January 25, 2018 By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The Kambia District office of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has ruled in favour of presidential candidate of the National Grand Coalition (NGC), Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, who also doubles as parliamentary candidate in Constituency 062, Kambia district, northern Sierra Leone, following a petition to his provisional nomination.
Dr. Yumkella’s provisional parliamentary nomination was last week petitioned by the All Peoples Congress Party (APC) parliamentary candidate, Abu Bakarr Sankoh at the NEC office in Kambia District on the grounds that the former holds a dual citizenship and that he is ineligible to run for parliament.
The grounds of the said objection read thus: “That the said Yumkella Kandeh Kolleh is a dual citizen of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the United States of America in violation of section 76(1a) Act No.6 of the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone and the Public Elections Act (Act No.4) of 2012.In addition to this, a document with further explanation in support of the objection was hereto attached.”
Yesterday the District Electoral office in Kambia ruled on the objection. District Returning Officer, Umaru Fomba ,said in a statement that: “Having looked at the objection before me and with reference to both sections 76(1a) and 63 (Act No.4) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone and the Public Elections Act of 2012 respectively, I have considered the explanations submitted in support of the objection and I have concluded that the evidence is insufficient to reverse the provisional nomination of Yumkella Kandeh Kolleh.
“In my submission therefore as District Returning Officer and reference to section 63 subsection 3 of the public Elections Act 2012 ,my decision on this matter is thus that the objection is rejected and the provisional nomination of Yumkella Kandeh Kolleh as a candidate for Constituency 062, Parliamentary Election is upheld.’’
However, there is further opportunity for an appeal on this matter at the National Electoral Commission‘s Headquarters in Freetown after the decision of the district NEC office on the matter.
Sources intimate that the ruling APC is determined to take their objection to the High Court, which is the final court for the determination of eligibility to contest for a parliamentary seat, and the Supreme Court for the determination of whether the former United Nations egghead can have his name on the presidential ballot paper.
Whatever the outcome, the NGC and Dr. Yumkella have the momentum as the ruling comes with a huge relief for their supporters and members, many of whom took to the street in Kambia to celebrate a significant legal over the ruling party.
The NGC was yet to release an official response to the outcome of the petition last night, but earlier this week, their campaign Spokesperson Dr. Julius Spencer said on Radio Democracy 98.1 ‘Good Morning Salone Program’ that the petition against their presidential candidate was ‘frivolous’.