Office of Dr. Blyden: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 November 2021:
The High Court presided over by the Honourable Justice Adrian Fisher has turned down the application of strongwoman of the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden to, amongst other issues, compel the Former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in his capacity as Chairman & Leader of APC and compel Ambassador Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh in his capacity as National Secretary of APC, to release and publicise the 5th October 1991 Constitution of the APC.
According to the Ruling by Hon. Fisher, there is no evidence that such a democratic Constitution with internal democracy enacted therein for the APC, was ever adopted by APC party in Sierra Leone.
He said no Court had ever litigated on the 1991 Constitution and so the only Constitution that Sierra Leone knows for the APC all these years is the one known as the 1995 Constitution and which the Defendants had already confessed to be a flawed document.
Hon. Justice Adrian Fisher also ruled that whilst the information in front of the High Court by originating Plaintiff, Alfred Peter Conteh, was in his words, *”scanty”* and whilst he asserted that indeed Dr. Blyden’s 102-Paragraphs affidavit brought a much better understanding of the matter to the Court, he was however not going to allow Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden to be added as an Interested Party as it may prolong the matter in front of him and all parties want the matter to end speedily.
Hon. Justice Fisher also turned down the Prayers by Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden for the party to open up Membership recruitment so that tens of thousands of the APC supporters who have been deprived from getting membership cards, can get a chance to become APC members in their various constituencies. The Honourable Judge declined to give such an Order on membership issues.
Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR, at the end of the matter and with some slight tears in her eyes when the name of her late grandfather was mentioned positively by the APC lawyers, said: “Posterity and Time has a way of putting everything into better perspective. I did my best and History will do the rest.”
Read Dr Blyden’s Affidavit below:
102 Paragraphs Affidavit-In-Support of the 25 Prayers which Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden wants the Law Courts to Grant
I, SYLVIA OLAYINKA BLYDEN, a politician, journalist, medical doctor and business entrepreneur of 24 Garrison Street, Freetown in the Western Area of the Republic of Sierra Leone, make oath and say as follows:
1. That I am a fully paid up, registered member of the All Peoples Congress party which is the 3rd Defendant in the ongoing action that I seek to be added to as a Plaintiff. A copy of my current APC party card and my fully paid-up Membership Dues card are now shown to me, exhibited and respectively marked as “Exhibit SOB01” and “Exhibit SOB02”.
2. That I am in full support of the matter already filed by the Plaintiff herein, Alfred Peter Conteh, but I do believe that I need to be added as another Plaintiff as there are issues for me to challenge so my presence is necessary to assist the Court in ensuring that the matter may be effectually and completely determined and adjudicated upon.
3. That I humbly believe that the succeeding paragraphs below will comprehensively illustrate the importance of my presence as well as confirm that I have a key stake in ensuring the protection of APC from being exposed to further existential threat risks already posed against it by the unconstitutional, negligent, dangerous and wanton activities of the 1st, 2nd and 4th Defendants alongside other persons belonging to the 3rd Defendant as Members.
4. That I verily believe that it is far more important to safeguard and secure my beloved APC party from all existential threats by doing a proper democratic reconstruction of our beloved APC party than to inanely march on with a poorly-thought-out, self-confessed state of allegedly having been without a democratic Constitution for the past 30 years whilst waving a purported “new constitution” that was not adopted at democratically-convened National Delegates Conference.
5. That I verily believe that the 4th Defendant, the PPRC, has not been genuine in its handling of matters concerning the 3rd Defendant, the APC party and, to my knowledge over the years, through omission and commission, 4th Defendant has openly connived with the 1st and 2nd Defendants to thwart the dictates of the Sierra Leone 1991 Constitution in a manner that I verily believe borders on being treasonous over the years.
6. That it is a matter of undisputed fact that when members of other political parties complain their parties’ leadership to the PPRC, the PPRC acts on such complaints like in the case of the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and the Coalition for Change (C4C) party but when APC Members from aggrieved NRM group, first complained the leadership of APC to the PPRC, the PPRC refused to intervene and refused to amicably settle the complaint but instead PPRC issued an insidiously written Ruling that though they have suo moto powers to intervene, they will not.
7. That I was the senior APC stakeholder sent by the 1st and 2nd Defendants to represent them and the 3rd Defendant in January 2020 at the 4th Defendant, PPRC. That during discussions with the PPRC, it became clear to me that PPRC was nonchalant of being sued in Court over their omissions/commissions since Chairman of PPRC clearly told me that Section 164 of Sierra Leone Constitution provides protection for all of his and the PPRC’s possible negligence.
8. That I verily believe and I remain convinced that there may be an underlying sinister motive as to why the PPRC is able to easily engage and swiftly adjudicate matters for other political parties but when it is a matter around APC, the PPRC instead acts as aforesaid.
9. That I have noticed the PPRC has, in at least two of its recent Rulings concerning other political parties, referenced that it has the powers to de-register and render non-existent any political party that does not conform to the Sierra Leone Constitution or the Political Parties Act of 2002.
