Progressive opposition parties in Parliament have kicked against spoken with dictatorial excesses of the ruling SLPP government and their persistent violations of the Constitution.
In a statement issued today against the imposition of Mrs Zainab Morseray as electoral commissioner for Western region, the opposition recalled that on the 16th of September 2021, we the members of the Consortium of Progressive Political Parties (COPPP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which we declared as our main aim, “to defend democracy in Sierra Leone and to vigorously oppose all types of political oppression, intimidation and authoritarian tendencies.
” The Consortium further agreed to instruct their representatives in Parliament to consult and agree on common positions to be taken on items listed on the Order Paper because “it is important that the Consortium is working and seen to be working as a united front in Parliament.”
“This is why we are here today to stand by our members of Parliament who have responded to our call to condemn the imposition of Mrs. Zainab Morseray as Commissioner for the Western Region at the National Electoral Commission (NEC) by staging a peaceful walk out from Parliament.
“This action today is a signal to the Government that the people of Sierra Leone have simply had enough. The people are aware of the irregular and undemocratic manner in which the Speaker was imposed on our Parliament. The people are aware of how elected opposition Members of Parliament were physically thrown out of Parliament to be replaced by SLPP Members, not through bye election but by court decision. The people are aware that contrary to the provisions of section 32 subsection (3) of the 1991 Constitution which stipulates that members of the Electoral Commission shall be appointed “after consultation with the leaders of all registered political parties and subject to approval of Parliament,” the Government would either not consult all registered parties or would simply notify them after making the appointment.
” This violation of procedure which provoked a lot of controversy when the current Chief Electoral Commissioner was being appointed is again being repeated with the imposition of Mrs. Zainab Morseray.
Had the political parties been consulted the President would have had the opportunity to know the reasons why over 50% of registered political parties in Sierra Leone consider Mrs. Morseray to be most unsuitable for a position at the Electoral Commission. Political parties are in a better position to assess Mrs. Morseray’s suitability having interacted with her for nearly a decade at the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC).
“Throughout her carrier at the PPRC, she worked only in an acting capacity because two successive regimes, APC and SLPP, could not be convinced of her reliability and ability to hold the substantive position of Registrar of the Commission. Indeed, the roots of most of the divisions and conflicts that are besetting some opposition political parties today have been traced to her manipulations and machinations in the service of the ruling party. In the period between the demise of the former Chairman of the PPRC, Justice Hamilton and the appointment of the current Chairman, she completely bypassed the authority of the NEC Chairman who is ex-officio Member of the PPRC and set up an empire of her own, creating bank accounts, designating signatories and embarking on projects.
” During the same period, questions were raised over her integrity that led the All Political Parties Association (APPA) at the time to approach the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) with a request for investigation into her activities.
“You will all agree that the position of Commissioner at NEC is of such a sensitive nature and has such implications for the integrity of our electoral processes and our democracy that it is extremely risky and suspicious for Government to be insisting on”, the statement concluded.
By Mohammed Farouk