Letter to the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone’s main opposition APC party’s member of parliament – Chernoh Ramadan Maju Bah – aka Chericoco (MP), has written a letter to the country’s Chief Justice, regarding the undue delay in setting a date for the Supreme Court hearing of the 2018 general election petition cases filed by the opposition, languishing at the offices of the Chief Justice for several months, and in some cases, for over a year.

This is what he says:

My Lord Chief Justice,

RE: DELAYS IN ASSIGNING AND EXPEDITING CONSTITUTIONAL AND ELECTORAL MATTERS PENDING BEFORE THE COURTS 

The Parliamentary leadership of the All People’s Congress political party (hereinafter referred to as the ‘APC’) is concerned about the persistent delays in expediting constitutional and political cases in Court.

Since the end of the 2018 elections, the APC has filed several petitions and constitutional matters, most of which have taken over a year without being assigned to a Judge or panel of Judges for hearing. The cases that have been assigned are not expedited which has resulted to significant delays in the dispensation of justice, which goes against the principles of the Rule of Law and natural justice. Of note are:

● The Presidential election petition filed by the 2018 Presidential Flagbearer of the APC, Dr. Samura Kamara, against the election of His Excellency the President.

● The Presidential election petition filed by Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden against the election of His Excellency the President.

● Election petitions filed against elected Members of Parliament of the ruling party.

● Appeals filed by eleven APC Members of Parliament removed from Parliament by decisions of the High Court.

● The interpretation of Section 78(2) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone and to review the decision of the Honourable Justice D. B. Edwards (JA, as he then was), sitting in the High Court.

● The challenge to the jurisdiction of the Commissions of Inquiry (COI) to operate without Rules of Practice and Procedure formulated by the Rules of Court Committee as provided for in Section 150 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
Your Lordship will agree with me that the subject matters of the Court cases listed above have time value attached to them, given that they involve the petition of occupants of political offices that are tenured. It therefore behoves the judiciary to dispose of these matters expeditiously.

Specifically, let me direct your Lordship’s attention to the parliamentary election petitions filed in May 2018, which only got disposed of in May 2019, in breach of constitutional provisions that limit the hearing and disposal of Parliamentary election petitions to four months. The effect of this delay was manifested in the disenfranchisement of the electorates in having their duly elected Members of Parliament represent them in parliament.

This unfortunate development is repeating itself with the Appeals filed by the eleven APC Parliamentarians. The constitutional four months limit to hear and dispose of the appeals is almost exhausted, compounding the illegalities and constitutional breaches in these matters from origin.

It is the view of the Parliamentary leadership of the APC that the delays in assigning and/or disposing of the aforementioned matters negatively impact on our constitutional democracy. As such, the Parliamentary leadership of the APC, therefore, calls on your good office to give consideration to the above matters for expeditious hearing and disposals.

Please accept the assurances of my esteemed regard.

You faithfully,

Hon. Chernor R. M. Bah, Leader

CC:  ​The Honourable Speaker of Parliament; ​The Attorney General and Minister of Justice; ​The Secretary to the President; ​The Resident Coordinator, United Nations; The British High Commissioner; The United States Ambassador; The Head of Delegation – European Union; The Irish Ambassador; The German Ambassador; The Nigerian High Commissioner; The Ghanaian High Commissioner; The Secretary General, Mano River Union; The Chairperson, Human Rights; Commission, Sierra Leone; The Chairman, PPRC

4 Comments

  1. Brima Sesay says: September 12, 2019 at 2:40 pm This is what we called a DELEGATED LEGISLATION – no parking no waiting. I don’t actually understand what went wrong with Mr. Bah’s IQ. This is a surprising news to the whole world, even you yourself have to be ashamed to bring out this kind of news again to the media attention. For real more than a year ago, APC not accepted defeat in 2018 polls? These are the people you are referring to as peaceful Sierra Leoneans? Or APC just think like the country belongs only to them. Will this bring stability and prospect to the country? Mr. Bah, are you the one defending Dr. Samura Kamara or talking for the entire APC? We just trying to remind the people that, the 70s no longer exist. Now Democracy and the rule of law are in place. Constitution can be defined as a system of law, customs and conventions by which the country is governed, so why complaining? APC we are one people, one country, and one nation. We want peace for this country and may God bless Sierra Leone. Reply
  2. Alusine Fallay says: September 12, 2019 at 5:04 am Personally, the level of threats I have heard from the APC party since they lost the 2018 presidential election is unprecedented in the history of our nation. They have consistently threatened almost every institution through the radio, television ( AYVTV); social media, by writing letters and even comments on paper and electronics media. It’s even obvious that they are now ready to go on the rampage and intends to apply scorched earth policy. The international community has already confirmed that the election was credible, free and fair and they have been trying their best to work with the present government to painfully and slowly get our country back on its feet by focusing on the governing process. But unfortunately the APC leadership keeps on causing all types of noises just to cause distraction.
    I hope and pray that sooner rather than later they will have to grow up and accept defeat and get a life. SORE LOSERS!!! Reply
  3. Concerned Sierra Leonean says: September 11, 2019 at 2:07 pm Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah (Chericoco) MP, once again called the attention of the Paopa Chief Justice to attend to the overdue petition cases that are gathering dust in his curb web infested shelves. The Chief Justice is forgetting that he is not a politician and has to act independently so as to protect the Rule Of Law. Mr. Chief Justice, please don’t forget that Justice delayed is justice denied. Please heed to the call of the Majority Leader in the House Of Parliament. Udat Sabi di Chief Justice duya una forward dis letter from the dynamic politician Hon. Chericoco. Reply
  4. Saidu Conteh says: September 11, 2019 at 12:47 pm Bravo! Bravo! Honorable Chernor Bah, without any doubt you are my kind of guy – intelligent, sincere,thoughtful,and fearless. It is my hope, that such an invaluable letter will now serve as an energizer,a stimulant that will motivate the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone to recognize that its time to Put the Pedal to the Metal, in the interest of our ailing and fragile Democracy. So many petitions,grievances,appeals,and unanswered questions pending,regarding the legitimacy of this ineffective,corrupt government now in power,that urgently needs to be addressed. Does the Chief Justice really think it is right,proper,and acceptable,to treat the valid concerns and legal complaints of Citizens of our beloved nation with a cold shouldered indifference? Saidu Conteh wants to know! Whats going on? Are we supposed to wait anxiously like fishermen, preparing to drag their nets to shore, hoping it is full of fish,for ages and ages to come? Unbelievable! Again,in the interest of the poor struggling masses, allow me to make another enquiring observation,that keeps on bugging me – driving me nuts. Is it possible,that your lordship is waiting until 2023 approaches before action regarding these critical,pressing matters are hastily addressed,and then cast aside? If this is the case,then the Nation needs to know why justice is fast asleep,while lack of fairness has been given licence to roam free,without caution,and restraint. Again,the Chief Justice knows it is within his abilities,and powers to strengthen the Rule Of Law,and reinforce the Pillars of Justice,for the purposes of revitalizing our democracy,and keeping it robust,and alive. Yep,you can go the whole nine yards in the interest of Patriotism,if you wish to do so. It is all in your hands Sir! True. All in your hands to nurture and protect the flames of hope for a better future in Sierra leone, or to watch it,uninvolved as it flickers in the winds of despair in silence – as it struggles,trembles,and dies….Rising Sun Will Rise Again. Reply

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