January 25, 2016 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
The leader of Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, has partnered with Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkeleh to lead the anti “more time” campaign in the Diaspora.
The move came in the wake of a controversial campaign by few Sierra Leoneans aimed at extending the second and final term of President Ernest Bai Koroma by two more years, on the grounds that his tenure was disturbed by the Ebola outbreak which killed over 3,000 people between mid 2014 to November 2015. The virus has since returned in the northern Sierra Leone, with one dead and a positive case confirmed.
A counter group has been vociferous in calling for respect for the rule of law and constitutionality, and the two opposition politicians want to use their leverage both within and outside Sierra Leone to canvass anti “more time” campaigners and activists.
The ADP leader disclosed they would start the campaign on 13 February in the United States and that they were of the opinion that the “more time” campaign would gain momentum if opinion leaders and political standard bearers fail to provide a counter narrative and give a strong voice to pro democracy activists.
Though pro more timers cite section 49(2) of the 1991 constitution as justification for an extra two years for the president, Mr. Mansaray noted that the said section is not applicable to the present situation, thus distinguishing between war and peace time, adding that in the present circumstance the country is not facing any territorial threat and that the president was never overthrown like his predecessor the late former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in 1997.
Section 49(2) of the 1991 Constitution reads: “If Sierra Leone is at war in which the national territory is physically involved, and the President considers that it is not practicable to hold elections, Parliament may by resolution extend the period of five years mentioned in sub-section (1) of section 46, but no such extension shall exceed a period of six months at any one time.”
However, strangely, the more times are asking for two years instead of six months at a time as stipulated by the very constitution they rely on, although President Koroma was in the country throughout the outbreak and went round on his much touted “social mobilisation”.
“The president neither move from this country as a result of any threat nor was he quarantined. So why does he need more time? To plunge our country into another civil war?,” he questioned, adding that anything that could contravene the peace of the post-war country was unacceptable and could detrimental to everyone.
The ADP leader said the joint campaign with the flag bearer hopeful of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), targeting Diaspora Sierra Leoneans, could ensure that the latter talk to their relatives in Africa as to why they should not allow President Koroma to extend his term in office beyond the constitutional limit.
When asked if the message from Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh that President Koroma was not interested in any additional time makes any difference, Mansaray maintained it would be best if it came from the president himself.
Meanwhile, Dr. Yumkelleh has said they were optimistic that the campaign would attract citizens and non-citizens in the Diaspora, adding that the campaign would be extended to China, London and Belgium, to name a few.
“We will not only campaign in the Diaspora but also in the four regions of Sierra Leone. On February 27, 2016 we will be at Miatta Conference hall in Freetown to send the same message to fellow Sierra Leoneans. The move by some unpatriotic Sierra Leoneans is undemocratic and we all know this is a post-conflict country. We are calling on President Koroma to come out and tell the people that he is not interested in any more time issue,” said the erstwhile UN under secretary general.