BREACHES OF THE CONSTITUTION OF SIERRA LEONE (Act No. 6 of 1991) BY EX-PRESIDENT AHMAD TEJAN KABBAH & GOVERNMENT and EVENTS THAT LED TO THE AFRC TAKE-OVER OF SUNDAY, MAY 25, 1997
On Friday, March 29th, 1996, Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah took the Presidential Oath of Office and promised to preserve, support, uphold, maintain and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Section 51 of the 1991 Constitution of the Republic of Sierra Leone has sanctions for MISCONDUCT BY PRESIDENT. This Section embodies any violation of the Constitution for which the sanction is impeachment of the President by Parliament.
From 29th March, 1996 to the 25th of May 1997, Alhaji Tejan Kabbah as President of our Republic and defender of our Constitution, he violated the following Constitutional provisions in complicity with PARLIAMENT in their joint attempt to destroy DEMOCRACY and Sierra Leone. According to Section 51 of the Constitution, Parliament should have impeached the President. Parliament failed to do so.
(a) Section 11 (Eleven) of the 1991 Constitution says: the press, radio and television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Constitution and highlight the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people.
(b) Section 25 (1): Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression, and for the purpose of this Section the said freedom includes the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference with his correspondence, freedom to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions, and academic freedom in institutions of learning. Since Kabbah and the SLPP assumed power, the PRESS did not enjoy the underlying principles of Sections 11 and 25 - the protection of freedom of expression and the press and both Sections of the Constitution are entrenched in the HUMAN RIGHTS CHARTER. The passage by Parliament of the PRESS BILL and the MASS MEDIA PRACTITIONERS BILL were a contravention of the Constitution.
(c) Section 40(4)(d)(i) and (ii) Section 40(4) says "Notwithstanding any provisions of this Constitution or any other law to the contrary, the President shall, without prejudice to any such law as may for the time being be adopted by Parliament, be responsible, in addition to the functions conferred upon him in the Constitution for:
Section 40(4)(d): the execution of treaties, agreements or conventions in the name of Sierra Leone.
Provided that any Treaty, Agreement or Convention executed by or under the authority of the President which relates to any matter within the legislative competence of Parliament or which in any way alters the law of Sierra Leone or imposes any charge on, or authorises any expenditure out of, the Consolidated Fund or any other fund of Sierra Leone, and any declaration of war made by the President shall be subject to ratification by Parliament:
- an enactment of Parliament; or
- by a resolution supported by the votes or not less than one-half of the Members of Parliament.
In accordance with Section 40(4)(d)(i) and (ii) of Act No. 6 of 1991 (The Constitution of Sierra Leone) Parliament should have treated the Abidjan Peace Agreement in accordance with Section 40(4)(d)(i) and (ii). Parliament failed to do so. Both the Executive and the Legislature violated the Constitution with regard to the Abidjan Peace Agreement - thus the Rebel War continued to rage on.
Section 73 (3): Parliament may make laws for the PEACE, security, order and good government of Sierra Leone. This section was not recognised with regard to the Abidjan Peace Agreement.
Section 105: Parliament shall be the supreme legislative authority for Sierra Leone. This section also, was not observed in handling the Abidjan Peace Agreement; hence the civil war raged on.
(d) Section 41: No person shall be qualified for election as President unless he: (a) is a citizen of Sierra Leone. This continues to be a contention that Alhaji Tejan Kabbah is not a citizen of Sierra Leone.
(e) Section 48(1): The President shall receive such salary and allowances as may be prescribed by Parliament and such salary and allowances payable to the President are hereby charged on the Consolidated Fund. The former President did not request Parliament to approve of his Salary/Allowances. Public money he expended as Salary or imprest or per diem etc. contravened Section 48(1) of the Constitution.
(f) Section 56(1): There shall be, in addition to the Office of Vice President, such other offices of Ministers and Deputy Ministers as may be established by the President: PROVIDED THAT NO MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT SHALL BE APPOINTED A MINISTER OR DEPUTY MINISTER. With the complicity of PARLIAMENT and with utter disregard for the Constitution, Alhaji Tejan Kabbah appointed the majority of his ousted Cabinet from amongst sitting Members of Parliament.
(g) Section 56(3): A Minister or a Deputy Minister shall not, while he continues in office, hold any other office of profit or emolument whether by way of allowances or otherwise, whether private or public, and either directly or indirectly: Salaries, allowances and incidents of Office of Ministers and Deputy Ministers were paid without recourse to Parliament as required by Section 56(3) of the 1991 Constitution. The President and some of his Ministers/Deputy Ministers were engaged in financial enterprises against the spirit and letter of this Section. Examples abound.
(h) Section 76(1) - No person shall be qualified for election as a Member of Parliament - (b) If he is a Member of any Commission established under this Constitution, or åååå
(i) Section 76(3) - Any person who is the holder of any Office the functions of which involve responsibility for, or in connection with, the conduct of any election to Parliament or the compilation of any register of voters for the purposes of such an election shall not be qualified for election to Parliament.
