…As they lose in the High Court
February 16, 2017 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards yesterday ruled against the plaintiffs who had sought to stop lower level, regional and sectional elections of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) from going ahead as scheduled and to order fresh elections in 39 constituencies where alleged irregularities had taken place.
But lawyer for the plaintiffs, Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie, has promised to appeal the judgement.
Observers are of the view that the High Court ruling would have a negative impact on the communiqué signed by all flagbearer aspirants of the SLPP last week, especially if the threat to appeal the discussion is followed through.
While addressing journalists yesterday after judgement was handed down, Tejan-sei told journalists that they were not satisfied and that they were going to appeal.
He described the day as ‘sad for the justice system in the country’ as according to him, the rule of law and democracy were being threatened, adding that the way and manner in which the judiciary dispenses justice in the country was unsatisfactory.
He called on politicians to reform the judiciary in order that democracy should take root in the country.
Tejan-Sie, who until recently was scribe of the main opposition party, opined that in the past years politically sensitive matters taken to court have not been decided justly, adding that the court has failed to ‘solidify justice in the country’.
“I strongly believe that what the politicians want them [judges] to do is what they are doing. That is not good for our democracy. I am not satisfied with the ruling and my clients have asked me to appeal the judgment,” he said.
Earlier, the judge told the court that he had considered the submissions of the plaintiffs and defendants, perused documents and depositions put forward by both sides in respect of the injunction and substantive matter.
He said the plaintiffs’ argument on rules and regulations to follow in conducting lower level elections were not supported by evidence, and that certain documents presented by the plaintiff’s lawyer were unsigned and undated.
He thus refused all the eleven prayers sought by the plaintiffs and ordered that each party to the litigation bear their respective cost.
Lawyer Tejan-Sei had submitted in his argument that supervisors of the lower level elections shouldn’t have used rules and regulations published in the gazette on 29th January, 2016 but the one that was amended on 11th May of the same year the Political Parties Registration Commission and the ten-man committee of the SLPP.
But the judge disagreed with him on the grounds that the plaintiff had failed to furnish the court with relevant documents to support their argument.
The plaintiff in the matter were Alusine Bangura, Alex Kargbo and Victor Sheriff, who had filed their joint suit against the party’s National Chairman and Leader, Chief Bai Shebora Sumano Kapen, Secretary General, Ambassador Alie Badara Kamara and the four Vice Regional Chairpersons who supervised the conduct of the 10th December, 2015 lower level elections.