By Musa Ronsho
Using the Sierra Leone judiciary to commandeer the balance of power in the House of Representative in favor of the SLPP minority, has the potential of igniting a political conflict in Sierra Leone. Overturning parliamentary results from about 15 Constituencies would be a gross misuse of the judicial branch of government to marginalize a huge percentage of the voting public. This could mark the tipping point of indirect (but ongoing) tensions since the rise of President Bio to power in April 2018. Reversing the results of 1, 2, or 3 might have an inconsequential effect. But an out-and-out attempt to tilt the lawmaking branch of government the SLPP’s way, would most likely set-off a crisis in the country.
Recent activities of the Executive Branch of Government suggest a concealed pressure to manipulate the judicial bench to do whatever it takes to make the SLPP the majority in parliament. The blistering orders of Bio to the new Judges, has political overtones. One would think with injustice in the land, President Bio was instructing the judges to decide a backlog of cases fairly for the common people. However, the justice Bio is interested in, is the one that will give him an uncompromising power grip on the three arms of government. With the arrest of some judicial officers and various investigations being launched by the ACC against the judiciary, the Bio government is using ‘passive aggression’ to intimidate and achieve its desire in the court of law.
So far, the paopa government seem confident they are untouchable and unstoppable. They hamstrung the parliamentary majority from electing their speaker. Other infractions imply there is no end in sight to what SLPP Bio cannot unfairly and unliterally achieve. They enter bipartisan agreements that only other political parties comply with. Every time, the SLPP abuse power and take advantage of various situations. The party cascades itself as the knight in glaring armor of everything that is just, correct, truthful, good, and perfect for Sierra Leone. However, to achieve a parliamentary majority by eliminating a huge number of opposition MPs, is an approach with prospects of producing unintended results.
If the Courts find MPs guilty of receiving salaries leading up to elections, the Courts must order them to repay the amounts they received with additional fines. This is what justice should dictate, not their removal from parliamentary seats for contests they won. If others guilty of corruption could enter into restitution arrangements with the ACC, why the adverse action of MPs losing their seats? Their removal from parliament to make way for the SLPP candidates is NOT the most suitable resolve; it threatens political stability in the country. Sierra Leoneans have a limit to tolerance. The New Direction should seek to win the hearts and minds of the people by applying fairness in governance.
With widespread illiteracy, the large number of Constitutional experts and scholars baffles me. Usually, the most sacred document of Sierra Leone is brought up for negative reasons. Often it is to entrap political opponents and seldom is it for positive motives. Is it not time we amend our use of the Constitution for nation-building purposes? If other nations focused heavily on using their written laws as an ensnaring instrument, they will forever remain entangled in backwardness as Sierra Leone is. What would it “profit” the SLPP to remove over a dozen APC MPs from Parliament and tip the nation into conflict? Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio should think about this question as his party makes the ominous judicial move to gain a legislative edge.