• May 22, 2023

Is There a Strong Case Against Dr. Samura Kamara?

Is There a Strong Case Against Dr. Samura Kamara?
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By Saikujohn Barrie

19/5/2023@17:13

I have decided to do this piece in reaction to the challenge on the eligibility of the main opposition party Presidential Candidate, Dr. Samura Kamara to be flag bearer of the party.

According to documents, two people, Paul  Kamara and Almamy Colsen Turay who are members of the party have challenged the candidature of Dr. Kamara through a right conferred on them in section 46(2) of Public Election Act,2022 which states that, “A notice of nomination under subsection(1) shall direct that a citizen of Sierra Leone may lodge an objection, against the nomination of a presidential candidate but that the objection shall be lodged with the Supreme Court within 7 days of the publication of the notice of nomination.”

Because of the nature of the matter, I won’t delve too deep into the legal issues, but I would discuss some of the sections of the law cited by the applicants and related them to some of the facts on the said objections.

Further, the applicants stated in their submissions:

That the 3rd Respondent (Dr Samura Kamara) was further found to be dishonest in public office by the commission of inquiry of the Hon. Justice Biobele George Will.

That the 3rd Respondent is currently standing criminal trial at the High Court of the Republic of Sierra Leone for an offence of fraud before the honourable Justice Adrian Fisher.

That there is currently a pending court matter inter alia with respect to the eligibility of the 3rd Respondent to contest as a presidential bearer of the All People’s Congress Party the 4th Respondent herein before honourable Mrs Justice Hannah Bonnie J.A.

That I have been informed by my solicitor and truly believe that the 3rd Respondent herein is ineligible to contest as a Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming presidential Elections as flag bearer of the 4th Respondent by reason of sections 35(4) and 76(1d) of the constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No 6 of 1991.

The aforementioned are some of the key arguments presented as grounds to challenge the eligibility of the Presidential Candidate of the main opposition party to be a flag bearer for the APC.

Being one of the legally minded Sierra Leoneans, I would like to engage the sections of the Sierra Leone Constitution which the applicants relied on to further their case against the Dr. Samura Kamara.

The applicants said that they believe that the 3rd Respondent was ineligible to contest as Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming presidential Elections as flag bearer for the 4th Respondent by reason of sections 35(4) and 76(1d) of the constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No 6 of 1991.

In addition, section 35(4) of the 1991 constitution states that no political party shall have as a leader a person who is not qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament.

Furthermore, Qualifications for membership in Parliament are set outline in section  75 of the 1991 constitution which states that subject to the provisions of section 76, any person who— is a citizen of Sierra Leone (otherwise than by naturalization);   has attained the age of twenty-one years; and  is an elector whose name is on a register of electors under the Franchise and Electoral Registration Act,1961, or under any Act of Parliament amending or replacing that Act; and  is able to speak and to read the English Language with a degree of proficiency sufficient to enable him to take an active part in the proceedings of Parliament, shall be qualified for election as such a Member of Parliament.

However, section 76(1) of the constitution states, no person shall be qualified for election as a Member of Parliament— (d) if he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence which involves fraud or dishonesty.

With section 76(1d) of the 1991 constitution conversed above, looking at the grounds on which the applicants hinged their challenge, I am tempted to ask the following questions, Is the leader of the opposition not eligible to be flag bearer because the the COI findings despite the fact that Samura Kamara has filed an application at the Court of Appeal Challenging the outcome of the COI?

Should he be guilty until the court of appeal finds him otherwise?

What caused the delay of Dr. Samura Kamara’s appeal case? 

In addition, the applicants stated that, “that the 3rd Respondent is currently standing criminal trial at the High Court of the Republic of Sierra Leone for an offence of fraud before the honourable Justice Adrian Fisher,”

My question to above submission is that, should section 76(1d) be applied to Samura Kamara even though he has not been find guilty by Justice Adrian Fisher?

I don’t think any court will uphold this ground because doing such will go against the spirit of the law which talks about fairness.

Also, it is stated that the presumption of innocence is a legal principle that every person accused of any crime is considered innocent until proven guilty.

Therefore, declaring Dr. Samura Kamara not eligible to be the flag bearer of the APC on the basis of him being on trial on offences related to corruption would be unfair and unjust.

I also think that the same thing applies on the argument that Dr. Samura has a pending court matter with respect to his eligibility to contest as a presidential bearer of the All People’s Congress Party the 4th Respondent herein before honourable Mrs Justice Hannah Bonnie J.A.

In view of the above submission, why has Mrs Justice Hannah Bonnie delayed adjudicating this matter up to date?  How far has this case gone?

Who is responsible for the delay? Should Dr Samura Kamara be disqualified on the basis of this depending court case?

As I said, I don’t want to go into too much details since the matter is to be considered by the supreme court of Sierra Leone wherein section 46(3) of the Public Election Act,2022 states “An objection against the nomination of a presidential candidate shall be heard by the Supreme Court made up of 3 Justices whose decision shall be given within 30 days of the lodging of the objection.”

I pray that the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone thoroughly look into this matter especially the issue relating to the COI.

I think Sierra Leoneans are looking forward to leaning more from the would-be decision of the Supreme Court on this very important matter relating to our democracy in our country.

I also pray that the Supreme Court also consider the public interest in this case since the peace and security of Sierra Leone is paramount.

It is on this note, I ask whether there is a strong case against the Presidential Candidate of the main opposition party (APC) Dr. Samura Kamara.

I rest my case.

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