Sierra Leone parliament approves high court judges as APC walks out

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 March 2019:

Sierra Leone’s main opposition All People’s Congress Party (APC) continues to embarrass itself with successive parliamentary gaffs, giving the ruling SLPP the much needed political space to get on with the business of governing a country that has been broken by ten years of poor governance and corruption.

Yesterday, 26th March 2019, all 68 members of the APC party walked out of parliament as crucial debate and voting were about to be taken on the approval of several High Court Judges and other nominated public officials, including the appointment of the Electoral Commissioner for the Southern Region.

The opposition APC MPs are protesting what they refer to as electoral malpractice at the recent bye-election in Kambia district, for which they are calling for the sacking of the country’s chief electoral commissioner Mohamed Nfa Alie Conteh.

But yesterday’s walk out has been described as bizarre by several senior APC stalwarts, who are accusing the party’s leadership in parliament – Chernor Bah and Ibrahim B Kargbo, of gross ineptitude and betrayal, as the following presidential nominees were approved by Parliament:

Justice Leonard Michael Taylor – High Court Judge, Justice Augustine K. Musa – High Court Judge, Justice Samuel O. Moses Taylor-High Court Judge, Justice Clarissa Cosmotina Jarrett – High Court Judge, Justice Michael Patrick H. Mami – High Court Judge, Justice Aiah Simeon Allieu – High Court Judge, Justice Albert Juma Moody – High Court Judge.

Other senior public officials approved yesterday were: Sahr T. Fatorma – Member, Board of Directors, SLRA; Edmond Sylvester Alpha-Electoral Commissioner, Southern Region; Maada Senesie Kpenge – Managing Director, Guma Valley Water Company; Sahr Julius N. M’bayo – Member, Board of Directors, NPPA; Neneh Dabo-Member, Board of Directors, NPPA; Haja Amie Daboh – Member, Board of Directors, SLRA; and Ebunouwa Finda Tengbeh – Member, Board of Directors, EPA.

Seconding the motion for their approval, Emilia L. Tongi, an Independent MP from Kailahun District described the nominees “as fine and exceptional”, adding that the “right direction is the correct direction”. She also congratulated Sahr Fatorma and described him as one of the “luckiest” persons in the country. She called for justice to be taken to her constituency where a lot of women are suffering from injustice and other forms of domestic violence.

Speaking on behalf of the opposition APC before his party’s walk-out,  Lahai Marah MP, congratulated all the presidential nominees, with the exception of the Electoral Commissioner for the Southern Region.

This is what Lahai Marah said:

Speaking on behalf of the NGC,  Dr. Alhaji Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella MP (Photo), said that “the NGC does not have problem with any of the nominees”, whilst registering concerns that have been expressed by his Party with regards to recent bye-election in Tonkor Limba, as he calls for a judicial review of the whole process.

But, refusing to lead his NGC party into a walk out from parliament – following the footsteps of the APC, Yumkella said that “the NGC will not demonstrate any conduct that will disrupt the proceedings of Parliament”.

Concluding the debate, the Leader of Government Business – Sidie M. Tunis MP, said: “I will continue to negotiate and consult with the opposition parties, especially the APC, but outside forces are influencing and constraining the work of elected MPs during the course of executing their duties”.

Assuring the people of Sierra Leone, he said “they will get justice” especially with the recent approval of several Supreme, Appeals, and now High Court Judges.

Reacting to the APC MPs walk-out yesterday, Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden (Photo), said: “Walking out when you are completely out-numbered was a great symbolic strategy back then – between 2002 and 2007 for the minority APC in Parliament, but to see in this 2019, the 68-Man APC majority walk out , leaving the 48-Man SLPP minority in charge is disgusting.”

4 Comments

  1. Congratulations to the nominees,especially the seasoned lawyers and magistrates that have this great opportunity to be appointed as judges to serve the the people of Sierra Leone.

    I believe everyone is qualified for his or her position. The new direction is on the right track. Walking out of the house without any concrete reason is like you have already loss everything.

