SLPP Accused of Manipulating the Judiciary in Sierra Leone
Having been accused of manipulating the Sierra Leone Judiciary in its desperation to get the speakership of the Sierra Leone House of Parliament by fictitiously slamming some foolish court injunctions on sixteen (16) opposition Members of Parliament which consequently prevented them from taking part in the elections of the Speaker and his deputy, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) government is at it again and this time, in a desperate bid to deny the will of the majority of Sierra Leoneans who voted for their various choices of representation in the House of Parliament. (Photo: Head of Judiciary, Chief Justice Babatunde Edwards)
Even after the stipulated time frame during which petition cases are to heard had way elapsed, the SLPP continues to manipulate the Judiciary into continuing illegal proceedings/hearings of the same fictitious petition cases against the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) Members of Parliament while the same judiciary had failed to countenance the petition cases involving thirty two (32) SLPP Members of Parliament.
It could be recalled that one of the main causes of the eleven years civil war in Sierra Leone according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report was largely due to lack of equal justice and the continuous control of the Judiciary by the Executive arm of government.
Twenty-eight years on after that horrible and bloody eleven years war that claimed the lives of over fifty thousand Sierra Leonean compatriots, most of what the judiciary was accused of are still very much prevalent if not becoming worse by the day to say the least.
It is no longer secret that the country’s justice system is in complete comma and hence, nothing to write home about. This is evident in the many accusations of injustice which ordinary citizens continue levy against the judiciary including corruption, unnecessary delays in dispensation of verdicts among others.
The judiciary, especially its head, the Hon. Chief Justice Babatunde Edwards, now stands accused by the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) of being the mouth piece of the ruling government as demonstrated in his statement during the launch of the controversial Commissions of Inquiry and his blatant refusal to get the constitutional matter brought by the APC for interpretation heard.
And more worrying is the gross selective justice which the judiciary has clearly exhibited in the ongoing petition cases against Members of Parliament of the opposition All Peoples Congress.
It could be recalled that in it desperation to fictitiously and illegally gets the speakership of the House of Parliament, the SLPP government clearly manipulated the judiciary into slamming some foolish injunctions on sixteen Members of Parliament from the APC and allowed the SLPP MP’s who were equally petitioned to go scot free.; an act that was totally condemned by the ECOWAS Parliament delegation which came to settle that impasse.
As if that was not enough, the SLPP has since then continued to manipulate the judiciary through the use of those fictitious and illegal petition cases to intimidate the opposition whenever their excesses are being questioned. It has now become a norm that whenever an important national issue arises especially one that has to do with the SLPP’s constitutional abuses and the APC stands against it, the next thing we hear is petition cases.
This situation has become so worrisome that the opposition has now threatened to resist any fictitious verdict the SLPP Pecked judiciary might come up with.
According to the APC, those petition cases are illegal in the first place because they had way elapsed the time frame in which they should be heard. The APC says the constitution clearly stipulates that all petition cases shall be heard within three months and not even day must be added which clearly lend credence to the fact that it is a design and machination from the SLPP to intimidate the opposition and thwart the will of the people.
Political analysts have also condemned the continuous interference of the Executive arm of government into the work of the judiciary; a situation they say if not stopped, may prove disastrous for the peace and stability of the country.
By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara
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