10. That I believe the strong Declaration which I humbly pray for this Court to issue against acts of omission and commission by the Defendants, should sternly reference the unfortunate role the PPRC has played in actively encouraging the undemocratic behaviour of the other Defendants over time; even if the Court is fettered from directly inquiring into the performance of the functions of the PPRC.
11. That because the PPRC refused to exercise its suo moto powers in the Complaint from the NRM against the APC leadership, the NRM case went to the High Court and I here affirm as a very senior stakeholder in the APC that I know for a fact that the 1st and 2nd Defendants most deliberately delayed the court proceedings even as I protested to them several times in private, closed-door meetings that such delayance was dangerous and further exposing APC to existential threats.
12. That I verily believe that the reason why the 1st and 2nd Defendants most deliberately delayed the proceedings of the NRM case in court was to force the 3rd Defendant into a limbo and a state of serious instability that 1st and 2nd Defendants can then take advantage of.
13. That in the current state of limbo that the 3rd Defendant finds itself, the 1st and 2nd Defendants are now browbeating Members of the 3rd Defendant that they must overlook all the illegalities and dangerous state of existence and continue to stagger on as badly hampered and at risk of existence that the 3rd Defendant now finds itself.
14. That the 1st and 2nd Defendant have coined a terminology of “follow structure” that they proclaim to faithful members of the 3rd Defendant; meaning the completely illegitimate and unconstitutional state of affairs that the leadership of the 3rd Defendant finds itself is the “structure” that the 1st and 2nd Defendants want APC Members to follow; even as such state is a recipe for fatal consequences.
15. That I verily believe and I am deeply convinced that the 1st Defendant is selfishly using the 3rd Defendant as a mere shield from possible criminal prosecution for his numerous criminal acts that have been extensively detailed in three Commissions of Inquiry reports published by Hon. Justice Bankole Thompson, Hon. Justice William Annan Atuguba and Hon. Justice Biobele Georgewill respectively.
16. That I verily believe and I am deeply convinced that there are numerous other alleged criminal activities of the 1st Defendant that the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) is currently investigating; including alleged money-laundering activities of 1st Defendant across Middle East, other Asian nations, Europe and Africa.
17. That by intimidating right-thinking APC members with brute force, nasty insults including maternal invectives and restricting, muzzling right-thinking APC members, the 1st Defendant has well-positioned himself to use APC as a Shield; without facing much resistance from right-thinking APC members, many of whom, have been cowed by tactics of 1st Defendant. I am not intimidated by him.
18. That in May 2018, shortly after APC lost the 2018 elections and being myself a very key stakeholder inside the APC, I was appointed by both the 1st Defendant and the 2nd Defendant to serve as one of 9 distinguished APC members tasked to investigate why the APC party lost the 2018 elections and proffer honest solutions as to the Way forward. A copy of the said press release announcing me and the other distinguished 9 APC members as appointees is now shown to me, marked and exhibited as “Exhibit SOB03”.
19. That at the inaugural meeting of 9-Man Committee, I was unanimously elected as the Secretary to the Committee and in my individual capacity and as Committee Secretary, in September 2018, I produced an initial 136-Paragraphed, 24-paged Report representing mine and Committee findings. A copy of that my particular Report is now shown to me, marked and exhibited as “Exhibit SOB04”.
20. That on receiving a copy of my Report, both 1st Defendant and 2nd Defendant expressed displeasure with the contents. That I explained to both 1st and 2nd Defendants that I wrote a Report for Posterity and I also sternly reminded both Defendants of what they had both done in the year 2017 in connivance with 4th Defendant.
21. That in the year 2017, the 1st, 2nd and 4th Defendants collaborated together to publish a Government Notice 261 on 8th August 2017 in Vol. CXLVIII No. 45 of Sierra Leone Gazette which purported to change the constitutional dictates of the 1995 APC Constitution insofar as the requirement of mandatory election of key executive positions including Regional Executive and National Executive Officers. A copy of the said gazetted Government Notice is here shown to me, exhibited and marked as “Exhibit SOB05”.
22. That I was at the time the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs with my portfolio including Religious Affairs. That in such capacity as Minister in an APC-led Government, I attended the 2017 APC Convention as a delegate and witnessed the entire Convention; I was alarmed at the sheer unconstitutionality there.
23. That immediately after the October 2017 Convention in Makeni, I privately sent an extensive Whatsapp text to the 1st Defendant who was then the Head of State, in which I raised serious concerns over the purported selection of Regional and National Officers. I diligently stated the Government Notice 261 on which the Defendants had relied on, was not only contrary to the Sierra Leone 1991 Constitution but also, it was contrary to Section 24 of the Political Parties Act of 2002 detailing how to change dictates of party constitutions. In my text, I reminded the 1st Defendant of how the Supreme Court had in the year 2004, seriously indicted him for exactly such behaviour in a particular matter entitled SC3/2002.
