By Sorie Fofana.
Section 29 (2) (d) of the 1991 Constitution of the Republic of Sierra Leone states that, “The President may issue a proclamation of a State of Emergency only if there is an occurrence of any disaster or national calamity affecting the community or a section of the community in Sierra Leone”.
The landslide and flooding that occurred in some communities in and around Freetown left over four hundred and fifty people dead and about six hundred people unaccounted for. The Government is seriously addressing the needs of those affected by the August 14 calamity.
All along, some sympathizers of this Government have been calling on the President to prolong his stay in office beyond 7th March, 2018. The ruling party is in disarray. They have postponed indefinitely their national delegates’ conference, where the party’s flag bearer would have been elected/selected.
The President has no succession plan. He has put himself in a very difficult position now. He no longer trusts some of his trusted political allies. Some, if not most of them have let him down on many occasions.
What is important to President Koroma now, and what worries him most is, life after the Presidency. Who will protect him and his investments after he leaves office in March 2018?
If the President decides to postpone the March 7, 2018 elections, it will lead to tension in the country. And a lot of unintended consequences would flow from that ill- advised decision.
As it is now, there is no need and justification for the President to proclaim a State of Emergency in the country. He should allow the March 7, 2018 elections to go ahead and ensure that, a level playing field is created for all aspiring candidates.
President Koroma would have settled the infighting within this party if he had groomed a successor long before now. That would have taken place immediately after he sacked VP Sam Sumana.
But since he had no succession plan, he allowed a total of at least six people, within his party, to come out openly and declare their intentions to succeed him. Now, he has lost control over who succeeds him in the party. That is unfortunate for a man who has been at the helm of affairs in his party and the country for the past nine years.
We still believe that, there is no justification whatsoever for the President to proclaim a State of Emergency in the country after the August 14 disaster.
President Koroma should allow the elections to go ahead as scheduled. He should make no attempt, either directly or indirectly to postpone the pending Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council elections. A stitch in time saves nine!
May common sense prevail!