A Commentary By Sheikh M. Bawoh.
Not even the defection of the former UNIDO boss, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella from the main opposition Sierra Leone’s People’s Party (SLPP) could be as destructive as the award of party symbols portends if proper checks and balances are not introduced to stem the rapaciousness of the party’s administrative leadership.
Dr. Yumkella’s defection from the SLPP left a scar perhaps too faint to recognize, but any bruise resulting from a faulty and/or crooked award of party symbols would leave such a huge blot on the SLPP’s image and overarching objective of taking State House in 2018 with a majority in Parliament as to make this mission impossible.
Manipulating the process therefore is a recipe for chaos, an own goal that will cement the party’s position in opposition for the foreseeable future.
Clause 4 (F) (6) of the SLPP Constitution 1995 (as amended)leaves no one in any doubt as to how Party symbols are awarded in the party. It reads:
“Each constituency shall elect a candidate to represent the electorate at general, local and bye elections under the supervision of the district and shall notify the National Executive Council of its candidate for adoption by the national ticket”.
Thus, without a scintilla of doubt, the Constitution of the SLPP vests the power and authority to award symbols to prospective candidates of the Party for both Parliamentary and Local Council elections to the Constituency which it is under a duty to exercise by way of an election.
This means only the Constituency can make the award by election or at least it must retain the preponderance of power to award the symbol. It also means that in the present structure of the specified organs of the party, it is the organs of decision-making within the constituency that must be given the preponderance of power compared to any other organs outside of the constituency. By implication this points to the party executives in the sections/zones, chiefdoms and the constituency itself. If any powers are given to any other organs outside of this, it must not override the powers of the party organs within the constituency.
Anything that compromises or undermines this is not only unconstitutional but could open up the floodgates to litigation reminiscent of the flurry of litigations recently witnessed during the party’s lower level elections.
Stakeholders must therefore ensure that the Party strictly follows this particular rule of the game to avoid further unnecessary and unwarranted political and legal wrangling that could threaten the party’s prospects in the polls.
As stated earlier, key to Maada Bio’s winning the Presidency with a majority in Parliament is the strict adherence to the rule of law and in this regard the constitutional provisions contained in Clause 4 (F) (6) stated above.
Rumors abound that some people in administrative authority of the Party intend to circumvent this laid down prescription and have been making all sorts of promises to prospective candidates because of their insatiable thirst for money. They must be stopped now by the Presidential candidate before it’s too late.
After all, the underlying objective of the symbol award process is to identify the man of the people, not the man who offers the biggest brown envelope.
That practice belongs to the dark ages of history. A word for the wise is sufficient! And a stitch in time saves nine!
A Commentary By Sheikh M. Bawoh.