January 23, 2018 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Lawyer Adewole Showers yesterday moved a motion in the High Court of Sierra Leone, presided over by Justice Komba Kamanda, on behalf of former Member of Parliament Hon. Edward Stile M. Jengo. The plaintiff/applicant, Hon. Jengo, was representing the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) in Constituency 097 in the Moyamba District until the dissolution of parliament last December, and he is challenging the outcome of primary election in his constituency.
The former lawmaker had filed a notice of motion in the High Court of Sierra Leone against National Chairman of the SLPP Prince Harding, National Secretary General Umaru Napoleon Koroma, the National Electoral Commission and recipient of the SLPP parliamentary symbol in Constituency 097 Edward George, following the outcome of constituency primary election held on 6th January, 2018.
Lawyer Showers submitted that on the face of the originating motion, the plaintiff seeks a declaration that he was the rightful winner and person entitled to be awarded the parliamentary symbol of the SLPP for Constituency 097, pursuant to constituency election held on 6th January, 2018.
He applied for an interim injunction restraining the first and second defendants from holding out that the fifth defendant and or anyone other than the plaintiff was the winner of the parliamentary symbol for Constituency 097, pending the hearing and determination of the application.
Lawyer Showers told the Judge the crux of the plaintiff’s application was that the constitution of the SLPP makes specific provision for the manner in which symbols are awarded to aspirants contesting to become Members of Parliament.
He submitted that section 24(1) of the Political Parties Act expressly and unanimously set out the mode which political parties should follow, and that the first and second defendants failed to comply with the provision of section 24 of the said Act.
He applied that the court declare void the outcome of the constituency election held on 6th January 2018, and grant an injunction by restoring the plaintiff as the winner of the election because he secured 21 votes – the highest – leading the second person who secured 8 votes, but was declared winner.
Replying to the submission of the plaintiff’s counsel, Lawyer Anthony Brewa presented an affidavit sworn to by Umaru Napoleon Koroma, National Secretary General of the SLPP dated 19th January, 2018 with exhibits including a list of names of people who attended the SLPP emergency meeting for the setting up of the symbol awarding guidelines on 2nd January, 2018.
He said the name of the plaintiff and contact number is on the list and the latter, being a member of the National Executive Council (NEC) that amended the guidelines, was aware of changes in the guidelines, thus submitting that the application be refused.
Also, Lawyer B.E.T. Cummings, representing the 3rd and 4th defendants, submitted that the court should be reluctant in granting Order five of the motion, which says the court should grant injunction on the 3rd defendant to withhold it functions until the outcome of the substantive matter.
However, Justice Kamanda responded that Order five can be effective just for the moment as he rules on the matter today.