24. That when I sent the SMS text to the 1st Defendant, he stopped taking my calls and then completely refused giving me audience despite my several attempts to meet him as one of his Cabinet Ministers. He removed my name from the delegation that had been planned to travel to Vatican for discussions with the Pope despite I was by then the Minister responsible for Religious Affairs. The 1st Defendant eventually stage-managed a series of steps to ensure I was smeared, needlessly embarrassed and then dropped from his Cabinet. My criticisms of the PPRC Government Notice 261 and my confidentially-sent reminder to 1st Defendant of his indictment by the Supreme Court in 2004 had been however done in good faith for his own good and the good of the APC but it was taken in bad faith.
25. That less than a month after I was sacked in December 2017, a famous journalist and political commentator, Chernoh A.M. Bah of the Africanist Press was to write an Open Letter to 4th Defendant in which he raised almost verbatim the concerns I had privately raised with 1st Defendant concerning the PPRC conniving with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendant by allowing the 3rd Defendant to, in words of Mr. Chernoh Bah: “fail to organize internal democratic elections for positions within its national and lower executives as required both by the Political Parties Act of 2002 and the 1991 Sierra Leone Constitution”. A copy of that Open Letter by Chernor Bah is here shown to me, marked and exhibited as “SOB06”.
26. That the fact that a totally independent voice like Chernoh Bah had expressed exactly the same sentiments that so seriously offended 1st Defendant that he stopped taking my calls, was a vindication of my concerns that the actions of the 1st and 2nd Defendants in collaboration with the 4th Defendant (PPRC), had subjected the 3rd Defendant APC party to a real existential threat.
27. That my concerns for the continued existence of my beloved APC as a political party, are very genuine and I have a strong locus standi to make my Application to be added to this Matter.
28. That in my entire 50 years of life, I have been politically associated with only the APC party; except for a brief interregnum between the end of 2001 to mid-2002 when I personally led a group of young Sierra Leoneans to register a political party, Young Peoples Party (YPP) to contest for parliamentary seats in the 2002 General Elections, as a patriotic means of inspiring young Sierra Leoneans in our post-war years that power can be secured by youths through the Ballot and not the Bullet. The YPP, having served its patriotic purpose of inspiring Youths, went into self-dissolution after the 2002 General Elections. YPP no longer exists as a party in Sierra Leone.
29. That I am fully aware, since I was a girl child, of the innately democratic nature of the internal organisation of the APC and I know for a fact that political ideologies of “all men are equal” and “one-man, one-vote” are what inspired APC’s creation in 1960.
30. That I am also aware that since its formation, the internal organisation of APC, in terms of electing executives into various positions within APC, has been mostly desirous to always conform to democratic principles and this was so even during the years when the country was a One-Party State. The country was a One-Party state but to become an executive member inside any level of the then-governing APC party, whether Constituency, District, Region or National, you sought to not only be elected but you had to face party members at regular intervals to renew your mandate as such elected executive. For example, I distinctly recall my late Grandfather, Honourable Professor Solomon A.J. Pratt was an elected Member of Parliament and in addition to seeking the parliamentary mandate from general residents of his constituency, I also know and witnessed several times as he sought another different but specific mandate from those APC residents in his Constituency; by contesting in democratically conducted polls at regular intervals to become elected as Constituency Secretary for Mountain Rural District constituency.
31. That I am aware that on October 1st 1991, under leadership of the then Leader of APC, H.E. President Dr. Joseph Saidu Momoh, APC was to ensure the dissolution of the One Party State and the ushering in of a Multi-Party Democratic System that became the constitutional order and this mandated for the APC to re-write its entire constitution to reflect such changes in Nation.
32. That I am aware that on 5th October 1991, a duly constituted body of elected delegates of the APC, enacted a fully-democratic, APC party constitution that not only retained mandatory election of executives at all levels but fully removed vestiges of certain Committees that had seemingly had powers to over-ride popular choices of party members as to who represented them in Parliament and also made it a must for the presidential candidate to be elected.
33. That I am aware that less than 7 months later on 29th April 1992, there was a military take-over by a group of soldiers calling themselves NPRC. The NPRC military regime banned activities of APC and all several already-registered political parties that were by then competing in democratic space against APC.
34. That I am aware that subsequent to the NPRC takeover, a civil war was to spread over the entire country in a terrible manner.
35. That I am aware that NPRC in mid-1995 lifted their Ban on APC and other political parties’ activities and also pronounced that multi-party elections will be held in February 1996.
36. That I am aware that when the NPRC decided to lift the Ban on political activities, the then extant APC Constitution of 5th October 1991, as aforementioned, was so democratic that it called for election of all APC executives at all constituency, district and regional levels and election of parliamentary and presidential candidates of the party.
37. That I am aware that given the then widespread state of civil strife and the impossibility of access to huge swathes of the country including entire districts and constituencies let alone conduct campaigns for APC executives, a decision was taken by Key Stakeholders and Founding Members like Hon. S.A.T. Koroma on 22nd July 1995 for an “Interim Constitution” to be created that would serve a temporary purpose. The APC’s 1995 Constitution is already filed in this matter by the Plaintiff and is here shown to me already exhibited as “RSS8” with Article 17 therein affirming the “Interim” nature of the “Interim Constitution of 22nd July 1995”.
