From the Editor’s Keyboard

SLPP-PMDC Dombolo

22 June 2006 at 11:15 | 363 views

What promises to be a major constitutional and legal battle between the ruling SLPP government and the the PMDC is brewing and churning with both sides eyeing each other and keeping their battle strategies close to their chest. PMDC fired the first salvo last week when they blasted a petition challenging the constitutionality of having a vice president who is at the same time a political party leader.The petition was addressed to the chairman of the political parties commission Justice Timbo. The SLPP has not yet made a public statement on the issue as far as we know. SLPP stalwarts contacted by the Vanguard have so far refused to comment on the issue. What are they planning? We will soon know.
Why did the PMDC launch this attack, have they any chance of winning this apparently tough fight? Time will tell. Please read the entire petition below:

PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT FOR
DEMOCRATIC CHANGE
NATIONAL SECRETARIAT
9A Hannah Benka-Coker
Street - Freetown Web-site: www.pmdc.com e- mail:pmdc@yahoo.com

Friday June 16th 2006
The Chairman,
Political Parties Registration Commission,
C/o Roxy Building,
Walpole Street,
FREETOWN.

Dear Mr. Chairman,

RE: PETITIONING UNDER SECTIONS 6(1) (2a) 2(e), 14(1) & 27(1)(b) OF THE POLITICAL PARTIES ACT NO. 3 OF 2002 (AS AMENDED) AND SECTIONS 35(4) & 76(1)(h) OF ACT NO. 6 OF 1991.

On the behalf of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change, I hereby petition the eligibility of Mr. Solomon Ekuma Berewa as Leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Party whilst holding the office of Vice-President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

Section 6(1) of Act No.3 of 2002 (As Amended) provides: -
“The object for which the Commission is established is the registration and supervision of the conduct of Political Parties in accordance with the Constitution and this Act.”
Section 6(2a) provides: - Section 6(2) - without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), it shall be the function of the Commission

(a) “to monitor the affairs or conduct of Political Parties so as to ensure their compliance with the Constitution, this Act and with the terms and conditions of their registration.”
(e) “to do all such things as will contribute to the attainment of the object stated in subsection (1).”
Section 14(1) of the Political Parties Act No.3 of 2002 (As Amended) provides: -

“A Political Party shall not have as a founding member or as a leader of the party or a member of its executive body whether national or otherwise, a person who is not qualified to be elected as a member of Parliament under the Constitution.”
- 2-
Section 35(4) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No.6 of 1991 provides: -

“No Political Party shall have as a Leader a person who is not qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament.”
Section 76(1) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No.6 of 1991 provides: -
No person shall be qualified for election as a Member of Parliament

Section 76(1)(h) “if he is for the time being the president, the vice-president, a Minister or a Deputy Minister under the provisions of this Constitution”.
The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) is a registered Political Party in Sierra Leone.
The People’s Movement for Democratic Change (P.M.D.C.) is a registered Political Party in Sierra Leone.

The Leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Party is Mr. Solomon Ekuma Berewa who incidentally is the Vice-President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and was such when on the 4th day of September, 2005 he was elected leader of the said party at a convention held in Makeni.
This petition seeks to have determined whether in the light of the aforesaid provisions of Section 14(1) of the Political Parties Act No.3 of 2002 (As Amended) and sections 35(4) & 76(1)(h) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No.6 of 1991, Mr. Solomon Ekuma Berewa as Vice-President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (S.L.P.P.) is not contravening the aforementioned provisions.

It is further submitted that if the answer to the preceding paragraph is in the affirmative, then, your petitioner requests that immediate steps be taken to invoke the provisions of section 27(1)(b) of Act No.3 of 2002 (As Amended) in conformity with the spirit and intendment of section 6(1), (2a) & (2e) of the said Act.
Section 27(1)(b) of Act No.3 of 2002 (As Amended) provides: -

“Without prejudice to any other penalty prescribed by this Act or any other enactment, the Commission may apply to the Supreme Court for an Order to cancel the registration of any Political Party where that Party has contravened any provision of the Constitution or this Act”

Faithfully submitted,
ANSU B. LANSANA
INTERIM SECRETARY-GENERAL (PMDC)

CC:
The Chairman
National Electoral Commission
The Diplomatic Corps
The Chairman
Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP)

4. Mr. Solomon Ekuma Berewa

5. The All Political Parties Association
6. The Chairman
All People’s Congress (APC)
7. The Chairman
People’s Democratic Party (PDP)
8. The Chairman
United National People’s Party (UNPP)
9. The Chairman
National Democratic Alliance (NDA)
10. The PresidentSierra Leone Association of Journalists
11. Civil Society Organisations

Photo:Vice President Solomon Berewa, the man at the centre of the "dombolo" (big fight).

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