    Mind you APC parliamentarians, you are not representing yourself; you are there representing a whole community, not your selfish interest. Now get this in mind that 2023 for APC to have 2 seats in the Western Area will be difficult for your party. Even the north you call your political strong hold will be difficult for the party to succeed with all the seats.

    You guys are not mature and do not respect your people. Walking out of Parliament with any substantial amount of evidence not approved by the southern region NEC chairman.

    If you think that is the solution is to walk out of the house like that, then you are making yourselves look like yoyo.

  2. It beholds me to see that good old APC cannot survive the test of our political time. I do not believe in “tit-for-tat” regarding what the APC under Pa Shaki did to the SLPP in the 70’s. Is history repeating itself, when all SLPP MP’s were unseated after a parliamentary workout, and APC imposed their own candidates on the people of the East, South and some parts of the North? I pray not.

    But walking out of your parliamentary responsibilities is a sign of immaturity on the part of the APC. Sierra Leone is a Democratic State and should be governed by a Democratically elected institution. A Communist institution like APC will no longer survive in a Democracy like Sierra Leone.

    Hope the new APC young generation will change the political structure of good, old APC, to a democratic institution. The eyes of Sierra Leoneans are wide open and we are now more intelligent that 20 years ago. We cannot be fooled anymore. Are new emerging democratic political parties such as NGC and C4C sending APC into oblivion? I hope so.

    APC, change your Communistic constitution to a democratic one, for you to survive. Lonta!

  3. One cannot fight outside of the system but always within. It is not clear what strategy the All Peoples Congress (APC) party has put up their sleeve, but it looks pathetic to keep walking out of the political arena and thereby giving the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), the opposing team in this context, much needed political breathing space to carry out their evil deeds.

    From 1996 to date, the SLPP has never won a clear, fair and undisputed election in Sierra Leone, as a result of their demographic entrenchment, alongside regional or tribal sentiments. To the SLPP, being at the helm of power has always been their main objective irrespective of whatever it takes.

    The APC should be quite aware of this fact, and thus, engineer effective strategies to counteract this conception. At the moment, it looks like an open goal post for the SLPP to score at any time.

    For starters, the APC should be in no illusion to think that the National Grand Coalition (NGC) is on their side. Ironically, having such perception is a way of legitimizing the NGC, which is merely an insignificant chip of the SLPP. In fact the NGC would like to see a weakened APC party in other to maintain their superficial existence; since at the back of their mind, they knew they are trying to break through in traditional APC territory.

    And, from the past 2018 parliamentary and presidential elections, and the recent by-election in Tonkor Limba, the now infamous chief electoral commissioner – Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh – has been a great asset to the SLPP, and they (the SLPP) would not let him go away easily. However, this does not necessitate a “walk out of parliament as a crucial debate and voting were about to be taken on the approval of several High Court judges and other nominated public officials, including the appointment of the electoral commissioner for the Southern Region”.

    Something drastically stinks here – it is a complete BETRAYAL of the party, especially when they control a sizeable majority in parliament. The APC must get rid of some unscrupulous heads from their parliamentary set up, if they are to have any impact in any forthcoming elections or proceedings.

    The APC is a well-established party, and should be in no hesitation to shed off some saboteurs, even if it means losing their present majority in parliament, and embark on the process of regrouping for the 2023 elections.

  4. One thing that is obvious in life is losing always hurts and most losers especially in politics always try to blame it on the electoral process. Even in the United States after former Vice President Al Gore lost an election to former President George W. Bush, the Democratic Party cried foul about the electoral process but the Supreme Court decided to call the election for the republican presidential candidate former President Bush as the winner.

    Even most recently after the Democratic Party under the leadership of Hilary Clinton lost to President Trump, they blamed it on Russia collusion and after two years investigation President Trump has been vindicated.

    I hope the APC will start acting like a matured party and start following the process and procedures instead of just putting up tantrums. And they should stop believing what their leaders for life told them “ That the APC will never loose an election through the ballot box “.

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