The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone yesterday handed down the long awaited judgment in the matter between Ambassador Alie Essa Bangura versus Chief Somanoh Kapen and others.
The five Judges unanimously rejected the first relief sought by Ambassador Bangura and other petitioners viz a viz the nullification of the 2013 national delegates elections of the opposition SLPP on the grounds that they were “undemocratic, unconstitutional and otherwise improper” and the conduct thereof of fresh elections.
Ambassador Bangura who contested and lost the position of National Chairman and Leader of the SLPP to his only challenger, Chief Kapen in that delegates conference in Bo, led other losers to court to contest the outcome of the elections and to demand their rerun pointing at gross irregularities.
But the Supreme Court Judges refused to grant that relief on the grounds that it will not serve any useful purpose but also that the plaintiff failed to persuade the court on irregularities he claimed.
The Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Hon. Valicious Thomas said that although the election process was undemocratic it did not adversely affect the outcome of the election results.
Justice Thomas said declaring the elections null and void now will not serve any useful purpose. He admonished the SLPP however to treat very seriously the issue of free and transparent election for peace to prevail in the party.
Justice Thomas observed in his ruling that the Independent Electoral Board (IEB) allowed itself to be manipulated by the SLPP Secretary General, Lawyer Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie.
In his ruling, Justice Eku Roberts said although the plaintiff was well aware of the defects before the election, he was unable to persuade him that those irregularities he claimed in his petition were serious enough to warrant the cancellation of the election.
Justice Roberts recalled that even though Mr. Bangura listed the names of twenty delegates who were voted for in that election, he could only submit affidavits for three delegates before the court. In other words, he said, the plaintiff was unable to shift the burden of proof that the elections were manipulated to the defence which would warrant annulment.
Meanwhile, at the SLPP headquarters in Freetown yesterday, party supporters were thrown in to wild jubilation following the court verdict which they described as victory for common sense.
Supporters expressed the hope that the end of the court case will mark the beginning of lasting peace which has eluded the main opposition since the 2013 delegates conference in Bo.