January 14, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Impeccable sources at State House have revealed to Concord Times that President Ernest Bai Koroma has settled for Mohamed N’fah-Alie Conteh as Dr. Christiana Thorpe’s replacement as Chief Electoral Commissioner.
If as expected Mr. Conteh is nominated and endorsed by Parliament, he will preside over crucial presidential, parliamentary and local council elections in 2018.
Although the appointment of Mr. Conteh has not been made public by the presidency, the decision should, however, be made in consultation with registered political parties in accordance with Section 32(3) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
Secretary-General of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Sulaiman Bajan Tejan-Sie, refused to comment on the issue because, according to him, the decision has not been made public. However, he said the president is constitutionally bound to consult leaders of registered political parties before naming a successor to Dr. Thorpe, whose tenure expired last year.
Conteh has served the National Electoral Commission since 1990. He is currently one of five Electoral Commissioners at the Commission.
He was appointed commissioner in 2009, and has been very instrumental in transforming the Commission to its current status.
His appointment is sure to generate a lot of debate among members of the public as many hold the view that the Chief Electoral Commissioner should be acceptable, independent and credible to conduct public elections.
Meanwhile, it remains unclear if President Koroma had consulted leaders of other political parties before deciding on Mr. Conteh.