From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

SLPP may Impeach President Koroma for Unfitness
By Augustine Samba & Momoja Lappia
Jul 29, 2010, 17:26

The Leader of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s party Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin has intimated that president Ernest Bai Koroma is unfit to rule, and hence does not deserve a second term because of numerous issues including his tribal tendencies that might even result in his impeachment before the end of his first term in office. Speaking at the monthly party press briefing on Wednesday at their Wallace Johnson Street Headquarters, Mr. Benjanim opined that the Opposition might commence impeachment proceedings against the president for what he called the APC and government’s usurpation of the functions and authority of the Judiciary.


Chairman Benjamin impressed that because the executive continues to usurp the powers of the judiciary, there has been a spate in unlawful arrests and detention of persons as well as compulsory evictions and destruction of private properties, wrongful demands for release of detainees and overruling fines imposed by magistrates. “Even when the Sierra Leone Bar Association in their 2010 post conference communiqué condemned the overlapping of powers, the executive continues to ignore the separation of powers,” he told pressmen. He said the absence of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary have caused delay in dispensing justice in such matters as the controversial 2007 presidential run off election results, the rape incidents of SLPP members and the closure of their radio station among many others all pending in courts of law.


The opposition party chairman furthered that if such continued without redress, the constitutions creates room for the impeachment of President Koroma ahead of the 2012 general elections.


Among other issues that the outspoken and seasoned politician dilated on included the legality of political parties’ press conference, youth unemployment, corruption, the London Mining agreement and existing legislations, the re-appointment of Christiana Thorpe as National Electoral Commission’s chairperson and government’s misinformation to world of the statement made by United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon during his recent visit to this country.


Commenting on youth issues, Mr. Benjamin said they account for about 34% of the national population but yet remain a vulnerable group with many unfulfilled promises by the APC government. He lauded the World Bank’s effort for the grant of US$20 million given to the government and people of Sierra Leone to support youth empowerment through youth projects. “But we in the opposition are apprehensive as to how APC is going to expend the money for its intended purpose", he said, adding that they would join the World Bank to continue to monitor the government to make sure that youth projects are effectively implemented.


“Application for, and approval processes of projects should be made simple, transparent and broad based, and such projects approved to be published in newspapers and announced on radio stations indicating the implementing groups, districts, specific beneficiaries, communities as well as cost and activities to be funded,” he concluded, while reminding ruling APC of the joint communiqué to be used as a tool to develop a bi-partisan approach to overcome youth unemployment.


Mr. Benjamin's Executive has however faced criticisms over their poor understanding of important constitutional matters as exemplified in their handling of the issue of the ongoing Tribunal of three Judges who are to be considered innocent of all stated misconduct until the Tribunal says otherwise but whom have been indicted to the public by the poor choice of words in the SLPP Press Statement.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.