• July 4, 2023

APC Rubbishes Judiciary

APC Rubbishes Judiciary
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The main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party has in a press statement issued Monday 3 July 2023 dropped another bombshell by disclosing that the party shall not go to court over a disputed June 24 June 2023 polls.

According to the APC, they have no faith in the Sierra Leone Judiciary and therefore informed all about the position of the party.

“The APC party has had a recurrent bad experience relating to the lack of impartiality and competence of the Sierra Leone Judiciary to provide redress for violations of electoral laws, processes and mandates,” the statement reads.

The APC referenced unassigned cases following the 2018 elections when the party filed petitions at the Bo and Kenema High Court Registries, against 33 SLPP elected MPs on number of issues ranging from dual citizenships to election violence.

According to the press statement, the said matters were never heard. However, at that same time, the statement said the SLPP also filed petitions against APC MPs, were heard by the same judiciary and a controversial ruling that was made in favour of the SLPP – cancelling those elections.

Instead of ordering a rerun for the cancelled elections and the vacant seats, as provided by Section 147 of the Public Elections Act 2012 and Rule 45 Sub-Rule 3 of the Election Petition Rules 2007, disclosing that both provisions having now been repealed.

Ironically, the court turned itself into a rogue electoral commission by replacing ten elected APC MPs with SLPP candidates who were distance away runners-up in those elections, the statement recalled.

Recounting the case of the petition relating to Constituency 110 in the Western Area Rural District, where the runner up was a National Grand Coalition candidate, (not an SLPP candidate) the court ordered a rerun with the hope that the SLPP will win the seat, the statement adds.

The APC party press statement furthered that in April 2018, the party sought redress against malpractices in the presidential elections of that year, the statement accused the Chief Justice of delays in assigning the case until three years later.

“Even with this administrative abuse of powers to assign, the Chief Justice assigned the case to himself, presided over same, wrote the judgment himself and disposed of the matter by throwing it out of court,” the statement reads.

With regard other high profile political matters for which the statement indicted the Chief Justice for refusal to assign to judges include: an application filed by the Sierra Leone Bar Association to the Supreme Court, 3rd January 2019, the SLBA, challenging the processes and procedures relating to the establishment of the Commissions of Inquiries (COI), for which the statement said the application was never listed for hearing.

On 21st May 2019, the statement reads, Hon. Osman Abdulai Timbo and others filed a Supreme Court Application on Section 78(2), and various other provisions of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone on the timeline within which parliamentary elections petitions could be heard and determined in the High Court. This matter was never assigned.

In May 2019, Alhaji Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay and others vs Attorney General and others was filed under the supervisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court challenging the commencement of the COI by the Commissioners without Rules having been established according to section 150 of the Sierra Leone Constitution, the statement also cited.

On 21st day of February 2020, the press statement indicated another Supreme Court application relating to Section 78 (4) and various provisions of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone on the timeline within which Parliamentary Elections petitions appeal could be heard and determined in the Court of Appeal. This matter was never assigned.

“On 7 June 2023, APC and Lansana Dumbuya filed a case against the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) and The Chief Electoral Commissioner, seeking the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone to produce the disaggregated voter register and to comply with provisions of the Public Elections Act 2022. This matter has not yet been assigned”.

The statement continued, on 12 June 2023, Mr Patrick John and the PMDC party filed an application on the qualification of Mohamed K. Konneh to serve as the Chief Electoral Commissioner, it was never assigned.

“According to the statement, it should be also noted that owing to its monumental failure to dispense justice fairly, the Judiciary is endeavouring to hoodwink the public and the International Community by claiming that they have listed more APC cases than any other party,” it noted.

The APC would like to highlight the fact that these cases being referred to relate to those involving APC members only. When it comes to disputes involving the APC and the SLPP, the rules are different. The statement pinpointed.

According to the APC, they would not have ended up in this unpleasant chapter of the country’s democratic decline, particularly this electoral tragedy, if, for example, the Chief Justice had assigned to impartial judges the case relating to the conduct of ECSL and qualification of the Chief Electoral Commissioner, the statement clarified.

The Chief Justice only assigns cases involving the APC to ‘special judges’ that are in cahoots with him to deliver ‘captured judgements, the statement said.

“A captured judiciary can’t deliver a fair judgment. Therefore, going to court for redress for the June 24 electoral violations will only result in a captured judgment”. The Press statement stated.

The APC will not legitimize the unlawfully proclaimed government by going to a judicial system headed by a captured Chief Justice, the statement informed.

The APC has the evidence to prosecute a strong case against the ECSL and its thieving proclamation of candidate Julius Maada Bio as winner, the statement disclosed.

“But the only way its faith could be restored in the judicial system is for the current Chief Justice to resign and for an uncaptured and independent panel of judges from Commonwealth countries who understand the common law and have no political affiliation to this country to preside.

Other than that, as with the present set up, and the sad experience the APC has had so far with the Judiciary they cannot go to that court.”

 According to the APC, they stand on their decision of not recognizing the presidency of Bio.

The statement also reiterated the party’s decision that they will not participate in any level of governance until what the party referred to as an unprecedented daylight electoral toppling of the people’s mandate is amicably and satisfactorily addressed.

According to APC, democracy and the rule of law have been dethroned in Sierra Leone as in Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Sudan.

“The threats are looming large in other countries in West Africa and across Africa.” the statement reminded.

“If the world decides to look away and move on, the APC shall continue to fight our battle but it should be noted that when democracy is left at the mercy of brute force, the outcome is autocracy and instability,” the statement maintained.

The APC therefore urged all champions and defenders of democracy and the rule of law to rise to the occasion and halt what the APC called dangerous usurpation of the will of the electorates.

Even a casual comparative analysis of what the ECSL announced and what the APC tallied shows widespread ballot stuffing and downright thieving of the APC votes, the press statement continued.

“In a normal society, the press statement continued, the expectation would have been to seek redress in the court, unfortunately, ours is a society where the president and his SLPP have captured and dismantled the independence of the most critical national institutions to the extent that there is no chance of fairness and justice for the opposition”.

Amongst other institutions, the statement noted the behaviour of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone Police and the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces confirmed the said position.

The press statement added that the Sierra Leone Judiciary   has demonstrated relentless commitments to injustice. It added that the statement noted was borne out of an unbridle partisan loyalty.

The APC stated that this lack of faith in the courts have also been raised by the wider public, several national and international observers and Sierra Leone’s development partners.

The APC in the press statement referred to such sad reality emanates, as it will be listed below, from an aggregate of several facts and issues which have shown a deep lack of independence and fairness in the Judiciary of Sierra Leone.

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