Sierra Leone on the brink of collapse
Dramatic and unprecedented rulings by two High Court judges in Sierra Leone today have disqualified 10 opposition APC party parliamentarians. Nine of their seats have automatically gone to the ruling SLPP party with one to be rerun.
It followed petitions by the ruling party against 16 of them on allegations of rigging, violence and receiving salaries from the consolidated revenue fund less than a year to the March 2018 elections.
A lawyer defending the disqualified MPs, Africanus Sesay, told me that they would appeal the decisions of the judges as well as go to the Supreme Court to argue that the courts lacked the jurisdiction to rule because the four-month period within which to do so had elapsed.
Lawyer for the ruling party, Musa Mewa says the rulings are “partially satisfactory”. On the matter of the four-month period having elapsed, he said that was a non-issue because lawyers for the opposition had raised preliminary objections which had dragged the case.
With today’s ruling, and as things stand, the SLPP have 58 seats, the APC 57 with two by-elections due to the rerun ordered today and a deceased MP. NGC party has four seats, and C4C has 8. There are also 14 traditional leaders representing the 14 geographical districts.
Meanwhile the APC say that 33 petitions they filed against the SLPP have still not been listed for hearing.
As at present, there is unrest all over the city of Freetown. Shops, schools, and offices are all closed down. Police are shooting teargas at the APC party offices, APC Party national publicity secretary was arrested. Live bullets and gas canisters have been firing left and right all over Freetown.
At the APC party headquarters police fire tear gas cannisters and live bullets at APC supporters
APC Party National Publicity Secretary Arrested
Street traders caught up in the violence
Police officer firing into the APC party headquarters in Freetown
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