One thing about opposition elements and their dissident newspapers is that they are almost always in the wrong whenever it comes to the interpretation of the laws of Sierra Leone and the analyses of most important matters. As Dryden says of Thomas Shadwell , the poet he lampoons in Mac Flecknoe, :
“The rest to some faint meaning make pretence,
But Shadwell never deviates into sense.”
Indeed, other people try a lot to be on the money with their interpretation of the law and analyses of important issues in the land, but the opposition and their media never deviate into sense. This may be too harsh a commentary on the opposition and the dissident media, but what else can one say ?
The last time, it was the Sam Sumana issue. With a rush of blood to the head, they refused to read and understand the constitutional provision that the president has powers to remove his Vice-President under section 40 “since the requirement on section 41 is continuous” ( as ruled later by the Supreme Court , which held that Sections 40 and 41 of the constitution mandate the president to relieve the Vice President of his post in a situation in which the latter ceases to meet the requirements to hold the office of Vice President ).
They went ballistic and accused President Koroma falsely of violating the constitution when he applied Sections 40 and 41 it in the case of former VP, Sam Sumana, who had lost the requirements to continue to hold office. They incited rabid opposition SLPP hooligans in the diaspora to misbehave on the president during his trips to the U.S. last year, only for the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court, to prove them wrong later.
They have done it again in the case of the suspension of the Mayor of Kono, Mr. Saar Emerson Lamina, by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Madam Diana Konomanyi. Without first trying to read and understand the relevant portions in the Local Government Act, the opposition and its media have been having a field day, accusing the government once again of fiddling with the law . But the Ministry of Local Government did go by the law to suspend the Mayor and his deputy .
THIS IS WHAT THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW SAYS :
THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 2004:
PART XIV–RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE MINISTRY
97. (1) The Ministry shall inspect and monitor the activities of every local council to ensure that it acts within the scope of this Act or any other relevant enactment.
(2) A local council shall provide the Ministry with such documents as may be needed by the Ministry in the inspection and monitoring of the activities of the council.
(3) Subject to any other enactment, an authorised person carrying out the inspection shall have powers–
(a) to enter and inspect the premises or property of any Council as may be relevant to the
(b) to inspect books of accounts, records, stores, and any other documents and require any person to produce any documents or item connected with the inspection and where necessary retain any document or item connected with the case being investigated;
(c) to look into any matter on his own initiative or upon complaint made to him by any member of the public, whether or not that person has personally suffered any injustice by reason of that matter.
(4) If the Ministry finds that a local council is not performing adequately within its areas of responsibility, it shall decide–
(a) the reason for the default;
(b) how the default can be rectified;
(c ) the type of action or intervention that is needed; and
(d) on any support or capacity building that must be given to the council to strengthen its management in order for the council to exercise its functions and powers properly.
(5) The Ministry may, for the purpose of rectifying the default in writing direct or advice the local council to perform such of its functions in such manner and within such time as it may specify.
(6) Where the local council does not have the capacity to rectify the default, the Ministry shall undertake the functions on the Council’s behalf and take immediate steps to develop the necessary capacity of the council and may for this purpose consult any Government Ministry or Department.
(7) Where a local council fails or refuses to rectify a default within ninety days, the Minister may reduce or withhold any grants or funds due to the local council until the Minister is satisfied that the function or service will be provided adequately.
(8) The Minister shall communicate any action taken under subsection (1) and the reason for such action to the people in the locality.
To avoid continuing to embarrass themselves , it is advised that the opposition and its media take their time to read and understand the laws of the land whenever they are applied by the Government. It has become apparent that the Ernest Koroma Government understands the constitution and the laws of the land better than the opposition and the anti-government media . One cannot help wondering whether the fact is that people just do not read or their comprehension is low.
We, as a newspaper , would like to see government and feuding politicians mend fences in Kono , but that will come in our next editorial.
Kono is a very important stronghold of the ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) and the party cannot afford to have its base split .