The main opposition All People Congress (APC) has in a statement issued last night rejected the newly appointed National Electoral Commission (NEC) chief, Mohamed Kenewui Konneh, the current head of the Financial Intelligence Unit(FIU).
The statement signed by the party's National Secretary General, Ambassador Osman Foday Yansaneh confirmed that by a letter dated 13th July 2020, the Secretary to the President, Dr. Julius Sandy, forwarded the Curriculum Vitae (CV) of Mr. Konneh to the APC informing them that the latter would be the proposed nominee of His President Bio to fill the vacant position of Chairman of NEC.
The APC party says it replied in a letter dated 15th July 2020 acknowledging receipt of the CV of the nominee and informed the Secretary to the President that the party will get back to them as soon as possible.
The main opposition party further says it followed that up with text messages requesting to meet with the president and present the party's position to him, but couldn't get any reply.
The statement continues that after series of consultations with the party's political and legal structures they came to the conclusion that the nominee is not qualified to hold that position.
"After consultations within our party we forwarded a letter to the Secretary to the President on the 16 July 2020 informing His Excellency the President that after due consultation with the political and legal structures of the party, the APC is of the considered view that the proposed Commissioner of NEC, Mr. Mohamed Konneh, stands disqualified given that he did not meet the conditions precedent as set out in Section 32(4)(a)&(b) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone as he is a "Public Officer" and not on the Register of Electors," the statement reads.
The party insisted that Mr. Konneh is disqualified as he is not qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament because his name is not on the register of electors as required by Section 75 (b) of the 1991 Constitution and that he is equally disqualified under Section 76(b) from being elected as a Member of Parliament as he is a "public officer" currently employ at the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) as its Director.
"Similarly, Section 32(4) (b) of the 1991 Constitution prohibits public officers from being appointed as member of the Electoral Commission," the stamen added.
The main opposition party scribe added that his party also took due cognisant of Section 171(4) of the constitution, but they are satisfied that Mr. Konneh doesn't fall within the exemptions contemplated therein in view of the High Court rulings in election petition matters involving Suliama Marray Conteh as petitioner and Osman Timbo as respondent before the Hon. Justice Komba Kamanda (J).
"The APC is surprised that instead of engaging the party further on the issues raised by our letter of the 16th July 2020 and do proper consultations pursuant to section 32 (3) of the 1991 Constitution, the President proceeded to appoint Mr. Mohamed Konneh as Commissioner of NEC. Let there be no doubt that the position of the APC is that Mr. Mohamed Konneh is disqualified to be appointed Commissioner of NEC and further that the party stands ready to institute legal proceedings to enforce strict adherence to the provisions of the 1991 Constitution,"
Meanwhile, if the newly appointed NEC chief sails through parliament, he would replace Mohamed N'fa Alie who presided over the 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections.