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Sierra Leone's Elections Boss wants to Re-Enact already Enacted Laws
By Sylvia Olayinka Blyden (A News Commentary)
Apr 1, 2011, 17:33
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The Chairperson of the National Elections Commission, Dr. Christiana Thorpe, seems not to have an end to her devious and manipulative games played to confuse the people of this country. This time, she is trying to pretend as if Laws enacted by the SLPP-led Kabbah Government as far back as January 2002, had never been in existence before.

Before going into the substance of todays piece, I will like my readers to recall how, even as many citizens pointed out the illegality of her shameful acts of September 2007 in nullifying votes in 477 polling stations, this woman had shamelessly stood her ground; all the time pretending to be an angel and making her patriotic critics look like they were just trying to be troublesome and give undue bad name to Christiana Thorpe.

Well, it is now good to report that Dr. Christiana Thorpe has finally confessed over National Radio recently that her action of cancelling votes in SLPP strongholds during the Run-Off Elections of September 2007 were totally illegal and had no basis in Law. Additionally, this week she has made a public call at the British Council for people to forget about the past whilst agreeing that she had no such powers back then but now wanted to be given such powers to nullify votes during the 2012 Elections. What a woman!


In all of this, perhaps what is most remarkable is the fact that even though she has acknowledged to have acted illegally, the woman is yet to publicly apologise to this country for the grave sins she committed in September 2007 despite it has now clearly emerged that she had no legal basis upon which to nullify hundreds of thousands of votes of Sierra Leoneans in 2007.


Shamefully, not only is she failing to apologise for her misdeeds but she is also now trying to hoodwink members of the local and international public into believing that a key component of the Laws of Sierra Leone as enacted by the SLPP-led Tejan Kabbah Government back in January 2002, had never been in existence.


This writer and numerous past and current Parliamentarians will confirm that the very first Law enacted in Sierra Leone after the Civil War ended in January 2002 was the National Electoral Commission Act No. 1 of 2002 which ensured that a former loophole in the National Constitution was sealed. That loophole had given powers to the sitting President to unilaterally sack Elections Commissioners as and when he felt like it. Thus Electoral Commissioners had no Security of Tenure.


Former President Tejan Kabbah, in his wisdom, ensured that he enacted that no Electoral Commissioner could be removed from office arbitrarily for misbehaviour unless the person first faced a Tribunal that subsequently made such a recommendation to be endorsed by at least two thirds of Parliamentarians in the country. In other words, former President Kabbah, like a true democrat who placed this country above his own presidential interests, ensured the power for him to just get up and sack an Electoral Commissioner, willy-nilly was removed from him and from all future Presidents of the Republic of Sierra Leone.


The said Sierra Leones Act No. 1 of 2002 is known as The National Electoral Commission Act, 2002. Section 4.(1) of this Act is a verbatim repetition of Section 32.(8) of the National Constitution. They both say:- a member of the National Electoral Commission may be removed from office by the President for inability to discharge the functions of his office, whether arising from the infirmity of mind or body or any other cause, or for misbehaviour.


However, former President Kabbah in his wisdom also ensured that no President, after the war ended in 2002, would ever again possess the ability to just sack any Electoral Commissioner when he ensured that Parliament enacted Section 4.(2) of the National Electoral Commission Act No. 1 of 2002.


Here is what Section 4.(2) says:- When a member of the Commission is to be removed from office for misbehaviour under Section 4.(1), the statement of the misbehaviour shall be addressed to a Tribunal appointed by the President, adapting for that purpose, the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (5) of section 137 of the Constitution and subsections (6) and (7) of that section shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to the removal of that member of the Commission.


The cited subsections of Section 137 are for the manner in which Judges could be removed which is only after a Tribunal recommends it first to Parliament and two-thirds of Parliament endorses the tribunal recommendation.


What the above all means is that this country as from January 2002, already had LAWS stating that no Electoral Commissioner could be removed from office unilaterally by a President. In other words, since January 2002, all Electoral Commissioners already had Security of Tenure.


Now, despite all the above factual revelations, Dr. Christiana Thorpe and her Legal Handlers, for reasons best known to themselves, have chosen to pretend as if such Laws providing Security of Tenure to Electoral Commissioners have never existed in this country even though the SLPP had long since enacted them.

Deceitfully, Dr. Thorpe is busy making a recommendation to the national and international audience for the verbatim contents of the Law that was already enacted in January 2002, to be re-enacted again as a so-called Constitutional Amendment.


It is widely believed that in November 2007, His Excellency the President did not deliberately contravene the 2002 Laws but that he was misinformed by his Legal Advisers into unilaterally sacking Eddie Nyallay and Winston Minah contrary to the laid down Laws of the land as enacted in Section 4.(2) of Act No. 1 of 2002. It is pertinent to note that in January 2002, President Koroma had not yet entered Parliament and so he could be forgiven for not knowing he was contravening laid down Laws when he sacked Nyalley and Minah.


Whether certain persons who misled the President back in November 2007 now still want to continue to mislead the country that Section 4.(2) of Act No. 1 of 2002 never existed, is the question now on many observers minds.


Meanwhile, another recommended amendment of the Constitution by Dr. Christiana Thorpe is of no consequence as the Constitution already possesses such a requirement. In this case, Dr. Thorpe wants the Constitution to rephrase Section 32(8) so that shall only will replace may but it is a fact that Section 32.(9) of the National Constitution has already taken care of that mandatory requirement by stating thus:

(9) A member of the Electoral Commission shall not be removed from office except in accordance with the provisions of this section.

Bottomline, it is now clear that Dr. Christiana Thorpes proposed amendments concerning Security of Tenure of Electoral Commissioners represent a clear attempt to hoodwink the local and international populace once again as she has been consistently doing, in various forms, over a period spanning upwards of four years now. I have said it before and I will say it again. Dr. Christiana Thorpe is not fit to conduct any more elections in this country. She is too criminally-minded.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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