By Ragan M. Conteh
Leader of the main opposition, All Peoples Congress (APC) has said in parliament that it would be difficult for the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party to win elections through the polls.
Hon Chernor Maju Bah made the statement last Tuesday during a parliamentary debate for the approval of the Returning Officer and Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
The Opposition Leader’s claim was a direct response to a submission of the Deputy Leader of Government Business that the number of Opposition MP’s would shrink in the 2023 elections owing to insincerity.
Hon Maju Bah substantiated his claim by informing parliamentarians that the NEC is yet to publish, on its website, the results of 2018 Local Council, Parliamentary and Presidential elections.
The reason for NEC’s failure to publish the result, Hon Bah says, remains doubtful.
“If you check on NEC Website, you can only find the 2007 and 2012 elections,” he said.
During the debate, Hon. Bah said APC would not approve the NEC boss since a problem of constitutional eligibility exists.
Apart from the constitutional eligibility of the NEC Chairman, he says, the President failed to consult APC leadership which is a breach of the country’s constitution.
“Calling the APC Leader and Chairman, through phone, as a form of consultation for the appointment of NEC Chairman breaches the 1991 Constitution,” Hon. Bah asserts.
He emphasised that Section 32 of the constitution conferred powers on the President to appoint the Chief Electoral Commissioner after consultation with the leadership of all political parties.
The Opposition Leader also pointed out that Section 76 of the same Constitution was breached since the NEC Chairman failed to resign upon his appointment.
The constitutional provision makes it compulsory for the NEC chairman to resign from his post of Director of Financial Intelligence Unit twelve months prior to his appointment.
“The APC is not questioning the credibility or competence of the appointed NEC Chairman, but has problem with the NEC Boss in terms of constitutional eligibility,” he submitted.
The Opposition Leader who remains unsatisfied with the appointment of the NEC Boss told parliamentarians that his party would likely seek redress in court.