38. That I am also aware that when APC Stakeholders attempted to register with the then Electoral Commission headed by Dr. James Jonah, they met several stumbling blocks including protests from other APC members insisting on the legitimacy of only the 5th October 1991 APC Constitution.
39. That I clearly recall that sometime in last quarter of year 1995, my late Grandfather, Honourable Professor Solomon A.J. Pratt, asked me to meet him at the Law Courts and on my arrival there, he handed me two documents; the first was a handwritten text in his own handwriting that was entitled as PREAMBLE and the second was the 5th October 1991 Constitution of the APC with the signature of President Joseph Saidu Momoh appended on it.
40. That in the presence of some APC stakeholders at the Law Courts, my grandfather Hon. S.A.J. Pratt asked me to go and speedily type on my father’s computer at our residence, the text my grandfather had written that was entitled as PREAMBLE and to print several copies of it. My grandfather also asked me to use my father’s computer scanner at our house to scan and print several copies of the 5th October 1991 APC Constitution with the signature of President J.S. Momoh on it. That I dutifully jumped into my car, drove home and speedily carried out the tasks and brought the printed copies back to my Grandfather at the Law Courts.
41. That I recall from distinct memory whilst computer scanning the APC’s 5th October 1991 Constitution that it was a very democratic document which proudly showcased the truly innately democratic characteristics of the APC and its democratic ideologies.
42. That the handwritten words of my grandfather which he had entitled as PREAMBLE and which I personally typed for him in last quarter of 1995 is exact same text that he handed in my presence to then APC stakeholders like Victor Bockarie Foh at Law Court and it is exact same text that was then appended to the front of the “Interim Constitution of 22nd July 1995” to now create the “5th December 1995” document that is described in the PREAMBLE as the “Revised Interim Constitution” and which text is here reproduced below:
WHEREAS by the Political Parties Decree 1995, the National Provisional Ruling Council has lifted the prohibition which was imposed on political activity;
WHEREAS by the said Political Parties Decree 1995, political parties may be established to participate in shaping the political will of the people, to disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character, and to sponsor candidates for presidential, parliamentary and local government elections;
AND WHEREAS a political party known as the All People’s Congress (APC) party was founded in Sierra Leone on the 11th September, 1960 but ceased to function under the aforesaid prohibition which was imposed on political activity;
AND WHEREAS it is now the intention to revive the erstwhile APC party within the framework of the current national, political, economic, social, educational and foreign policy objectives of Sierra Leone developed from the experience of the current National Provisional Ruling Council administration;
AND WHEREAS it is imperative to promulgate an APC Party Constitution consistent with the country’s present political experience and reflecting the wishes and aspirations of Sierra Leoneans for sustained, multi-party, democratic political system;
AND WHEREAS the delegates of the erstwhile ALL PEOPLE’S CONGRESS Party did on the 5th October, 1991 adopt a revised Constitution;
AND WHEREAS in consonance with the recent experience of the people of Sierra Leone, it is imperative to re-construct an interim APC Party Constitution;
NOW therefore the Founding Members, of the ALL PEOPLES CONGRESS (APC) party, hereby on the 5th day of December, 1995 adopt this present Revised Interim Constitution as amended and ratified.
43. That the 1995 document was an “interim” arrangement to deal back then with what was by then “the recent experience of the people of Sierra Leone” in light of what was by then “the country’s present political experience”.
44. That after the NPRC junta became defunct and other Civil War challenges finally concluded in January 2002, the APC should have automatically reverted back from the “Interim” 1995 Constitution back to the very democratic 5th October 1991 Constitution enacted under late President J.S. Momoh as that remains to be the duly enacted APC Constitution.
45. That the 1st Defendant and 2nd Defendant, after being elected at an APC Convention in March 2002 as Presidential Candidate for 2002 Elections and National Secretary General respectively, were expected to now lead the APC to revert to the usage of the 5th October 1991 democratic APC Constitution as there was no more NPRC junta and no more Civil War.
46. That the 1st Defendant and 2nd Defendant instead unlawfully and recklessly cooked up what they termed as a brand new APC constitution without going through due legal process and this act of grossly reckless illegality by the 1st and 2nd Defendants caused them both to be dragged to the Supreme Court in a matter entitled back then as SC3/2002 against the 1st and 2nd Defendants by John Yambasu & Others.
47. That the end result of that SC3/2002 Supreme Court case was for the 1st Defendant to be disgracefully stripped off his wrongfully assumed purported cloak of “Leader of the APC” with Supreme Court judges penning down strongly worded findings against the 1st Defendant Ernest Bai Koroma’s dictatorial, lawless and unbecoming attitude when the Supreme Court rendered its final judgment against the Defendants on 22nd June 2004.
48. That I keenly observed and diligently followed the case at the Supreme Court as the 1st and 2nd Defendants misled the Supreme Court on several issues including by omitting to produce to the attention of the Supreme Court, the existence of the bonafide APC Constitution of 5th October 1991.
