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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

Third Term in Sierra Leone: How?
By Mohamed Azonto Kamara
May 7, 2014, 17:17
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I want to thank Dr. Sylvia Blyden for coming out strongly against those who want to intimidate citizens from expressing their opinions on amending 1991 constitution to allow a third term. Those busy denigrating fellow citizens are behaving exactly as how nasty savages & bullies browbeat and intimidated citizens during and after the 1997 interregnum. Back then, any sensible person who pushed for Dialogue with RUF/AFRC as against Hinga Normans murderous, cannibalistic Kamajorism or Sani Abachas Killer Alpha-jets and inhuman military intervention, got swiftly labelled as a rebel collaborator. In such process, media practitioners and heartless intellectuals were deployed to fill radio air waves & newspapers with nasty trash against prominent citizens calling for Dialogue. Subsequently, innocent souls got killed as AFRC Collaborators. Many citizens, to save their lives, properties and hard-earned reputations, simply got intimidated into silence. It was entire Nation which suffered from the lack of credible debate on how to end the war!


Today, it is interesting that the same group who led such wicked, unpatriotic efforts and delayed a peaceful end to our crisis, are again at fore of shameful bullying of citizens from utilising their freedom of conscience on this third term debate.

 

I also want to appreciate Blydens honesty in saying she personally does not believe in allowing a third term for any Sierra Leone President even as she respects the views of those of her compatriots who wish for such.

 

It was good for her boss, His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, to also come out strongly and defend the right of his citizens to speak out their conscience and freely express their opinions.

 

However, despite such high level exhortation from President Koroma, the intimidation seems to be continuing and wild insults are being thrown all over the place as if President Koroma is the one asking citizens to call for a Third Term. A most nauseous attack was published last Friday May 2nd 2014 by Sorie Fofana on his center pages of GLOBAL TIMES.

 

The question I have for these nasty attackers is whether they have read the 1991 Constitution enacted by late President Joseph Saidu Momoh? Because the rate at which they are insulting decent personalities, makes it to be, as if amending entrenched clauses or changing 1991 Constitution is an easy feat.

 

Say what you may about President Momoh, he left a water-tight democratic, multi-party constitution for this country! It is such that amending Section 46  limiting presidential terms to only two terms is a virtual impossibility.

 

According to Sections 108.(3) and 108.(4) of 1991 Constitution, it requires for a minimum of almost 67% of valid votes to say YES before an entrenched clause like two-terms presidential limit can be changed. With an ostensibly united APC party behind him in 2012, President Koroma got a mere 58.7% of valid votes in 2012 elections so where will he get 67% to vote for a third term? Especially with all the APC hungry lions biting at the bit to succeed President Koroma? These APC lions are barely suppressing their ambitions. They will surreptitiously tell their people to vote NO! for a third term.

 

To make it even more difficult to amend entrenched clauses, President Joseph Saidu Momoh enacted in Section 108.(4) that even if 67% of those who validly voted on Referendum Day, voted YES, if that 67% is numerically less than 50% of registered voters, then that 67% YES! amendment is invalid!

 

Worldwide, Actual Voters is always less than Registered Voters but President Momoh enacted a Constitution that ensured entrenched clauses could only be touched IF at least 50% of registered voters voted YES and not just for 67% of those who actually turned up to validly vote.

 

Let me give an example of the startling difference between Actual Voters versus Registered Voters. In the 2012 Presidential Elections, President Koroma scored 1,314,881 valid votes which represented 58.7% of Actual Voters who validly voted. We had 2,701,299 Registered Voters for 2012 Elections so it means President Koroma, at the height of his popularity, got elected by a mere 48.6% of the 2,701,299 Registered Voters in Sierra Leone!

 

President Momoh made the 1991 Constitution so sacrosanct that no future President will be able to easily amend the presidential term limit. A President needs not just 67% of actual valid votes but this should be at least 50% of Registered Voters voting YES! for such amendment.


Now, at the height of his popularity of November 2012, President Ernest Koroma neither got 50% of Registered Voters nor did he get 67% of Actual Voters. Rather, he got a mere 48.6% of Registered Voters and a mere 58.7% of Actual Voters. This is food for thought.

 

As I have shown above, changing or altering the entrenched clauses of the 1991 Constitution enacted by President Momoh, is not as easy as some might make it out to be so please, please the likes of Sorie Fofana should let our people debate and discuss this issue without having to suffer undue nasty insults of their persons. If youths in the APC strongholds want to sing and dance AFTER U, NA U, please let them sing and dance. If they want a referendum, they can have it and let the figures speak!

 

Dr. Sylvia Blyden did not deserve the nastiness of last Friday and neither did President Koroma. We are no longer under siege from Kamajors and Sani Abacha. Let us enjoy our freedom of speech without fear of the Kamajors appearing at our doorsteps or a Nigerian Alpha-jet dropping a bomb on us.

 

Sorie Fofana, Umaru Fofana and others cut from that same cloth, should STOP this raw intimidation and insulting conduct.  It is so, so needless.


Changing the entrenched clauses of the 1991 Constitution is a very difficult feat to achieve! I do not even see how President Ernest Koroma, should he even desire this (and he has never said he does!), will ever be able to amend term limits. Koroma just does not have the numbers on his side! Koroma was elected into office by only
48.6% of Registered Voters of Sierra Leone.


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