Sunday, April 26, 2015

Political Instability in Sierra Leone

The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), a special consultant to the UN Economic and Social Council, has issued a warning in the wake of the contentious, and potentially unconstitutional, sacking of the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Sam-Sumana.

There are various factors at play, but the most threatening and sticky claim made against the president, Ernest Bai Koroma, is that he has broken the 1995 Constitution - a document that he swore his life to protect. As with anything like this, it is not a straightforward situation. There is a reasoning to argue that the President had not, in fact, acted unconstitutionally as the vice-president was dropped from the party by the president, and could not hold the office without membership to the All People’s Congress party at the time. This is something that will be decided by the Supreme Court of Sierra Loene. The opposition party, the Sierra Leone People’s Party, have their own agenda in causing the instability and smearing of the President. They are spreading their version of events and organising demonstrations to corral their voters in advance of the 2017 elections.

Regardless of the political tactics, there is general discontentment and fear within the public that the President has overstepped his mark, and is in danger of eroding the Consitutional rule of law that marked such a significant step forwards after the brutal civil war. This is certainly a dangerous precedent to set in a political system so immature and early in it’s developmental stages.

Rather than summarising a very concise and informative piece, I have included a link to the full article below. I will leave you, however, with the Conclusion:

“Political tension in Sierra Leone continues to rise amid a worrying hike in the number of new Ebola cases. The current political context threatens the fragile peace and security of Sierra Leone's emerging democracy, amidst the complex Ebola emergency. The expulsion of Alhaji Sam-Sumana from the APC and subsequent dismissal as vice president has stirred immense confusion in the country with reference to the 1991 constitution that stipulate the dismissal of a vice president with two-third votes of the parliament. However, the constitution also requires that the office holder should belong to a registered political party. In the light of this and the pending case at the Supreme Court, citizens are hopeful that the Court delivers a win-win verdict that clearly reflects the provisions of the constitution. This is imperative to prevent the country from plunging into further chaos.”

We will keep you informed of any developments in this matter, and the outcome of the Supreme Court case.

For the full article, please visit this link.

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