21 APC MPs In Dilemma

 

The fate of twenty-one (21) Members of Parliament representing the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party hangs in the balance, pending the outcome of petitions filed against them by the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) in different constituencies across the country following the 7th March, 2018 national elections.

The first hearing of the five petitions filed against the APC MPs in the Northern Province, including Hon. Mohamed Bangura representing Constituency 046, Hon. Lahai Marah representing Constituency 048 and three others, was heard in the Makeni High Court sometime last year.

The Judge threw out all five SLPP petitions on the grounds that they were not filed within the stipulated time of within ninety (90) days after the parliamentary election results were announced by the National Returning Officer of the National Elections Commissions (NEC), as well as other legal and technical defects. Dissatisfied with the Judge’s ruling, the five defeated SLPP candidates appealed to the Appeals Court in Freetown.

Lawyers representing the five petitioned APC MPs received letters from the Appeals Court Registry that the rulings were to be delivered last week.

However, when the MPs, their legal representatives, supporters and families went to the Law Court Building in Freetown, the Chief Justice, after seeking audience with him, told them that one of the three Judges on the Appeals Court panel was out of sort and that although the judgment had been reached, it could not be delivered. The rulings, according to report, would be announced early May with regards the sixteen (16) petitions filed by defeated SLPP and National Grand Coalition (NGC) candidates against the APC MPs in the Western Area.

Chief Justice Edwards in his meeting with the APC MPs told them there was no conclusive date for announcing the rulings, noting that the High Court was still examining the evidences presented by the petitioners.

The affected APC parliamentarians petitioned in the Western Area by their SLPP and NGC challengers are:

  1. Kemoh Conteh – 108
  2. Kadie Davies – 110
  3. Rugiatu Rasy Kanu – 113
  4. Hariatu Ariana Bangura – 116
  5. Isaac Tarawally – 118
  6. Wurroh Timbo Jalloh – 119
  7. Lihadi Alhadi – 123
  8. Chernor R. M. Bah – 126
  9. Siraji Rollings Kamara – 127
  10. Abu Bakarr Sillah – 128
  11. Emmanuel S. Conteh – 129
  12. Osman Abdallah Timbo – Constituency 130 – (the youngest MP in the current Parliament)
  13. Sheriff – 131, and three others.

Commenting on the matter that has left them in a state of dilemma with regards its outcome, Hon. Siraji Rollings Kamara opined that the ruling SLPP was using the petitions as a psychological weapon against them in Parliament. He insinuated that the petitions come up anytime APC lawmakers take critical stance on sensitive national issues with the view to intimidate the opposition.