…petitions his eligibility
January 12, 2016 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Candidate fortheAlliance Democratic Party (ADP) in the last December parliamentary by-election for Constituency 030 in Bombali District, northern Sierra Leone, has reportedly petitioned the eligibility of the winner to contest the seat.
Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, who is also leader and chairman of the ADP, told Concord Times he was petitioning Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo’s election to Parliament for “breach” of the country’s 1991 Constitution, which according to him, clearly stipulates criteria for aspirants’ eligibility in parliamentary elections.
Mr. Mansaray was narrowly defeated in the said by-election by Mr. Kargbo in the ruling party stronghold, prompting political commentators to hail his performance as satisfactory and commendable.
The National Electoral Commission declared Alhaji Kargbo as the winner of the said by-election, polling 5,754 votes to beat his closest rival Kamarainba Mansaray, who garnered 3,926 votes.
But Mr. Mansaray is not prepared to settle for second best as according to him, his lawyer Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai had filed a petition at the High Court in Makeni on the grounds that Mr. Kargbo did not resign his position as Special Executive Adviser to President Ernest Bai Koroma before contesting the vacant parliamentary seat.
“I have taken my opponent to court because I believe he has questions to answer with regard his position as Presidential Adviser before contesting for the parliamentary seat in Constituency 030,” Mansaray said.
The constitution mandates that public officials paid from the Consolidated Fund should have resigned at least 12 months prior to contesting public elections. But it is subject to legal interpretation whether advisers to the President fall within this category.
Kargbo was appointed Minister of Information and Communications following the 2007 presidential elections, which the then opposition APC won. In 2012, he was replaced and appointed Special Adviser following the re-election of President Koroma for his second and final term as president. He held that position until he contested and won the by-election in Constituency 030.