The SLLP and Christiana Thorpe – What goes around comes around
It bemused me to read in local tabloids about the walk-out of SLPP Parliamentarians on the re-appointment of Dr. Christiana Thorpe as Chairman of the National Electoral Commission. The immediate question that comes to mind is whether the SLPP MPs need a rewind of their cassette on their Parliamentary activities when it comes to approving presidential nominees during their tenure. Letâ€™s start the replay;
The SLPP is on record as the first democratically elected government to bastardise the 1991 constitution with the appointment of Dr. James Jonah as Sierra Leoneâ€™s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and later as Finance Minister, even though the constitution is very clear on such an appointment. Reason; Dr. Jonah was the Chairman of the then Interim National Electoral Commission (INEC) that conducted the controversial 1996 elections which ushered in the SLPP, at the same time accepting a100% voter turnout in Kailahun and Pujehun districts. It therefore clearly contravenes the constitution to appoint such a man who has just conducted the elections which ushered in the very government that appoints him. And with Dr. Jonah accepting such an appointment from the very government that he helped ushered in, lend credence to the national outcry that the elections were deliberately rigged by Jonah to have his one time UN colleague elected as president-SLPP constitutional crime number one.
The SLPP is on record to have forced the resignation of Eugene Davies, because the executive arm of the government insisted that the 2004 Local Council seat in the Koya Chiefdom must be given to Abdul Sultan Kamara (SLPP candidate) even though he woefully lost to the APC candidate, T.K. Mahmoud.
Mr. Eugene Davies resigned on matters of principles as Chairman of NEC because of the blatant disregard and manipulation of electoral laws by the SLPP-Crime number two.
Eugene Daviesâ€™ predecessor, Walter Nicol, a man with tainted police record, was totally rejected by the then parliamentary opposition parties as incapable of conducting a credible election scheduled for 2002. The SLPP, desperate to have a second term, damned the opposition and went ahead to approve Walter Nicol as Chief Electoral Commissioner and National Returning Officer for the 2002 Parliamentary and Presidential elections.
As predicted by the opposition, the 2002 elections emerged to be the most controversial elections ever held in modern times. Walter Nicol is on record as the only Electoral Commissioner to have accepted a 105% and 110% voter turnout in parts of the South and Eastern provinces. The SLPP won the elections with an unimaginable number of votes in the South and East. That was SLPP at work-Crime number three
Chernor Ojuku Sesay
Most glaring of all SLPP damning of the national constitution was the appointment of Kanji Daramy as the first Executive Director of the National Telecommunications Commission (NaTCOM).
It was the very SLPP government that instituted a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the financial mess at the Sierra Leone Post Office (SALPOST) where Kanji Daramy was heading as Managing Director. The Commission completed its work and submitted its findings and recommendations to the then SLPP government. A White Paper was subsequently issued by the same SLPP government, accepting the report and its recommendations, one of which was that Kanji Daramy should not hold any public office for life.
Few years later, the same Daramy was appointed Presidential Spokesman and later nominated for the post of Executive Director of NaTCOM by the same SLPP. When the time came for Kanji Daramy to be approved by Parliament, the APC Parliamentarians, led by the then Opposition Leader and now President Ernest Bai Koroma, unanimously staged a walkout from Parliament, insisting that they cannot be a party to approve a man whoâ€™d already been implicated by the same government. The SLPP damned the opposition walkout and went ahead to approve Kanji Daramy- Crime number four.
These are just few examples of how the SLPP messed up the constitution and did everything to ensure that what they wanted, happened. It is therefore extremely ironical and preposterous for anyone to compare the issue on the approval of Christiana Thorpe by the APC MPs, to that of SLPP whose record on constitutional matters is abysmal to say the least.
After all, Dr. Christiana Thorpe is on record as the most credible Electoral Commissioner ever in the political history of our country with so many accolades poured on her from renowned world leaders and institutions like the Carter Foundation, ECOWAS, Bill Clinton etc.
The SLPP must be proud that it was their party that appointed Christiana Thorpe, whose conduct of the 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary elections and 2008 Local Council elections has helped in no small measure to transform the then battered image of our country. Those of us living and working in Europe, at the same time rubbing shoulders with those that matters in decision making in Europe, can testify how the work of one individual by the name of Christiana Thorpe, has contributed greatly to the economic support the country is receiving from this part of the world.
Â It is therefore incumbent on the SLPP to encourage the APC and Christiana Thorpe to continue the path of electoral credibility rather than suspiciously vilifying the APC and Dr. Thorpe to undo the good.
Chernor Ojuku Sesay, Brussels
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