Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 January 2018
Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) has today declared, after a hearing lasting just one hour, that Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella is free to contest parliamentary elections due on 7th of March, as there is insufficient evidence brought forward by the ruling APC party petitioner – Mr. Abu Bakarr Sankoh.
Reporting for the Sierra Leone Telegraph from Kambia, Alusine Kamara said that the petition hearing which took place at the Kambia Court Barray, started at about 4.20pm and concluded just after 5pm, following a series of time wasting shenanigans by the ruling APC pettier and their lawyers.
Both the petitioner – Mr. Abu Bakarr Sankoh and Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella’s representative presented their evidence and made their arguments to the NEC officials, in what at times appeared to be a heated exchange between the NEC officials and the ruling APC petitioner, Alusine Kamara reported.
Today’s unprecedented ruling by the NEC comes, following an objection filed by the ruling APC party, claiming that Dr. Yumkella is ineligible to contest the constituency election in his place of birth – Kychum in the northern district of Kambia.
According to the ruling APC, Dr. Yumkella contravened the country’s Constitution at the time he registered to vote in Kychum Kambia a few months ago, by holding a dual nationality, an allegation Dr. Yumkella and his NGC party have strongly refuted, calling it “an attempt to deny Dr. Yumkella his birthright as a Sierra Leonean to exercise his civil liberty and constitutional right”.
Immediately after the ruling, there was jubilation outside the court, as supporters of Dr. Yumkella took to the streets in celebration.
But the judgement leaves room for an appeal at the Headquarters of NEC in Freetown. It remains to be seen whether the ruling APC will pursue an appeal to simply drag this matter right up to the Supreme Court, so as to scupper the NGC election campaign.
This is the ruling of the NEC: