The Minister of Mineral Resources and Political Affairs has launched a verbal attack on journalists in Sierra Leone, especially members of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ).
Hon. Alpha Kanu lambasted journalists on Wednesday 16th¬†September 2009, whilst defending the action of President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma for allegedly interfering with the work of the Judiciary.
Hon. Alpha Kanu said in Freetown that the journalists acted ďinquisitivelyĒ (known¬† in the local Krio parlance as congosa) to call on the President who happens to be a member of the executive arm of government, to intervene in an issue that has to do with the Judiciary.
ďThe President has no business in the operations of the judiciary. Therefore, the journalists took a step in the wrong direction to complain to the President that the Judiciary has failed to deliver a ruling on their matter,Ē Hon. Alpha Kanu said, adding: ďThat is why the President acted maturely by telling those congosa journalists that the Supreme Court will deliver verdict when it resumes sittings by mid SeptemberĒ.
According to Hon. Alpha Kanu, the President made the aforesaid pronouncement since ďcommon sense have it that there is no matter in the court that will not be ruled onĒ.
Secondly, Minister Kanu said journalists ďought to know betterĒ that challenging sections of the 1965 Public Order Act is not an affair of the Supreme Court, but that of ParliamentĒ.
He therefore stated that the journalists were wrong in the first instance to have taken the matter to court. ďThey should have taken the matter to the House of Parliament since it is the parliament that is mandated to amend the constitution,Ē he explained.
Responding, the Secretary General of SLAJ said his organization believes that it took a step in the right direction since SLAJís action to contact the President resulted in the fixing of a date for the ruling on the matter.
ďIt was clearly spelt out in the letter from the Office of the President that the ruling on our matter will be delivered when the Supreme Court resumes sitting by mid September,Ē Mustapha Sesay said in a telephone interview with the Awareness Times last night.
Mr. Sesay reaffirmed that ďSLAJ remains hopeful that the words of the President will be met by actions to end the stalemate between SLAJ and the Supreme Court over the failure of the latter to rule on the matter within the legal time frameĒ.
The SLAJ Scribe also rebuffed Alpha Kanuís statement, whilst pointing out that the matter in question is that of constitutional interpretation and that it is the Supreme Court that has the legitimate authority to interpret the laws of Sierra Leone and not the House of Parliament, which is there to make and amend laws.
ďParliament will only come into such matters if the ruling of the Supreme Court requires its intervention to amend the law,Ē Mustapha Sesay ended.
Meanwhile, members of the public have remarked that if the letter from the Office of the President was an attempt to hoodwink journalists, in order for the latter to suspend their protest actions, it will adversely affect the exceptional relationship between the Presidency and the Journalists of the country, especially members of SLAJ.¬†¬†
¬© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.