Salone News

SLPP, PMDC Fight for Hinga Norman

7 September 2006 at 02:55 | 517 views

By Alfred Munda SamForay

The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone in the matter of Norman versus SLPP, Jah, Saffa and Carew will on Thursday September 7 give its long-awaited ruling on the preliminary motion filed by Counsel for former Regent Chief Samuel Hinga Norman(photo).

The court presently has before it two motions: The preliminary motion asks the court to declare whether Mr. Norman has a locus standi before the court. That is whether the high court is the proper venue to hear Norman’s motion. The second motion seeks a declaration to the effect that the September 2005 Party Delegates’ Conference which elected Vice President Solomon Berewa as Party Leader is constitutional under Sections 35.4 and 76.1(h) as well as Section 14.1 of the Political Parties Act.

In September 2005, the Supreme Court, at the request of Mr. Norman through Counsel suspended the SLPP convention and then ruled afterwards that Mr. Norman should first address the matter with the then defunct Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC). Norman later modified his motion and re-filed it arguing that under the 1991 Constitution, only the Supreme Court can hear alleged violations of the constitution. Section 127.1 of the constitution states:

127. (1) A person who alleges that an enactment or anything contained in or done under the authority of that or any other enactment is inconsistent with, or is in contravention of a provision of this Constitution, may at any time bring an action in the Supreme Court for a declaration to that effect.

If the court tomorrow determines that it has primary jurisdiction over the matter as alleged by Mr. Norman, the court may then at its election also proceed to rule on the substance of the motion in which Mr. Norman seeks to nullify the election, selection or appointment of Mr. Berewa as Party Leader while simultaneously holding the Office of Vice President contrary to the various sections of the constitution as well as the Political Parties Act. If the court rules that the party is in violation of the constitution, Mr. Norman then seeks a declaration from the high court as to whether Mr. Berewa himself is in violation of his oath of office for accepting the position of Party Leader while occupying the office of Vice President.

Meanwhile, the two main groups vying for the political affections of the Kamajor Movement seemed to have got their bearings entirely wrong and may now be paying a high price for their political miscalculations.

Last week, members of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) challenged the authenticity of a letter written by Mr. Norman to his supporters entitled, Exhortations to the Kamajors. The letter signed by Chief Norman and read to the group by Norman’s Counsel and political adviser, Dr. Bubuakei Jabbi, urged his supporters, among other things, not to join any other political party but to be patient and wait for the ruling by the Supreme Court.

Also vying for the support of the Kamajors are the supporters of Mr. Berewa. Before the meeting of the Kamajors in Bo ten days ago, word must have leaked to Mr. Berewa that Chief Norman was going to announce an endorsement of the Vice President. Mr. Berewa accordingly, made a premature announcement to that effect only to be rebuffed later by the Committee to Elect Hinga Norman.

It appears that both Mr. Berewa and the PMDC have assumed, to their own detriment, that they have the loyalty and support of the Kamajors - a primary political base for both the SLPP and the PMDC. However, neither PMDC leader, Charles Margai, nor Mr. Berewa who negotiated for the so-called special court now trying Mr. Norman and two other Kamajor leaders, Monina Fofana and Alieu Kondewa, have made any meaningful gesture towards Mr. Norman and his colleagues now incarcerated for three and half years.

The Supreme Court motion was filed by Chief Norman in June. The Supreme Court is by law allowed ninety days to rule on motions filed before it and it appears the high court made full use of its allotted time. Mr. Norman is expected to make a final determination on his relationship with the SLPP following the ruling.