Multi-party local government councils are vital for Sierra Leone’s democracy – Op-ed

Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 December 2020:

Before proceeding with the main point of this article, let me briefly state that only an inane thinker will not easily recognise why the SLPP and President Bio are obsessed with bringing down Sylvia Blyden in this country. Who else, as a single person, holds the record of serving as the most efficient Opposition voice since April 2018 to date if not Sylvia Blyden? Who else? Nobody! Who else, as a single person, has effectively tackled issues under the Law, since April 2018, more than Sylvia Blyden has done in this country today? Who else? Nobody!

Meanwhile, for those who could not watch my recent address (Complaint) to the Nation on Facebook, my Office has finally compressed the reloaded version, with complete sound, into a single video file of less than 60MB in size and a single audio file of only 5MB in size. I am sharing them both with this my piece. Now to my topic for today.

The credit for resuscitation of elective Local Government Councils actually belongs to H.E. Former President Joseph Saidu Momoh of APC. (see Section 33 of 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone).

That credit does not belong to SLPP or Former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. President Kabbah merely implemented the Vision of President Momoh as already enacted by President Momoh when Momoh signed into Law, the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.

Let us search historical records well. Let us teach our children and youths the truth about APC’s glowing legacies which are so many.

I listened to the fine voice of a young APC councillor praising SLPP Kabbah for what he should actually have been praising APC Momoh. A seemingly fine young gentleman exhibited lack of knowledge of his own APC party’s wonderful legacy.

These are all the narratives that I continuously say need to be corrected in this country. It was President Momoh of the APC who enacted for the restoration of elective local councils through political parties contests. Just like it was APC’s Momoh who enacted for an Ombudsman, a PPRC, an Independent NEC, etc. etc. etc. In all those cases, all what Former President Kabbah did for Ombudsman, PPRC, Local Government Act, NEC, etc. etc. was to follow what the Momoh 1991 Constitution had already mandated.

Indeed, it was the NPRC Coup which aborted the plans of President Momoh that had been well in place to restore elective local councils through multi party democratic contests. Check the records well my people.

A simple reading of the 1991 Constitution which H.E. President J.S. Momoh bequeathed on Sierra Leone, also shows clearly that Local Councils elected under Multi Party contests, is a firm constitutional mandate. (See Section 35(1) of Constitution).

Those in the SLPP Maada Bio government who are currently dreaming that they can just do away with that great Legacy of Former President J.S. Momoh of the APC by sitting in their Cabinet and coming up with a so-called ‘proposal’ to do away with a constitutional mandate, should please wake up. You cannot easily overturn that great legacy of president J.S. Momoh of the APC. No way!

Let me tell President Bio and his regime that to remove such a constitutional mandate is not going to be easy. Although the 1991 constitutional clauses on Political Parties and Local Government Elections are not entrenched clauses (requiring a Referendum) but President Momoh, with the assistance of his then Attorney General – Dr. Abdulai Conteh, made it very difficult to just change the 1991 Constitution willy-nilly.

To remove multi-party partisanship from Local Government contests, certain steps have to be first followed as per Section 108(1) and 108(2) or else it is TREASON according to Section 108(8) and 108(9).

Let me detail these constitutional steps and then ask whether SLPP or H.E. Maada Bio can succeed to follow the dictated steps below:

1. The proposal (Bill) to remove constitutional mandate of Section 35(1) for political parties to freely contest Local Council elections, has to be discussed 3 different times in Parliament. There should be a First Reading, a Second Reading and a Third Reading of the proposal to remove Multi Party contests from Local Council elections.

2. Before it is even discussed, it should be published in two different issues of the Government Gazette with a period of at least 9 days to elapse between the first publication and the second publication.

3. Members of Parliament should vote on whether to pass in to Law, the Bill to remove multi party partisan contests from Local Council elections. The votes should be counted one by one and not by Ayes Nays voice acclamation.

4. AT LEAST Two Thirds of Members of Parliament (i.e. AT LEAST 98 Parliamentarians) should vote on BOTH the Second Reading and the Third Reading to remove Multi Party contests from Local Council elections as currently dictated by Section 35(1).

So, my people, can H.E. Julius Maada Bio succeed in getting 98 Members of Parliament to remove that beautiful Legacy of APC’s H.E. Former President Joseph Saidu Momoh as enacted in 1991 Constitution? I don’t think so. Nope. No way.

President Bio is just wasting his time on this. He cannot get 98 Members of Parliament to vote as he wants on this. So Local Council elections will continue to be held with multiple political parties fielding in candidates – as that is what the J.S. MOMOH 1991 Constitution dictates.

May God bless the soul of the late Former President Momoh and may God bless Sierra Leone. Amen.

REFERENCES:
Sections 33, 35(1), 108(1), 108(2), 108(8), 108(9) of 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.

1 Comment

  1. I am delighted. Fast forward, it was J.S. Momoh who appointed a 35 member constitutional review commission to bring recommendations to him of the constitutional changes required to dump the one party state outfit into the dust bin of history. The commission’s recommendations resulted in the new 1991 constitution of the republic that re-introduced competitive party politics.

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