11 October 2012

Sierra Leone: NDA Out of Nov. Polls

Embattled National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will not field a presidential candidate for the November 17 elections as the party missed out on the National Electoral Commission (NEC) deadline for all registered parties to present and approve the nomination of their flag-bearers and running-mates.

This is as a result of an ongoing court case between a disgruntled NDA presidential candidate, Mohamed Pateh Bah, and the party's endorsed presidential flag-bearer, Musidal Wurie Jalloh, which was yesterday adjourned to Monday October 15 by the presiding judge of High Court No. 2, Justice Abdulai Charm.

Pateh Bah, who was expelled from the party on the 9th of September, sued Musidal Jalloh along with the party's secretary general, Mohammed Jalloh and its national chairman, Sylvester Kanyako, on the pretext that his expulsion and the selection of Musidal Jalloh as the party's flag-bearer were unconstitutional.

Though Justice Charm told the court that he would give his ruling on the next adjourned date and that he would also write an order to NEC for an extension of its nomination process period, it is not clear whether the electoral body will shift its Sunday October 14th deadline as laid down in its timeline for the November 17 elections.

Defence lawyer, Bu-Buakei Jabbi, pleaded with the judge to lift the interim injunction as his clients were to be nominated yesterday. He submitted that the interim injunction sought by the plaintiff is an issue involving a registered political party which is sponsoring a candidate for the presidential election.

I submit that the interim injunction being sought in the plaintiff's notice of motion are themselves issues involving a registered political party sponsoring its candidate for presidential election thereby invoking implicitly or otherwise as derived in Section 25(1) of the Public Election Act, Jabbi said.

He added that the "injunction is pre-maturely challenging the prospective nomination of a presidential candidate of the party" and that "provisions are made for objections to nomination only in Section 47 of the Public Election Act" which provides that such objections should be made in the Supreme Court.

However, prosecution lawyer, Leon Jenkins Jr, told journalists outside the courtroom that the objection raised by the defence team is premature and should have been done in writing. He said the case remains stranded in the court until a verdict is passed.

It is worthy of note that as the legal tussle ensues, the party's nomination of candidates for the parliamentary election was yesterday held successfully at the National Stadium in Freetown.

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