15 APC, 1 SLPP MPs Freed

 

By Ibrahim Sahid Kamara

The election petition cases filed against 15 elected All People’s Congress (APC) Members of Parliament including Hon. Chernor Maju Ramadan Bah, Hon. Sirajin Rollins-Kamara, Hon. Ahmed Mansaray, Hon. Kadiatu Davies, Hon. Osman Timbo, Hon. Mohamed Bangura, among others, and one elected Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Member of Parliament, Hon. Mohamed Billah Shaw, have been dropped following mediation by members of the ECOWAS Parliament.

According to report, ECOWAS Members of Parliament including the Head of Mission, Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe Jr., Hon. Mohama Ayariga, member and secretary, in April held series of negotiations with the Judiciary and leadership of SLPP and APC and a conclusion reached for the matter to be settled out of court so that Parliament will be able to function properly.

Earlier in April, the APC National Secretary General, Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh lambasted that the reason why SLPP filed petitions against APC elected MPs was because they lack the majority in Parliament and therefore wanted to use what he called a “convoluted” election petition to reduce APC numbers in the House of Parliament. That, he said, was not good for democracy as it is not good for the country.

At the time, the SLPP National Publicity Secretary, Lahai Lawrence Leema said that they brought the petition against the APC MPs because they were receiving salaries from the Consolidated Revenue Fund and failed to resign one year before contesting the 2018 national elections as required by the 1991 Constitution and also allegedly committing the election offence of ballot stuffing.

Lawyer Lansana Dumbuya representing four of the APC MPs that were slammed interim injunctions in the Freetown High Court presided over by Justice Alusine Sesay argued that the reason why the SLPP petitioners brought the matter to court was for the election of the Speaker of Parliament. He opined that with SLPP having secured the speaker position, nothing serious would go on in court with regards the petitions.

After the oath taken of 68 duly elected APC MPs in Parliament on Friday 4th May, 2018, the Speaker of parliament, Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu, during his address to MPs said that the presence of the APC MPs was satisfactory as they had completed the composition of the House. This, he said, will make the House function effectively.

Meanwhile, the current Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Lahai Leema, Madam Lulu Jabbie and other SLPP members that were charged to court for various offences during the past APC government have also had their cases dropped.