PPRC damns PMDC petition: Clears Berewa for 2007 election

Abdul Karim Koroma

The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) Friday damned the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) petition ruling that Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) leader and Vice President Solomon Ekuman Berewa is qualified to contest for the office of the president while he is still Vice President of Sierra Leone.

The ruling was communicated in a letter dated 21 July, 2006 and singed by the Commission’s three Commissioners – R.A Ceaser, M.B. Williams and C.A. Thorpe- and addressed to the Interim Secretary General of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC).“As an ordinary citizen, Solomon Ekuma Berewa is qualified to become a member of parliament. But while serving as Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, he cannot become a member of parliament at the same time,” the ruling states and continued, “ this is so because of the existence of the separation of powers; as no one individual citizen can become a member of any two or all three arms of government simultaneously, that is the Legislature which comprises the Speaker of Parliament and Members of Parliament, the Executive comprising the President, Vice President and Cabinet, the judiciary comprising the Chief Justice and members of the Superior Court of Judicature.”The letter maintained that “because of the aforementioned, the PPRC is of the view that Berewa is qualified to contest for the office of the presidency of the republic of Sierra Leone .”

The PMDC had written a letter of petition on 16 th June citing Section 6(1) (2a) 2(e), 14 (1) & 76 (1)(h) of ActNo. 6 of 1991.The PMDC petition emphasized strongly Section 14(1) of the Political Parties Act No. 3 of 2002 (As amended) which provides:- “A political Party shall not have as a founding member or as a leader of the party or a member of its executive body whether national or otherwise, a person who is not qualified to be elected as a member of parliament under the constitution;” and Section 35(4) of the constitution of Sierra Leone Act No. 6 0f 1991 which states “no political party should have as a leader a person who is not qualified to be elected as Member of Parliament;” and Section 76 (1) (h) which states no person shall be qualified for election as a Member of Parliament “if he is for the time being the President, the Vice President, a Minister or a Deputy Minister under the provisions of this constitution.” Vice President Berewa on his part had responded to the petition in a longish letter dated 30 th June stating among other things that “…there is no merit whatsoever in that (PMDC) petition and that it has been filed only for the purpose of confusing the electorate and also to allow the PMDC to escape from the arduous and impossible task it now has to win the electorate to its side.”

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