49. That this omission to inform on existence of 1991 constitution by the 1st and the 2nd Defendant up at the Supreme Court led to the Supreme Court declaring Interim Constitution of the APC dated 5th December 1995 was the APC Constitution; thus leaving the APC exposed to existential threat as contents of APC 1995 Constitution may be used by our rivals in manners against interests of the APC.
50. That due to the alleged criminal acts of Perjury and other such alleged criminal vices contrary to the course of public justice by the 1st and 2nd Defendants, they were both disgracefully dragged to several Magistrate Courts to stand serious trial for several counts of criminal activities by other sober-minded APC Comrades.
51. That in a bid to assuage the determination of other sober-minded APC Comrades to teach them a lesson, the 2nd Defendant was forced to tender a resignation as elected Secretary General. A copy of the said Resignation Letter which speaks for itself, is here shown to me, marked and exhibited as “SOB07”.
52. That what is now unfolding with the 1st Defendant Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and the 2nd Defendant Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh both refusing to behave like decent, upstanding, law-abiding citizens, is simply a repetition of their well-noted, ugly ways that had already been condemned on record by the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court, in June 2004.
53. That I verily believe that the 1st Defendant, the 2nd Defendant and their undemocratically handpicked bunch of illegitimate, purported executives and officers manning positions in APC, are all unfit for purpose in a responsible, respectable Democracy.
54. That I verily believe that such persons like the 1st Defendant, 2nd Defendant and their agents, privies and selected executives are a major existential threat to the APC given what is already recorded against the 1st and 2nd Defendants at the Supreme Court and which they have continued to exhibit with wanton and lawless disregard for basic tenets of democracy even as the highest court in the land has, since over 17 years ago in 2004, already found them to possess characters that were lacking in respect for the Rule of Law.
55. That in a show of his perennial lawlessness and lack of regard for the Courts, the 1st Defendant has been regularly lampooning the Courts of Sierra Leone to an extent he once openly stated few months ago, on video to a live audience, that no Court can remove him from the position he currently illegally occupies. The video of him making the vaulting, vain and idle boasts is on social media and is available for viewing should in case this Honourable Court so wishes to view it.
56. That during the recent court-ordered National Delegates Conference last month, the 1st Defendant Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma continued his reprehensible and shameless public antics when he openly stated that he knew he may be committing Contempt of this Honourable Court but he went on to ask the Chairman of the 4th Defendant to develop deaf ears to what 1st Defendant Koroma was saying so as to protect 1st Defendant Koroma from being brought for contempt of this Honourable court. Those wild and unacceptably nefarious utterances and kindergarten-like childish behaviour of the 1st Defendant Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma was watched around the globe as the conference was shown live. That video of the 1st Defendant Koroma self-indicting himself for Contempt of Court is available on many media houses and can be shown to this Honourable Court if this Honourable Court so wishes to watch the Defendant in action.
57. That the Chairman of the 4th Defendant, Mr. Abdullai Masiambay Bangura sat right next to the 1st Defendant as he was uttering his kindergarten-styled comments of asking Bangura to have deaf ears but Bangura did not make any efforts to caution the 1st Defendant; which I verily believe is a further evidence of the reprehensible connivance between the 1st Defendant and the 4th Defendant against the course of public justice and I verily believe it was a display of disrespect and contempt for this Honourable Court.
58. That despite the question of the legitimacy of his occupation of the position of “Chairman and Leader” is now sub-judice, the 1st Defendant has continued to hold himself out as such and in a brazen show of defiance has led many young adherents of the 3rd Defendant to gather at a National Meeting of APC Youths summoned for 15th to 17th October 2021. The copy of the text of the Announcement of the meeting termed as a “Retreat” alongside a print of the advertising banner are here shown to me, exhibited and marked as “SOB08”.
59. That the same wanton lawlessness found in the behaviour of the 1st and 2nd Defendants by the Supreme Court in SC3/2002 matter as pronounced against them in the year 2004, has not abated but has even become enhanced after the 1st Defendant became the elected President of Sierra Leone in the year 2007. The 1995 “INTERIM” Constitution of the APC has been systematically, widely abused by the 1st Defendant to handpick his Stooges, his Yes-Men, his Yes-Women alongside such assorted flotsam and jetsam and shovel them into key positions within APC hierarchical infrastructure.
60. That in a very cheap bid to mislead the World about his reckless, undemocratic and misleading character, the 1st Defendant has in past few days taken to all his personal social media platforms to share what he has ascribed as a quote from the Former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, proclaiming 1st Defendant as being a person with “commitment to national and party constitutions and laws” when the very issue of his patent lack of commitment to such, is currently a substance for adjudication in front of this Honourable Court. This activity of the 1st Defendant brings the Former Liberian President into disrepute as she may be unaware of this ongoing court case into the lack of commitment of Ernest Bai Koroma to APC party’s constitution nor may she be aware that Sierra Leone Supreme Court has already found Ernest Bai Koroma to be lacking in commitment to Laws of the Land as well as lacking in commitment to his APC party’s constitution. The social media post by the 1st Defendant with his logo emblazoned on it, is here shown to me, exhibited and marked as SOB09.
