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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

SLPP awaits judgment

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SLPP awaits judgment

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Umaru Napoleon Koroma,who is counsel for defendants with the exception of the first defendant, Chief Somanoh Kapen, submitted before Justice Babatunde Edwards of the High Court that the court should not consider plaintiffs’ affidavits, backed by the supplemental affidavits seeking the court to declare SLPP’s recent internal elections null and void.

Lawyer Koroma told the court that he entirely relied on the affidavits of all the defendants including exhibits to the court, stating that the plaintiffs prayed and wished for the court to nullify the party’s constituency elections, held in thirty nine constituencies around the country.

According to him, prior to the party’s zonal, section, chiefdom, constituency, district and executive elections, rules and regulations were drafted, adopted, gazetted, and published within the frame work of the law. The said rules and regulations happened to be the legal instrument used to conduct the previous elections.

He argued that SLPP’s, complied with the Supreme Court order, which was delivered in the matter between Alie Issa Bangura and others versus Chief Somanoh Kapen, dated 15 day of December, 2015.

The order made it legal for officials of the party to proceed with it lower level elections, on the grounds that the then national executive of the party  tenure of office had been expired, and that  the Supreme Court judges thought it prudent for the party to have such important structure in place.

He added that the gazetted rules and regulations were the only legal operational instrument, stressing that the said gazetted rules and regulations used for the conducting the lower level elections was published in the government notice, and its assumed legal status, on 29 January 2016, ahead of the party’s planned lower level elections.

Barrister Umaru Napoleon Koroma also submitted that, he noticed nothing illegal, irregular, or confrontational to the Supreme Court Order, as far as his party lower level, constituencies, districts, and executive elections were concerned.

The amended rules and regulations which were born out of various objections raised by objectors, at the party’s recent elections,  have no legal force, as it was not gazetted and published in government notice, and stressed that his clients have the rights to participate and to supervise the conduct of the party recent internal elections, he noted. 

The then Chairman of the SLPP, Barrister Napoleon asserted that wanted to conduct all internal elections of the party’s  alone,by  deliberately discarding   the Supreme Court Orders, as well as the Political Parties Registration Commission who never suggest or say, the SLPP should employ the amended  rules and regulations for the conduct of lower level elections.

 In conclusion, Lawyer Napoleon stated that the Plaintiffs could not use the court to give effect to illegality, on the grounds that the said amended rules and regulations were never adopted and gazetted, as they weremere proposals for the inclusion into the gazetted rules and regulations.

On his part, Counsel for Plaintiffs, Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie countered that the court should waste no time to declare the Sierra Leone People’s Party recent elections, held in thirty nine constituencies, including the results collated from all district elections null and void.

He pointed out that the rules and regulations the Defendants used for conducting the party’s lower level elections, which Counsel for defendants was legally banking on, have no legal force, and it was this same rules and regulations that tampered with, by submerging with parallel executive lists used by the defendants to conduct parallel elections, contrary to the party’s 1995 constitution as amended in line with democraticstructures of the party.

Lawyer Sulaiman Banja Tejan Sie had earlier argued that, the defendants were not the appropriate national officers to conduct the party recent lower level elections, adding that entire elections were marred with irregularities and illegality, which further contravened the party’s 1995 constitution asamended and it internal democratic values and structures.

Barrister Banja Tejan-Sie maintained that his clients wanted the court to nullify constituency elections conducted in 39 constituencies and districts, and at the same time referred to the entire electioneering process as “illegal and irregular” in the face of the party’s  1995 constitution as amended.

He concluded by stating that no political party would use two sets of separate rules and regulations to conduct any election on the legal grounds that the amended rules and regulations were the legal instruments with legal force, which the defendants should have used for conductingthe lower level elections within the SLPP.

At the concluding stage of proceedings, the presiding judge, Justice Babatunde Edwards informed that the court would deliver judgment on the matter two weeks from now.

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