When Section 76(1)(b) and Section 76(3) are read jointly with Section 56(2) which says: a person shall not be appointed a Minister or Deputy Minister unless - (a) he is qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament; and (b).
In the case of Dr James Jonah, the then Chairman of INEC - Electoral Commission for the 1996 February/March Parliamentary and Presidential elections, he (Dr Jonah) was accordingly disqualified for the post of Sierra Leone's Permanent Representative to the United Nations with Cabinet rank. Dr Jonah's appointment, when Sections 76(1)(b), 76 (3) and 56 (2)(a) - are read jointly - was, a breach of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone (Act No.6 of 1991).
(j) Section 77 (1) - Tenure of Seats of Members of Parliament A Member of Parliament shall vacate his seat in Parliament:
(k) If he ceases to be a member of the political party of which he was a member at the time of his election to Parliament and he so informs the Speaker, or the Speaker is so informed by the Leader of that political party. Parliament 'misused' this section of the Constitution re the 14 'Rebel' UNPP Members of Parliament. Then, Parliament used Section 95 - Contempt of Parliament and suspended from Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition for a year. This action was not in the interest of peace, democracy and this nation. The Opposition in Parliament was silenced by these actions. (k) Section 118(7): Parliament shall be notified by the appropriate Minister or authority of all gifts, donations, grants and pledges made to the State of Sierra Leone. The Kabbah Government received many gifts from India, Iran, Kuwait, the European Union, etc. but failed to report to Parliament. This was in breach of the Constitution.
(l) Section 149(4): Where a Commission of Inquiry makes an adverse finding against any person, which may result in a penalty, forfeiture or loss of status, the report of the Commission of Inquiry shall, for the purposes of this Constitution, be deemed to be a judgement of the High Court of Justice and accordingly an appeal shall lie as of right from the Commission to the Court of Appeal. The work of Justice Cross and the SLPP White Papers published thereafter were an infringement of Section 149(4) of the Constitution. The SLPP administered selective injustice to those affected and certainly denied a host of affected people, their rights under the 1991 Constitution.
(m) Section 155(2): No person shall raise any police force except by or under the authority of an Act of Parliament. The Kamajors are sometimes referred to as an Auxiliary Police to be deployed at Chiefdom level. If the above is true, then the Kamajors, as a Police Force are an unconstitutional SLPP creation. The Kamajors syndrome ignited the May 1997 Coup.
(n) Section 166: PROHIBITION OF PRIVATE ARMED FORCES. No person shall raise any armed force except by or under the authority of an Act of Parliament.
The Kamajors are an unconstitutional Private Army of the SLPP. Parliament under Kabbah's Presidency did nothing to correct this unconstitutional creation of an Armed Force.
The PRESS, TEACHERS, TRADES UNIONS, Sierra Leoneans, Nigeria and Nigerian soldiers, ECOWAS and ECOMOG, the International Community - all remained silent whilst Ex-President Kabbah and his Government breached the Constitution and the Abidjan Peace Agreement. Parliament equally failed to recognise and uphold the rights of Parliament according to the Constitution, and, at the same time, failed to uphold democracy, failed to impeach Ex-President Tejan Kabbah, failed to ensure that the Abidjan Peace Agreement was laid before Parliament and then failed to save Sierra Leone from imminent disaster.
All Sierra Leoneans failed to stop Tejan Kabbah in the excesses he had gone so deep. The Military Intervention of May 25, 1997 was the only cure to halt Kabbah, get the Peace Agreement back on course, make Sierra Leone a country devoid of Kamajors, of tribalism, set in motion machinery for an all-participatory democratic elections and then, return the country to a democratically elected civilian Government.
The events of May 25, 1997 may be bitter. But, when hard-won DEMOCRACY however fraudulent is hurriedly, yet calculatedly manipulated into AUTOCRACY, stability and PEACE are destroyed. AND NO PRICE IS TOO GREAT TO PAY FOR PEACE.
Few years of AFRC administration will afford Sierra Leone the following, amongst others:
- PEACE and implementation of the Abidjan Peace Agreement.
- Conduct population CENSUS and delimitation of CONSTITUENCIES
- Establishment of credible Electoral Commission and Political Parties Registration Commission in accordance with Sections 32 and 35 respectively of the Constitution.
- Revision of the Voters Register to enable the registration of the RUF, all former Refugees and Displaced.
- Hold Sierra Leone as a nation devoid of any eminent Tribal War.
- Conduct FREE and FAIR ALL-PARTICIPATORY ELECTIONS AND Hand-Over to the Democratically Elected Civilian Government.
The AFRC administration is viewed as a stop-gap corrective measure. The International Community is requested to show sympathy for an already war-torn, traumatised, and poverty stricken country in the light of PEACE NOW and then lasting Democracy. Thank you, Your Excellency, for carefully going through this document. I wish you and the AFRC well.