By Abubakarr Harding
With the Supreme Court judgement on the Proportional Registration Electoral system though it does not in any way have bearing on the Presidential Candidates, but the outcome on the matter has hampered the bid of one of the country’s finest Economists, Prince Jacob Macauley, to get the Supreme Court to interpret a clause in the 1991 Constitution that has to do with qualification for the position of President, Section 41 (d), which talks about the qualification of an independent Candidate’s eligibility to contest for the Presidency.
Prince Jacob Macauley, had since the last quarter of 2022, engaged the media and Civil Society Organizations on the said provision and had even written a letter to the President, Attorney General, Chief Justice and Parliament on the said provision.
In his view, the said clause provides the opportunity for Independent Candidates to contest for the position of President.
During a Press Conference held at the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) Headquarters on Campbell Street in Freetown, Prince Macauley maintained that since the country’s constitution has a lot of ambiguity on a good number of issues, he will be going to the Supreme Court for interpretation of the said section.
Many explanations have been given on the said provision that an Independent Candidate can contest for the Presidency, especially when the law is looked at literally, as well as purposively, but there are insinuations from other quarters that the Golden Rule may not follow the line of that interpretation. According to some legal minds, the interpretation of the said Clause 41 (d) in the constitution, when taken within the context of the preceding clauses, as well as the section dealing with qualification for Members of Parliament, the only difference is the age.
In their view, the intention of the drafters of the constitution with respect to the inclusion of that clause is to remedy a situation where an Independent Candidate might want to contest for the Presidency.
Some school of thoughts are of the view that the said provision and its preceding clauses do not offer a clear cut interpretation of the matter, and would therefore need to be interpreted by the Supreme Court, after which an amendment of same could be done by Parliament to further clarify the matter in the section.
However, the decision of the Supreme Court on the PR System case brought before it has hampered the chances of Prince Macauley attaining him dream of contesting in the coming Presidential Election as an Independent Candidate.
The Supreme Court may not be able to deliver its interpretation on the said clause in time for any amendment to be done by the Parliament, whose term in office is coming to an end soon.
In that light, Macauley is said to have withheld his push for the Presidency until the next Elections, prior to which the Supreme Court would have made its interpretation on the said clause very clear.