Six renowned lawyers from the All People’s Congress (APC) Party lawyers, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, Africanus Sesay, Ady Macauley, Wara Serry-Kamal and Gassim Conteh have called on the Supreme Court to overturn the decision of the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (EC-SL), to hold public elections for ordinary Members of Parliament by the Proportional Representation System.
On 28 November 2022, the lawyers filed an Originating Notice of Motion with the Supreme Court for a declaration amongst others, against the directive, stating that there are extant and subsisting constituencies, inconsistent with Section 38A of Constitutional Amendment, Act No. 15 of 2001.
The lawyers argued that the Proportional Representation is in itself a product of its time, adding that it is a fall-back position when there are no Constituencies or Wards for the purposes of public elections in the country.
They went on to state that this was the rationale and the prevailing circumstances that warranted and justified the amendment introduced in 2001 as now contained in Section 38A of the Constitution.
The country according to them, had then just come through a brutal and destabilising rebel war foisted on the country which resulted in the destabilisation of communities nationwide, apart from the loss of human lives and destruction of property.
“An immediate effect of such a situation was the absence of settled communities and constituencies. Hence, the justification for the introduction of the Proportional Representation system,” they noted, adding; “it was then seen as a contingency provision and not intended to be a regular format for public or general elections for parliament.”
They argued that these conditions do not now prevail in the country and therefore recourse cannot lawfully and properly be had to such a system, in the face of existing constituencies and wards.
Furthermore, the lawyers argued that the power given to the Electoral Commission is to conduct and supervise elections, and not to determine the form or mode of Elections.
“To change the format or mode of elections is a matter of primary legislation, reserved for the Legislature and not the subject of a Statutory Instrument,” they stated; whiles urging the Supreme Court to declare null and void the Presidential Directive and Statutory Instruments No. 83 of 16th November 2022 now purportedly laid before Parliament.
However, a popular female opposition politician, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, who is a senior member of the APC also, has rebuked the APC lawyers and described drafted papers filed to the Supreme Court as “appears to be faultily”.
Whilst openly supporting the objectives of the said Court Case, Dr. Blyden has scolded the APC Lawyers who filed constitutional papers.
Writing on her Twitter account, Dr. Blyden said that she has contacted one of the lead lawyers who filed, to alert him to go back and better study what they filed for the Supreme Court to adjudicate on.
Dr. Sylvia Blyden said she has also contacted the Supreme Court Registry and so she can confirm that the Supreme Court Registry had already served the ostensibly faultily drafted papers on the Attorney General as by Law established in the 1982 Supreme Court Rules of the land.
However, she has strongly called on the APC Lawyers to go back and better study what they had filed, calling on them to “more closely study those Papers filed”.
“I confirm that Supreme Court, by Law, has today physically served on Attorney General, a Case against President Bio’s direction of EC-SL’s Mohamed Kenewui Konneh to use PR for 2023 Elections. I support the Case but I’ve tonight strongly advised Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara Esq. to more closely study those Papers filed”. Dr. Blyden twitted.