61. That since the National Delegates Conference of 16 years ago in September 2005 which I personally witnessed and at which there were Elections conducted for every single executive position as desired by APC ideology, no other comprehensive election of national officers have happened in the APC. It has been 16 years of the 1st Defendant, in unconstitutional connivance with the 4th Defendant, PPRC, sidestepping every single expected decent norm of democratic existence within the APC whilst abusing his State Authority as Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces to threaten and bully members of the 3rd Defendant to the full view of the 4th Defendant who did nothing to stop such abusive, intimidating actions.
62. That I verily believe that this reckless disregard for supreme laws governing the leadership and management of registered political parties was extended to the management of the finances of the 3rd Defendant by the 1st and 2nd Defendant and I believe that in addition to an Order for proper auditing of the finances of the APC, the unexplained state of affairs surrounding the construction of the 3rd Defendant’s building along Percival Street, Freetown needs to be specially probed as to specific source of funds as well as the manner of disbursement of such and the recipients of such.
63. That after we lost the 2018 Elections, I made several confidential attempts to draw the attention of the 1st and 2nd Defendants to existential threat facing the APC especially with continued refusal to release the 5th October 1991 duly enacted APC democratic Constitution. My attempts for 1st and 2nd Defendants to see reason fell on deaf ears. Finally, I wrote on 25th November 2019 to the 4th Defendant as the custodian of all political party instruments to kindly make the 5th October 1991 Constitution available. I wrote to National Electoral Commission (NEC) also for the same as I am aware that NEC/their precursors had received the said October 5th 1991 Constitution from APC. That both 4th Defendant and NEC responded back to say they no longer could locate the said document. Their responses are shown to me here, exhibited and marked as “Exhibit SOB10” for NEC’s reply and “Exhibit SOB11” for PPRC’s reply.
64. That I again approached the 1st and 2nd Defendant and this time threatened that I will institute legal action to protect the APC if they do not produce and publish the 5th October 1991 Constitution.
65. That 2nd Defendant later inside his office at APC headquarters, showed me a copy of the 5th October 1991 Constitution but said it was the only copy he had and it was “covered in dust” so he would clean it up, make a copy for me and give the copy to me. The 1st Defendant was to also subsequently confirm to me that he also had a copy of the 5th October 1991 APC Constitution enacted under his predecessor, Former President J.S. Momoh, and he faithfully promised me that it will be issued to all APC members.
66. That however, on to today’s date, neither 1st Defendant nor 2nd Defendant have released the 5th October 1991 Constitution to me or for the other members of the APC despite they have been already alerted as to existential threat faced by the party should it be pre-supposed by independent analysts or jurists that APC party’s non-democratic 1995 Constitution has been the sole constitution for the past 30 years; with attendant ramifications for such pre-suppositions.
67. That I have made several but futile attempts to have the said APC 5th October 1991 Constitution released from the clutches of the 1st and 2nd Defendants and as recently as 3rd September 2021, I wrote another letter to 2nd Defendant and copied 1st Defendant in which I again alerted them of the existential threat posed by their refusal to release the October 1991 Constitution. My September 2021 letter is here shown to me, exhibited and marked as “Exhibit SOB12”. My letter went unanswered.
68. That I verily believe that should the APC be presented as a political party that existed for 30 years under the Sierra Leone 1991 Constitution with a non-democratic constitution, it will expose APC to an existential threat and it is only when this Court will order the 1st and 2nd Defendants to produce the said October 5th 1991 Constitution that APC can be so saved from a very clear and real existential threat.
69. That just as they misled Supreme Court in matter of SC3/2002, the 1st Defendant and 2nd Defendant have again misled this Court by not making disclosure that there exists a democratic constitution for the APC and it has been in existence for 30 years now.
70. That the 1st and 2nd Defendants, have with reckless abandon impugned the credentials of my beloved APC; wrongly presenting APC as an undemocratic party by informing this court that only the “Interim” and undemocratic 1995 Constitution exists for the APC all these years; thus exposing the APC to existential threats.
71. That reckless manner in which the 1st and 2nd Defendants have chosen to undemocratically position executives into the various APC levels contrary to innate APC ideologies, for the past 15 years now, has worsened the now-existing-existential threats to the party.
72. That in addition to the reckless and undemocratic positioning of handpicked persons to occupy elective party positions as selected entities, the 1st and 2nd Defendants have further entrenched the culture of undemocratic and unconstitutional behaviour by singlehandedly renewing the mandate of themselves and their handpicked, selected executives which is contrary to the Sierra Leone Constitution and also contrary to Article 10.1.1 of the APC 1995 party constitution which dictates that all APC executive positions from National to Regional to District to Constituency levels “shall hold office for a period of three years unless re-elected by the appropriate Convention”.
