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Sierra Leone opposition in court today over election result

Maada Bio

The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone has notified the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party about the possible commencement on Wednesday 17 April 2013 of the long awaited 2012 petition of the electoral process that returned the APC government.

On Friday 30 November, 2012 lawyers for the SLPP sent in their application just four days after the results were announced but within the seven-day deadline given by the National Electoral Commission, NEC, to do so.

They asked the Supreme Court, among other things, to declare “that the election of Ernest Bai Koroma, APC, was not valid and therefore he was and is not duly elected as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone; and that the Supreme Court directs that another Presidential Election be held within 1 month from date of above Order.”

Chairman, John Oponjo Benjamin, and secretary general, Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie, have both confirmed to Politico that their case against the decision of NEC was finally going to be heard after nearly five months since their submission.

When asked why it took the court this long to hear the case, Mr. Benjamin said in telephone interview that it was largely due to the “incompetence” of the judiciary as cases of such nature should have been “adjudicated as was done in countries like Ghana and Kenya whose elections took place after ours in Sierra Leone.”

He, however, declined to comment on allegations of government interference in the matter but stated that “the judiciary ought to be independent.”

He said one of the reasons the case was going to be heard now could be attributed to efforts made by the media.He also mentioned a case that involved the detention of their party loyalists, claiming that the court has “unnecessarily refused to release them.”

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