should a citizen going about his or her daily lives, reasonably believing that all is well with the law, be held responsible for the lapses of government to ensure the legal changes have been properly effected, and that there are no conflicts between legislation and the constitution? No.

“Citizens cannot be held responsible, nor should they be disenfranchised, if the laws are allowed to conflict with the constitution over a period of time”.

This legal observation does not answer the question of dual citizenship as pertaining to the kandeh Yumkella case, but an interesting and serious observation by a retired judge, regarding the legality and morality of the Koroma government’s Supreme Court hearing against Yumkella, which many in Sierra Leone believe is a witch-hunt.

A few weeks ago, a legal commentator – Abu Bakarr Bangura, said this: 

I am shocked to hear that the APC party has filed a petition against Kandeh Yumkella’s candidacy. I recently posted a commentary supporting the views expressed by Francis Gabbidon on the dual citizenship issue.

I stated that the constitution is the supreme law of the land and consequently, any law that is inconsistent with provisions of the constitution law is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency.

Since the 2006 Citizenship Act neither addressed nor contradict provisions of the constitution, Section 76(1) of the Constitution is still valid and will remain in force until amended.

However, it would be a total miscalculation with far-reaching ramifications for the APC party to petition the candidacy of Kandeh Yumkella.

The APC party/government had over 50 dual citizens who served as MPs in the recently dissolved Parliament, and there are still people with dual citizenship and foreign nationals serving as MINISTERS in the current government in flagrant violation of section 76 of the Constitution.

The effect of this violation is that any law that was passed by a Sierra Leone Parliament with illegal MPs (foreign nationals or dual citizens) is void ab initio. The same also goes for all nominations approved or confirmed by the said Parliament.

This means the entire country has been operating illegally for the past ten years. To put the extent of this illegality into perspective I will give just a few examples.


All or most of the judges in the current Supreme Court of Sierra Leone were confirmed by the last two parliament which had illegal MPs. This means that the confirmation of such judges is illegal, and consequently those judges are illegally serving in the Supreme Court.

This makes it very complicating for an illegal Supreme Court whose Judges were confirmed in violation of Section 76 of the Constitution to hear a petition against the nomination of a candidate alleged to be in violation of the same Section 76.

Also, since all or most judges of lower courts were also approved by the Sierra Leone Parliament in the last ten years, it would be apt to say that all judgments/decisions given by the Sierra Leone courts in the past ten years are illegal.


Since all CABINET MINISTERS, except the Attorney General must be approved by Parliament, it is obvious that ALL ministers who have served in the past ten years have done so illegally by virtue of them being approved by an illegal Parliament.

All CONTRACTS / AGREEMENTS (mining, debts, international agreements) entered into by the government in the last 10 years are illegal. Again, ALL actions of NEC approved by an illegal parliament including the registration of voters are illegal. The list goes on.

These are just some of the implications of a petition against Yumkella. It would be like opening Pandora’s box. According to the famous equitable maxim, he who comes to equity must come with cleans hands.

The APC does not have clean hands because APC has violated Section 76 in the past 10 years and the violation still continues with dual citizens/foreign national currently serving as ministers.

The APC lawyers, who suddenly have become moral guarantors of the constitution should hold their heads in shame as Section 76 has always been alive.

You cannot file a petition for a violation of a law that you have consistently violated and still violating. You cannot complain about the snow in your neighbour’s house while your doorstep is unclean.

My advice to the APC government/Party and the judiciary is that let sleeping dogs lie and let Section 76 be applied henceforth and not retrospectively.

About the author

Abu Bakarr Orkailkail Bangura has a BA, LLB (UNDA), GDLP, LLM (USYD), LLM (UNSW), PhD in Law Cand. (UNSW)


  1. All Sierra Leoneans wherever they are today, we are proud. Koroma and his APC ministers should stand trias. They have violated the country’s constitution section 76. I believe after March 7th victory by either SLPP or NGC, these guys will disappear from the country and go somewhere else.

  2. This did not come as a surprise as the APC lawyers had said they would go to the Supreme Court failing NEC. Very well, let the Supreme Court make a decision on the matter.

    Even from a layman’s point of view, what the Lawyers are failing to understand is that Yumkella has publicly said that his citizenship had been renounced. Now if the APC lawyers are claiming that this is not the case and have taken the matter to Court then the burden of proof is with them. That burden will only shift to Yumkella after they have presented their evidence. One will assume that the public statement was a fact until proved otherwise.

    Yumkella’s Lawyers were right to advise him not to produce any evidence. I will expect a judge to dismiss this matter for lack of evidence.

    What a distraction from the more important matters our people want addressed and this sort of chicanery is what the APC is best known for; more reason why some of us in this country have great difficulty in supporting them.

  3. During my short vacation in Sierra Leone I noticed that the APC government is now in a desperate mode to hang onto power and they are doing whatever it takes to accomplish that dream. In my opinion, our country under this president is a failed state, since most of the people are suffering except the few that have connections to the government, or are receiving remittances from the diaspora.

    Unfortunately those are the people that are not facing the economic reality in the country especially Freetown and they are in a state of denial that the country desperately needs change. Dr. Kandeh Yumkella can own two passports but has a right to only one birth certificate.

    I will advise President Ernest Bai Koroma to do some background check on Dr. Yumkella and to make sure that he is deported back to his country of birth where he is only qualified to become president.

  4. Thanks very much for your news article.

    Taking KKY to the Supreme Court shows the true state of our present government, which can be best explained under the following points – moral bankruptcy powered by ignorance of the law, mediocre leadership which is out of touch with the real problems of our country.

    By the way, WHY MUST our judges of TODAY (21st Century) still carry the colonial master’s wig on their heads?? When can we free ourselves from colonial and mental SLAVERY??

    • I can’t agree more Mr. Moiba. The wig is a joke in an Africa that is so desperately striving for self determination. Sierra Leone is not alone in this primitive practice though, even Kenya, a country thats ahead of Sierra Leone in terms of development, still adorns the heads of its supreme court members with the funny-looking wigs.

  5. It is a foregone conclusion what the ruling of that kangaroo Court (Supreme Court) will be. The ruling is on the wall.That Court is fast becoming the laughing stock in the subregion.

    The case of the elected vice president Sam Sumana springs to mind, and recourse had to be made to the ECOWAS Court for fair adjudication of the matter. The matter relating to embezzlement of the Ebola funds by the Government is also before the Court.

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report on the causes of the civil war in Sierra Leone was quite specific about the role of the judiciary vis-a-vis the war. Sierra Leoneans and in particular, members of the judiciary need to refresh their minds reading the said report at this moment in time.

  6. The APC are setting a very bad precedence in Sierra Leone with their corrupt government and it is a surprise that some foolish citizens do admire their deeds.

  7. If all those who had served under Dr. Koroma have got dual citizenship, then all the new politicians have got double citizenship. How can this be held. If the constitution of 1991 prohibits dual citizenship, why then is Dr. Koroma hunting other Sierra Leoneans?

    Is Dr. Koroma himself not a citizen of another country? Then he has been governing Sierra Leone against the laws of the country. Will this problem continue or are they trying to solve it peacefully? I do hope so.

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