In Supreme Court petition…


Alie Bangura loses to SLPP

December 16, 2015 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone yesterday unanimously refused to grant Ambassador Alie Essa Bangura’s petition to nullify the 2013 election of national delegates of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).

The convention, which was held in Bo two years ago, saw Chief Bai Shebora Somanoh Kapen emerge as the party’s Chairman and Leader.

But the former High Commissioner to Ghana had filed a petition at the apex court against the current chairman and 27 executive members, challenging the outcome of the Bo Convention which he had lost.

Ambassador Bangura had contended that there were anomalies which tilted the outcome of the elections in favour of the Somanoh Kapen faction, thus asking the court’s intervention to declare the elections “null and void” and order fresh elections.

His request was yesterday refused by all the five judges after two years of legal battle.

Acting Chief Justice Valesius Thomas ordered that the next national delegates elections of the SLPP are to be conducted by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party as the tenure of the current National Executive has expired, adding that an Independent Electoral Board comprising men and women of integrity should be appointed to conduct party elections.

The court also ordered that the list of names of all eligible delegates must be published 21 days prior to the actual election.

Reading the ruling with the leave of his colleague judges, acting Chief Justice Thomas said the views of all members must be heard, noting that the matter of a transparent free and fair election within the main opposition party should be resolved internally for the unity of the country.

Justice Eku Roberts said the claim by Ambassador Bangura that the SLPP national delegates convention held in Bo in 2013 was not democratic and fraught with procedural irregularities was not true as the latter failed to adduce sufficient evidence to the court.

Justice Roberts cited section 35 of the 1991 Constitution to support his ruling that the SLPP did follow the rules set out in the said section. He further noted that the plaintiffs’ submission in their originating notice of motion, filed on 19 December, 2013 that 37 of the 675 delegates whose names were on the list of voters at the convention voted for Chief Kapen, thus preventing legitimate voters, was not substantiated.

“Alie Bangura had also claimed that the nine (9) Diaspora representatives who were supposed to have traveled from North America as eligible voters did not show up but they were fraudulently voted for, is not true because he did not give the court any evidence to support such claims,” said Justice Roberts.

The judge noted that the issue of procedural irregularities was not beyond, although the plaintiff was unable to explain how widespread they were. He said the lack of clarity and inconsistencies in the plaintiff’s case distorted the evidence.

He also disagreed with Alie Bangura that the legal adviser of SLPP, Easmon Ngakui and Dr. Jack Muana were absent during the convention in Bo but were voted for.

He added that the party’s secretariat did not mandate any unauthorised person to manipulate the situation to the advantage of the defendants, contrary to the claim of Ambassador Bangura.

The Supreme Court judges advised the opposition party that in order to maintain peace and stability in subsequent elections only paid-up members should be eligible to vote.

Ambassador Bangura was represented by counsels Osman Jalloh, Mohamed Lamin Tarawallie and A.M. Timbo.

Hon. Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbi, Anthony Brewah and Umaru Koroma represented the SLPP executive members.