October 1, 2022

Last Tuesday’s voting in parliament to approve the Chief Electoral Commissioner (CEC) marks one of the greatest fatal blunders of the main opposition, All People’s Congress (APC).

The public especially supporters were struck to see APC participating in a voting process of an appointment they initially bitterly opposed.

Their participation has made APC to be viewed as a party struggling with leadership deficiency owing to inconsistencies of their actions.

It is the view of many Sierra Leoneans that as long as the party is opposed to the appointment, they should not take part in any process to approve.

APC’s participation in the voting process in parliament to approve the CEC, Mohamed Konneh tacitly portrays the willingness to accept the outcome.

The outcome is here as Mohamed Konneh has emerged a larger man, the CEC for the 2022 and 2023 multi-tier elections.

Konneh was appointed CEC by President Julius Maada Bio last month followed by an unprecedented controversy.

APC’s bitter opposition to the appointment revolve around lack of consultation on the part of government.

The main opposition alleged that they were not consulted as lawfully provided by the constitution.

No gainsaying that they discountenance Konneh’s appointment as CEC from the outset and vowed not to take part in any process regarding the appointment.

The APC members of parliament voted to reverse the appointment of Mohamed Konneh, but failed to secure the number to achieve their objective.

Now, Mohamed Konneh has got the parliamentary endorsement that will see him at the helm of NEC, a move that did not go down well with the main opposition.

As the APC has been defeated in parliament, the last option is to seek redress in court to assess the constitutionality of the appointment.

The fundamental question is: Why did the APC participate in the vote to approve Mohamed Konneh?

The answer is left in the hands of  the APC executive.

Nonetheless, it is naive for any person to participate in an illegal process hoping to challenge it later.

The APC did the same blunder in 2018 on the eve of setting up a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate activities of the past government especially management of state resources.

The APC was also bitterly opposed to the formation of COI on the basis that it lacked legality.

The APC strongly argued that there must be rules of evidence as provided in section 150 of the constitution.

The constitution states clearly that the rules of evidence must be brought to parliament in the form of a constitutional instrument which must be approved through a voting process.

But, some legal luminaries argue that the submission of the rules of evidence is not a condition precedent.

The legal argument implies that the COI must be existence prior to the submission of the rules.

However, APC’s position was; they will never accept the COI in the absence of rules to regulate the procedure of COI’s proceedings.

The party fatally blundered by taking part in a voting process to approve the COI with the hope of successfully challenging it in the court.

The APC after the votes could not get the two-third majority to nullify the COI although they secure the highest number.

The party took the matter to the Supreme Court to contest the COI legality.

To date the case is yet to be stated for hearing at the country’s highest court which enjoys the sole authority to interpret the constitution.

The COI came into existence after the APC failed to foil government’s plan in parliament and in the court.

The only option left to the APC is non-cooperation with COI, an institution the party   referred to as “Kangaroo-styled.”

Erstwhile APC spokesman, Cornelius Deveaux made it clear that the party would not submit any of their officers to COI owing to its illegality.

“We APC will never submit to any form of unconstitutionality,” the statement is Deveaux’s most favourite.

In this case, former APC ministers and their deputies will not appear before the COI either as witnesses or persons of interest.

It is an established principle that institutions almost always speak through their spokespersons.

In this case, it wise to say APC at that time spoke through its Spokesman, Deveaux who took a rough stance of non-cooperation.

The APC spokesman even threatened to shut down the state instead of bowing to unconstitutionality.

However, Deveaux was let down when some APC ministers like Dr Sylvia Blyden appeared before the COI where she defended herself.

Now a ‘white Paper’ is pending, and will surely come out.

It is one of the potent weapons SLPP would not hesitate to use to destabilise APC in the not-too-distant future.

APC’s hopes of challenging the ‘White Paper’ in court would be one of the biggest frailties in light of the nature of the country’s judiciary.

It is the view of Sierra Leoneans that one should accept an outcome of a process they genuinely participate in under fair and transparent manner.

The stunning lesson that runs through this peace is APC’s inclination to seek redress in the courts portrays it as a party clueless of the judiciary they inherited, nurtured and left behind.

Until APC gets strong and wise leadership, they will always live to learn great lessons in its political existence.