73. That in addition to illegally occupied positions listed down by the current Plaintiff Alfred Peter Conteh in his Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit by his Attorney, it is also a fact that even when we go by the acceptedly less-democratic 1995 APC Constitution, it still has some democratic principles entrenched therein and against this backdrop, there are many executive positions which are currently undemocratically occupied within various levels of APC leadership, contrary to APC 1995 Constitution and contrary to Law. I highlighted this in an article I published on November 13th 2019 and which article of mine, served as baseline for first, the NRM Case of January 2020 and secondly, this instant matter filed in January 2021. My said article is here shown to me, marked and exhibited as “SOB13”.
74. That I verily believe that in addition to those persons illegally occupying positions as stated in Paragraph 18 of the January 28th 2021 Affidavit of the Plaintiff, the occupiers of the following other positions are as well holding them in contravention of 1995 Interim Constitution of APC and/or spirit of Sierra Leone 1991 Constitution:
a. The entire executive of the APC National Youth League who were all handpicked by 1st and 2nd Defendants with absolutely no democratic election conducted;
b. The entire executive of the APC Women’s Congress who were all handpicked by 1st and 2nd Defendants with absolutely no democratic election conducted;
c. Every single member of all the 132 Constituency Executive Committees including all 132 Constituency Secretaries;
d. The entire membership of all the 16 District Executive Committees including all 16 District Secretaries;
e. The entire membership of all the 5 Regional Executive Committees including all 5 Regional Secretaries;
f. The entire membership of the National Advisory Committee;
g. The entire membership of the National Committee;
h. The entire membership of the National Executive Committee;
i. The entire executive members of any Diaspora Branches who were not elected but were selected;
j. The entire members of any executive of any Affiliate Body who were not elected but were selected to occupy positions.
75. That whilst a verbatim recital of part of my thoughts marked the substance of the NRM case as well as this instant case involving the Application filed by Plaintiff Alfred Peter Conteh, I verily believe that the current Application should be amended to include all aforementioned positions that are currently illegally occupied.
76. That as Secretary to the 9-Man Committee, I also learnt during my investigations that the matter of unresolved Membership issues at Constituency levels as well as the non-holding of Constituency, District and Regional Conventions were major factors in creating challenges for the APC and so I deeply appreciated and considered it as Divine Wisdom for this Court to have ordered for membership issues to be resolved.
77. That contrary to assertion under Oath of the 2nd Defendant on 5th March 2021 that the party has “hundreds of thousands of members”, the truth is that as Secretary to the 9-Man Committee, several of the complaints which met me was that Executives of the APC especially the 2nd Defendant, have made it a policy to withhold membership from ordinary citizens who wish to become members of the APC.
78. That such a complaint of refusal to be allowed to become members was universally expressed to me from all four corners of Sierra Leone and in all nooks and crannies with some complainants even producing evidence of them serving as Polling Agents for the party but then they were refused to be approved for actual membership on flimsy grounds including reportedly being told in local parlance that “if we give una party cards, una go cam fight we for pull we na we positions” which is translated to mean: “If we make you party members with cards, you will want to come and contest against us for the positions we currently hold”. That this denial of membership cards to citizens has been continuing and has led to the APC now having a shrunk membership not expected of a political party of the stature of APC.
79. That I verily believe that refusals to register qualified citizens to become APC members, is part of the nefarious tactics to have a firm undemocratic grip on APC. The smaller the size of APC membership, the easier to muzzle the APC party into submission under the dictatorial leadership of the 1st Defendant.
80. That several of the party’s key stakeholders have complained about this refusal to allow citizens to become members of the APC and one such senior party stakeholder, Francis Gbondo-Penepani in March 2021 wrote an Open Letter to the Chairman & Leader on the issue. A copy of that Open Letter is here shown to me, marked and exhibited as “EXHIBIT SOB14”.
81. That even after this Honourable Court acquiesced to the wishes of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants for them to hold a National Convention after election of 5 delegates from each constituency that were to be elected from a specified Electoral Register made up of List of Registered APC party members as at April 19th 2021, the defendants with flagrant disregard, never conducted the elections according to those Orders of this Honourable Court and cannot now produce any such Register of members at my request; which I verily believe is because such Register will show an abysmally low number of registered members of the APC at this time.
82. That on Monday 27th September 2021, in my capacity as a senior stakeholder in the APC, I wrote a jointly addressed letter to the 2nd Defendant and to Chairman of the 4th Defendant, PPRC, requesting the results including number of votes for each of the 5 delegates ostensibly elected to attend the court-ordered Convention. In the letter, I also asked for the List of Registered APC Members that the court ordered should have served as the Electoral Register for the said election of delegates. A copy of that letter is here shown to me, exhibited and marked as “EXHIBIT SOB15”.
83. That neither 2nd Defendant nor Chairman of 4th Defendant provided me the Elected Delegates Results by number of votes or the Electoral Register. This was even after I had offered to pay for whatever will be the cost of making them available to me.
84. That I have residences in many parts of Sierra Leone where I own or rent properties and during the elections for 5 delegates from each constituency, I decided to witness elections in constituencies 112, 130 and 002 where I have residence. In each constituency, none of the elections went according to the Orders of the Court.
