Opposition APC: The appointment of the CEC is unconstitutional
Ruling SLPP: The opposition is factually inaccurate and is missing the point
Sierra Leone’s main opposition APC party disagrees with the ruling SLPP party over the appointment of the new Chief Elections Officer who will conduct the next general elections.
On July 20th, a press release from state house said President Julius Maada Bio has appointed Mohamed Kenewui Konneh as chairman and chief electoral commissioner subject to parliamentary approval. His appointment came after the former elections’ commissioner N’Fah Alie Conteh‘s term expired.
Opposition APC’s public affairs secretary Sidie Yayah Tunis told AYV news that the appointment is unconstitutional and as a party they will reject it all together.
“The constitution is very clear. It says anyone to be appointed or elected must have resigned from public office 12 months prior to the appointment or lection. Until the time of his appointment, Konneh was a public servant and did not meet the criteria”, Tunis said.
He said sections 75 and 76 of the constitution is very clear on the qualifications and steps to follow. The APC party therefore rejects this appointment and will seek legal action if need be to stop it going forward, he added.
Presidential press secretary Yusuf Keketoma Sandi said the constitution gives the president the power to appoint any public official who meets the qualification criterion. He also said the opposition is factually inaccurate stressing Konneh did resign a day prior to his new appointment because he is not contesting or conducting an election now, but in the future.
“The qualifications the APC is referring to is more related to someone wanting to contest for an election. But in this case, he will be conducting an election which is different. He is qualified as a Sierra Leonean by age and education and has also resigned a day before his appointment. This makes him qualified for the appointment”, Keketoma said.
Mohamed Kenewui Konneh the newly appointed chairman and chief electoral commissioner prior to his appointment, was the director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), a government agency attached at the office of the president.
It could be recalled that two former members of parliament of the opposition APC were removed from office by a court action last year under this same clause (for failing to resign from public offices), 12 months prior to their election.