Proportional Representation Judgment to be Delivered Soon

PR System

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

In a matter filed by Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara and Partners on behalf of Honourable Abdul Kargbo as First Plaintiff and Councillor Hakiratu Maxwell-Caulker as the Second Plaintiff against the Attorney General and Minister of Justice as First Defendant and the Electoral  Commission as Second Defendant at the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone on the 9th January, 2023, oral submissions were concluded.

It must be noted that members of the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) were challenging the legality of using the Proportional Representation System in the 2023 elections.

Dr. Abdulai O. Conteh and Joseph F. Kamara Esq., submitting on behalf of the Plaintiffs, argued that the President’s directive to the Electoral Commission to use the PR system for parliamentary elections in the 2023 elections is unlawful since there were existing constituencies at the time that the directive was given.

They furthered how the Commission had provided no compelling and clear explanation for resorting to the PR system “even though constituencies still exist in the country”.

In response, the State, represented by Solicitor-General R.B. Kowa and Principal State Counsel Osman Kanu, argued that the President acted within the powers conferred on him by the Constitution, stating that the President’s power to issue such directives cannot be questioned in a court of law.

Dr. Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, who spoke on behalf of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (the 2nd Defendant), argued that the Commission acted lawfully when it advised that it was impracticable to delineate boundaries, emphasizing that the ECSL is the only body with exclusive information and the specialization to determine whether it was possible to delineate boundaries 6 months before the date appointed for the 2023 elections.

The Chief Justice, who presided over the proceedings, promised that a judgment will be delivered shortly.

One of the major rights based organizations, Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law – Sierra Leone (CARL-SL) commended the five-member panel of Supreme Court Justices to hear the complaint filed by two citizens of Sierra Leone against the use of the proportional representation system in the multi-tier elections scheduled for 24th June, 2023.

“When we urge citizens to use peaceful and legitimate means to resolve electoral grievances, we do so with an expectation that State organs and institutions would resolve such grievances in a speedy, professional and impartial manner,” said Ibrahim Tommy, Executive Director, Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, adding that “It is gratifying that the Supreme Court will start hearing this matter barely a month after it was filed. This is a positive step forward in our collective advocacy for speedy resolution of electoral complaints”.

He urged the Court to fully consider the merits of the arguments on both sides and hand down a fair and well-thought-out decision.

Monitors assigned by CARL monitored the proceedings.


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