23 June 2004

Sierra Leone: Supreme Court Rules Ernest Koroma No Longer APC Leader

Freetown — The Supreme Court Tuesday handed down a ruling which in effect means; Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma is no longer leader of the opposition, All Peoples Congress (APC).

The original Plaintiff, John S. Yambasu (who later backed out) and three others had sought legal redress against Koroma and five others regarding declarations in pursuance of section 122, 124(1) and 175(15) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 (Act. No. 6 of 1991).

Key issues which the plaintiff had challenged were; the leadership of Koroma which they wanted declared null and void and that the APC constitution amended and approved by the APC National Delegate conference in 2002 was in contravention of Articles 6 and 16 of the party's 1995 constititution.

They further challenged the changing of the party's leadership status from National Party Chairman/ Leader and National Deputy Party Chairman to those of 'National Party Chairman' and National Deputy Party Chairman.

The Supreme Court therefore ruled that the 1995 and not the 2002 constitution is the current and valid document and that the latter (Exhibit 3), "had failed to conform to democratic principles as enshrined in sect. 35 (2) of the National Constitution and Section 11(2) (a) (III) of the Political Parties Act 2002 and that by virtue of the forgoing the said Exhibit 3 is void and of no effect." It was also stressed that whatever was done under or in pursuance of the amended constitution approved at the Delegates Conference held between 22nd and 24th March 2002, "is illegal and void ab initio." Based on the ruling, Hon. Victor Chukuma Johnson , by virtue of the 1995 constitution should take up the leadership of the party.

APC Scribe, reacting to the development said, it is now time all the various factions of the party came together to iron their differences and continue as a United Force.

A key opponent to Ernest Koroma is Hon Eddie Turay who told Concord Times that he could not comment on the ruling since he was yet to read it.

However, he had earlier called for unity, "once Ernest realizes his mistake."

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