The Hottest Topic Of The Day… 2 Sim Vs 1 Sim

 

Ever since the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) set among the criteria for awarding of its MP symbol the condition that nobody with dual citizenship qualifies, the topic has become the hottest debate nationwide.

One thing remarkable and very refreshing about the Sierra Leonean personality is our great sense of humor which individually and as a nation has seen us sail through many rough weathers with a smile. So it is that when Lawyer Francis Gabbidon opened the Dual citizenship Pandora’s Box, Sierra Leoneans quickly gave the issue a humorous twist by using a mobile phone metaphor to describe it by referring to it as one Sim and two Sim.

Two sim are those with dual citizenship who the 1991 constitution bars from becoming members of parliament, minister or president because they owe allegiance to another country by voluntarily seeking their citizenship. One sim are those who are Sierra Leoneans by birth of either Sierra Leonean mother or father born in the country or abroad.

In the previous four elections since the country returned to multiparty democracy in 1996, two sim citizens had the political advantage in that they came from abroad and were selected by both the SLPP and the APC to become either MPs or ministers of government whilst their home-based counterparts (one sim) looked on enviously. Now the tables are turned. For the forthcoming March 7th 2018 elections, all the political parties, conscious of Section 76(1)(a) of the 1991 constitution have debarred two sim from taking to the field with only those who have one sim given vests.

This has greatly displeased and annoyed frustrated players with two sim who had and sacrificed their other pursuits abroad and come home prepared to take to the field. From inside the APC, SLPP and other parties, they have cried out loudly that they have been discriminated against and are calling out for a repeal of Section 76(1)9a) Act No. 6 of the 1991 Constitution which states, no person shall be qualified for election as Member of Parliament if s/he is a naturalized citizen of Sierra Leone or citizen of another country voluntarily or by declaration of allegiance.

This prohibition has also got ministers in the president’s cabinet with two sim worried as they know it is over for them in the next administration, unless they decide to remove one of their two sims and remain with only the Sierra Leonean one. Last week, The Exclusive reported that in order not to be left out of the country’s political dispensations, about 120 Sierra Leoneans with two sims living in the USA, Canada, EU, Australia and other parts of Africa have decided that they will drop one sim and retain their sierra Leonean sim.

One notable politician who has already done so is the presidential candidate of the National Grand Alliance, Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella who has deactivated his USA sim.