NEC To Be Dragged To Court By CSOs
By Augustine James
Two Civil Society Organisations, Ligal Link and Citizens Advocacy Network (CAN), have collaborated together in a press conference and decided to take legal actions against the National Electoral Commission (NEC) for failing to grant the rights to franchise to the people of constituency 110 over the last re-run elections. According to them, NEC has no right as stated by Law to cancel a whole parliamentary election.
Speaking to journalists and other Civil Society Activists at SLAJ headquarters in Freetown, the heads of the two civil society organizations expressed their dissatisfaction with the manner in which NEC responded to their demand for an explanation of their legal mandate to cancel an election.
The Executive Director of Legal Link, Rashid Dumbuya Esq clearly stated that his organization and other legal volunteers are going to trace this matter to ensure that thorough explanation is given for the cancellation. He added that if NEC fails to adhere to their request, they are taking NEC to Court for violation of human rights.
“In this matter, we are more concerned with the TRC findings of 2004 which says that Lawyers and Jurists in SL have failed to stand up to the systematic violation of the rights of people. The have also failed to stand up to state tyranny. Legal Link has come to make a difference and to turn the tide around”, he added.
He confirmed that if the SL judiciary also delays or fails to fast track the process, the will seek ECOWAS intervention. A very emotional Rashid Dumbuya said that he is doing it for the love of the nation and not for any party.
In NEC’s response, Legal Link has no locus standi to question the decision of NEC or to justify their actions. They also asserted that Legal Link is not a stakeholder of public elections or in the re-run elections for Constituency 110, and they should seek redress in the High Court if they consider NEC’s decision as unjust and illegal.
Executive Director for Citizens Advocacy Network, Thomas Moore-Conteh followed up that the NEC boss should resign and or his tenure not be contracted again.
“The judiciary of SL is the only institution to cancel an electoral process in the High Court and not NEC” he said.
“We are clearly stating that if NEC is not questioned, there is every likelihood to cancel a whole national election and they will tend to use this as a precedent. They cancelled Tonko Limba ward elections and they got away with it, now parliamentary election. It is not right” Thomas More continued.
He also stated that the Sierra Leone Police failed to institute their primary duty on the said elections day because they failed to make any arrest with regards to the perpetrators of the violence at the polling station on that day.