85. In Constituency 112 in Western Rural District, despite an announcement that the polls will be opened until 4pm, when I went there around 1pm, the polls were closing down, persons without APC membership cards were allowed to vote on being simply identified as party activists and by 2pm, all voting and counting had been done; Well before 3pm, there was a fracas emanating over results announced and that dispersed us all long before 4pm.
86. In Constituency 130 in Freetown, before I got to Collegiate School compound where the election was being conducted, the voting was announced as concluded and by mid-day the results had been announced; again long before the 4pm deadline announced.
87. In Constituency 002 in Kailahun, the same issues again emerged in my presence with no Electoral Register of Registered Members and persons where allowed to contest and/or vote based on the whims and caprices of 2nd Defendant whose representative will bark out Orders about who was “ordained” to vote and be voted for. That an attempt made by me to contest in that constituency was arbitrarily rejected by the 2nd Defendant on unfounded basis.
88. That in all the three constituencies, far, far less than 300 persons actually voted and out of that, even less than 100 of them actually had APC party cards. If such is extrapolated to the entire country going by similar numbers which filtered through unofficially, it signifies that the entire List of Registered APC Members around the entire country, is less than fifteen thousand (15,000).
89. That when this 15,000 number is placed against the fact that sixty years ago in 1960 when the APC was first formed, it registered 15,000 members within just one single day, I verily believe that APC membership as at present, does not represent or reflect true picture of what is expected for one of the two major Sierra Leone political parties.
90. That the delegates who purported to have therefore adopted a new Constitution for the APC were devoid of the legitimacy to do so as the entire process leading up to the court-ordered convention was not only flawed but lacked the required credibility necessary.
91. That I believe this Honourable Court ordered the make-up of the delegates who went to the National Delegates Conference without full disclosure given to this Court that almost all of those delegates were illegitimately seated contrary to conformity with democratic principles and also contrary to conformity with Articles of the extant APC Constitution of 1995.
92. That I verily believe that it is imperative for this Court to declare the APC National Delegates Conference held from 17th to 19th September 2021, and its outcome, as null and void since the process leading up to its holding was not according to Orders of this Honourable Court and furthermore, the Honourable Court had earlier been misled that only a limited number of delegates were illegally in place when the vast majority of those allowed to take part are illegitimately placed in non-conformity with democratic principles.
93. That I verily believe that it is imperative for this Court to order for APC membership issues to be resolved at all levels with party cards issued at de-centralised Constituency-level procedures.
94. That I verily believe that based on my findings as a member of the 9-Man Committee, if APC proceeds towards the 2023 General Elections with only the current very, very limited number of registered members having a say as to who gets the party symbols to contest for various elective positions, a very deep internecine bitterness will engulf APC with negative effect on Sierra Leone’s democratic polity.
96. That I verily believe that I have locus standi to team up with the Plaintiff Alfred Peter Conteh to challenge the Defendants in this matter and I also wish to re-assert that my interest in welfare, growth and existence of the APC has existed for decades now.
97. That at the turn of the Century when the APC was struggling to rebuild its identity and at a time when the 1st Defendant, Ernest Bai Koroma, was far from being an active politician and rather would be seated inside his air-conditioned office in Freetown as an Insurance Managing Director, I was already a very loyal, active APC politician in America and investing my hard-earned, personal cash into the welfare of the APC including to contribute the first seed money to rent an Office for the APC at prestigious Bank of America Building in Maryland. I was also the person who designed and then solely financed the creation and webhosting of the very first ever official website for the APC. That contents of the said website are available from U.S. authorities Internet Web Archives. A screenshot page from online archived APC Website that I financed 21 years ago is here shown to me, exhibited and marked “SOB16”.
98. That my role in rebuilding global confidence in the APC at the turn of the Century was well elucidated at a meeting held in America in the year 2013. A printed copy of a refreshing news article about said meeting is here shown to me, exhibited and marked “SOB17”.
99. That I have expressed presidential ambitions and so my interests will be affected if the 1st and 2nd Defendants are allowed to continue to expose APC to aforementioned existential threats.
100. That I thus have well-placed, vested interests in challenging sheer lawlessness of the 1st and 2nd Defendants and stop them both from exposing the APC further to the existential threat it now faces.
101. That I verily believe that the interest of justice will be best served by this Honourable Court granting my Application to be joined as a Plaintiff as well as granting all the Consequential Orders that I have also prayed for on the face of the Application herein.
102. That the contents of this Affidavit are true to the best of my knowledge, information and belief.
DEPONENT (Sylvia Olayinka Blyden)
SWORN TO AT LAW COURTS BUILDING
FREETOWN THIS 13TH DAY OF OCTOBER 2021
AT 10 O’CLOCK IN THE FORENOON
A COMMISSIONER FOR OATHS
THIS AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT WAS TAKEN OUT AND FILED BY DR. SYLVIA OLAYINKA BLYDEN, APPLICANT-IN-PERSON, OF 1ST FLOOR, 24 GARRISON STREET, FREETOWN.