US Ambassador describes speedy conclusion of PR Case as “Fantastic”
February 6, 2023
United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Ambassador David Reimer, while welcoming the Chief Justice and his team commended the Judiciary for being so expeditious in concluding the Proportional Representation Case filed by Hon. Abdul Kargbo and Councillor Hakiratu Maxwell-Caulker against the Attorney General and Minister of Justice as first Defendant and the Electoral Commission-second Defendant.
He said, “the US paid attention, the US State Department followed the process, and we are impressed with the speed in which the decision was made.”
“That was fantastic, we want to see a continuation as this will instill confidence in the process,” US Ambassador Reimer said.
According to him, the US has no position on the type of voting process or the electoral system, “what we are interested in is peaceful, free, and fair elections.”
He said they are not supporting any candidate but rather wanted more candidates to contest the forthcoming June national elections.
Acknowledging the commendations, Sierra Leone’s Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards assured that the Judiciary would continue to ensure that all cases filed at the Supreme Court will be broadcast live by the media and completed with the much-needed speed.
“I assure you that we would stick to that,” said Chief Justice Edwards, adding that, “for all Parliamentary cases or electoral offences we have an effective Communications and Public Affairs Unit that will provide timely reports as a way of dispelling rumors or misinformation.”
He said the Judiciary will also pay undivided attention to other cases before the Courts as it doesn’t mean other cases will not continue during the electioneering process.
Asked about his challenges, the Chief Justice admitted that the challenges are huge but wouldn’t serve as roadblocks to “doing what is right.”
Among the challenges he outlined are limited financial support to the Judiciary, especially during the electioneering process.
“We are constrained in terms of logistics,” he said, reiterating that, “We are getting support from the Government and UNDP, but the support is not enough to do our work. Even the support is yet to come.”
In attendance were the US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission-Stephanie A. Bunce, US Embassy Political Counselor-Paul Stucky, High Court Master and Registrar, Supreme Court Acting Registrar, Court Operations Manager and Spokesperson for the Judiciary.
The Sierra Leone Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed a challenge against President Bio’s directive to the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (EC-SL) to hold the 2023 national elections on Proportional Representation (PR) system.
The matter was brought by Lawyer Joseph Fitzerald Kamara who was Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of Sierra Leone (2016-2018) and Anti-Corruption Commissioner (2010-2016) under the opposition All Peoples Congress Party (APC) and Partners on behalf of the first Plaintiff, Hon. Abdul Kargbo from the APC and the second Plaintiff, Councilor Hakiratu Maxwell-Caulker from the APC against the Attorney General and Minister of Justice as first Defendant and the EC-SL as the second Defendant on the holding of election on the PR System.
In their declarations, the Supreme Court Justices; Hon. Justice D.B. Edwards (presiding), Hon. Justice N.C Brown-Marke, Justice M. Deen Tarawally, Hon. Justice Alusine Sesay and Hon. Justice A.I Sesay dismissed claims brought by the Plaintiffs. “An order restraining the 2nd Defendant, Electoral Commission, its agents, servants, privies or however called from taking steps aimed at conducting the June 2023 multitier public elections on the District Block Proportional Representation system is refused,” according to the judgment.