By Elhaj Malik Shabbaz
I have been following latest developments in the All People’s Congress Party since the party’s new constitution came to effect of the 25th March, 2022 after the Judge in the Alfred Peter Conteh’s case ordered for the setting up of a 21 Man Committee to adopt the new constitution of the All People’s Congress Party. Fast forward, let me at this juncture say thanks to the redeemer and freedom fighter, the man whose name will go down in history to stand against tyranny and despotism in the APC; Alfred Peter Conteh. Your sacrifice to stand up against injustice in the APC is worth emulating, may the good Lord continue to bless you. Now let’s turn to the discuss proper.
The APC’s new constitution is currently one of the most celebrated democratic legal documents that foster a modern day democratic style of leadership and one that many parties may reference for a better leadership going forward. The constitution replaces the antediluvian 1995 constitution that was used to serve in the best interest of the Koroma’s led selection brigade. The 83 Articles of the new APC constitution are very clear and understandable that even the lame man can understand its content. However, the Ernest Bai Koroma’s led de facto executive are trying to deliberately misconstrue this new document, and their effort to do so is what of great concern to many who fought for this document to be alive today. Since the publication of the constitution, the illegal status quo of the APC party has been sending their boys to propagate a particular Article 82 (B) of the new constitution that hold what is termed a “TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS”. Let’s first take from the said Article 82 b and understand it better before pushing forward with the discuss. Article 82 (b) of the constitution reads as follows:
“The existing Party leadership, including but not limited to the Chairman and Leader, the Deputy Chairman and Leader, the National Secretary General, all other National Officers, the Members of the National Advisory Committee, the National Executive Committee, the Regional and Diaspora Executives, the District Executives, the Constituency Executives, the National Executive of the Women’s Congress, the National Executive of the Young Congress and all other CONSTITUTIONALLY ESTABLISHED EXECUTIVES, notwithstanding the repeal of the Existing Constitution, shall have effect after the entry into force of this Constitution as if they have been established pursuant to this Constitution and their provisions shall be and construed with such modifications, adaptations, qualifications, and exceptions as may be necessary to bring them into conformity with this Constitution until the first National Delegates Conference and/or other relevant conventions under this Constitution are held.”
Well, this is the Article 82 (b) that is making round on social media by the status quo boys, but it appears to me that little did they know Article 82(b) is the hard knock that has broken the wings of the selection brigade. For such deliberate attempt again to continue to misinform the grassroots of this party, I won’t blame our gullible supporters/grassroots, but the EBK lawyers who will only interprete the law to suit the comfort of their power thirsty boss Ernest Bai Koroma. What is too difficult to understand that this very section is talking about a Constitutionally Established Executive and not the current selection brigade that occupied those executive positions illegally and were never a constitutionally established executive. To see this clear interpretation and pretend not to understand the meaning of it, one would wonder what sort of a lawyer people like Ahmed Sesay has become lately. Did Ahmed Sesay really understand what a constitutionally established executive is? Should the Ernest Bai Koroma lawyers continued to interprete our constitution to suit their boss? I just don’t get it how some people are turning blind eyes to the reality and still want to take up leadership of the APC to continue to mislead our gullible people. It is as simple as that to understand that our new constitution does not encourages anything that has to do with the defunct illegal executive. There is nowhere in the constitution that it is mentioned that we are to transfer power to an illegal body as the current executive is illegal and were allowed to operate only as a de facto care takers of the APC. Now, let’s turn to the facts why the said Article 82 (b) must not be interpreted to serve in the interest of Ernest Bai Koroma and his handpicked executive. .
During the 2017 convention, there were no elections held in Makeni, it was gazetted that the Ernest Bai Koroma led APC was going to the convention to select it’s national officers and all electable positions as such, people were rather selected in complete disregard for the due process as our 1995 constitution dictates. There were no single individual elected by the delegate present at the convention. All the current members serving in such positions were selected and handpicked by EBK and his henchmen. Yes, the constitution provides for selection of executive but only when the situation calls for emergency or one that may prevent the party not to hold such convention at the time. Article 6.10.111 (VI) of the 1995 constitution talks about such emergency situation. *Article 6.10.111 (vi) reads thus: In special and Emergency situations, the National Advisory cannot be convened. Not less than 16 (sixteen) members, 2 (two) from each Region must constitute a quorum for a special and Committee shall perform the role and functions of the National delegates Conference where a National Delegates Conference emergency National Advisory Committee meeting.* In fact in the said 1995 constitution, the words election and selection are placed in the following orders…ELECT/SELECT. Which is to say, you will first have to elect or if there is an emergency situation that prevents the party to elect, then the National Advisory Committee being the second highest body can there for called up such meetings and may now resort to select. Again, let us juxtapose this very Article 6.10.111 (VI) to that of the current constitution. The preamble of the new constitution goes further to clearly explain what are the emergency situations that may prevent the party form holding conventions or any meeting leading to the election of the executive of the party.
The preamble of the constitution reads as follows: “Special and Emergency situations” shall be limited to when the country is at war, force majeure, the death the declaration of a National State of Emergency, coup d’état, civil strife or unrest affecting the whole or a large of the Partys Presidential Candidate, the occurrence of a national natural disaster or epidemic that leads to part of the country. The thrilling question that we may all want to ask to ascertain that the current executive are illegal is this: where there any such situation mentioned in our two constitution during the 2017 convention in Makeni? If the answer to this is no, do we now agree that the current executive cannot be considered under Article 82(b) of the constitution as Constitutionally Established Executives? These are the thrilling questions our people must ask this defunct and illegal status quo sending their boys to “papishow” the very Article that skillfully disqualifies them.
Going forward, inasmuch as we await a judgement by the judge dealing with the matter at the High Court of Sierra Leone, it is incumbent on us to come out and educate our people on these simple provisions in our current constitution. If the current de-facto leadership of EBK thinks Article 82 (b) will legalise their illegality, they must take a break and think again. Article 82 (b) was only brought into our new constitution for a legally Constitutionally Established Executives period!!? Anything added to this very said Article is void ab initio.