CF Margai jibes Presidential Spokesman
January 9, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Presidential Candidate of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) has charged that Presidential Spokesperson Abdulai Bayraytay is a square peg in a round hole in so far as the interpretation of legal matters because he is not a lawyer.
Charles Margai’s jibes came after Mr. Bayraytay asserted on Radio Democracy 98.1 ‘Good Morning Salone’ programme yesterday that, the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) Presidential candidate Dr. Samura Kamara and running mate Hon. Chernoh Bah were both qualified to contest the March 7, 2018 presidential election.
“With all due respect, Bayraytay is a square peg in a round hole when it comes to the interpretation of the constitution,” said Margai, a lawyer of over 40 years standing, adding that the presidential spokesman had also volunteered to interpret the constitution while defending President Ernest Bai Koroma’s decision to sack Vice President Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana in 2015.
The PMDC standard bearer and legal luminary was speaking on a host of constitutional issues, including eligibility criteria for nomination as presidential candidate and subsequent election as president.
Mr. Margai opined that the APC presidential candidate and running mate were ineligible to run for office, citing relevant constitutional provisions while as hinting that he was ready to contest the issue at the apex court.
“The judiciary is going to be put to the test. Both of them [Dr. Samura Kamara and Hon. Chernor Bah] are not qualified and I say it authoritatively. We are in discussion with other political parties on the issue and our lawyers are looking at it now,” he said.
In a telephone response to Mr. Margai, Mr. Bayraytay suggested that the assertion by the former’s interpretation of the law was erroneous, adding that the 1991 Constitution exempts ministers and their deputies, Speaker of Parliament and Deputy, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice from resigning their positions prior to declaration to run for public office.
He also remarked that one does not need to be a lawyer to understand and interpret the law.
Mr. Margai had brought a similar suit against the presidential candidate of then ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party, Solomon Ekuma Berewa in 2005, but the Supreme Court rejected the application. The latter was then Vice President.