In a highly acclaimed and laudable gesture, John Oponjo Benjamin, National Chairman and Leader of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has formally re-enlisted the skills of “esteemed” SLPP member Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbi Esq. on behalf of the SLPP, in the matter of the SLPP’s request for a judicial investigation into the conduct of the 2007 Elections by Dr. Christiana Thorpe. This was revealed in a Press Statement by the party last Wednesday published elsewhere in this edition. It can be recalled that Jabbi was the Lawyer who first filed papers in the matter in December 2007. Jabbi’s continued retention by John Benjamin on behalf of the SLPP, has been warmly welcomed by SLPP stalwarts who see it as a positive sign in the SLPP-Jabbi saga.
Unfortunately, the fate of the other matter taken to the Supreme Court against the SLPP by the same Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbi, is still not yet known. It can be recalled that Jabbi, himself an SLPP member, recently dragged the SLPP to the Supreme Court where he asked the Supreme Court to make a DECLARATION that the SLPP has contravened Section 35(2) of the Sierra Leone National Constitution.
It is a fact that if the SLPP is proven to have contravened the National Constitution with such a Declaration from the Supreme Court, any ordinary citizen from the streets of Freetown, can then file papers asking the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) to exercise Section 27(1)(b) of the PPRC Act which calls for the PPRC to apply for the Supreme Court to institute the penalty for such breach. The said penalty calls for the SLPP’s registration as a political party to be cancelled; following which the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) will then become banned and all its properties seized and sold off by the Attorney General under Section 29 of the PPRC Act of Parliament.
After such a scenario, which would be legitimately executed within the ambit of the Laws of the Land, any citizen who attempts to carry out any act on behalf of the banned SLPP, can be carted off to Pademba Road or Mafanta Prisons for a period of up to one year; following which term of imprisonment, he can be asked to pay an additional fine of up to half a million leones before he is released from Mafanta or Pademba jailyards.
In all of these actions, the ruling APC and President Ernest Bai Koroma will not have any visible hand for which they can be blamed; as the Judiciary is theoretically separate and independent from the Executive arm of Government. It will just be a case of a political party being banned because one of its own “esteemed” members got the Supreme Court to declare that the party has breached the National Constitution.
Of course, the ordinary citizen who could legally file papers to the PPRC calling for the SLPP to be de-registered, does not have to be an APC or SLPP member. He can be any John Doe from the street.
The SLPP is an important ingredient in Sierra Leone’s democratic culture therefore the current fate of Sierra Leone’s democratic culture lies in the hands of Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbi and the Leadership of the SLPP. The sooner the matter of this Supreme Court Declaration is withdrawn from the Judiciary, the better for our country. This is not a matter of ‘Elections’. If the matter was only concerning Elections and did not seek to have the SLPP de-registered, banned and all its properties seized under Sections 27 and 29 of the PPRC Act of 2002, then since the lower-level Elections have all been 100% conducted with no more petitions remaining anywhere, why is the case still in front of the Supreme Court?
What Dr. Jabbi took to the Supreme Court is not one of ‘Executive Elections’ neither is it one to undermine the John Benjamin leadership per se as some conceited pundits proclaim. Rather, it is one that hinges around the very existence of the SLPP as a viable political entity in Sierra Leone. The sooner this is realised, the better for the SLPP.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.