By Abu Bakarr Orkailkail Bangura
I am shocked to hear that the APC party has filed a petition against Kandeh Yumkella’s candidacy. I recently posted a commentary supporting the views expressed by Francis Gabiddon on the dual citizenship issue. I stated that the constitution is the supreme law of the land and consequently, any law that is inconsistent with provisions of the constitution law is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency. Since the 2006 Citizenship Act neither addressed nor contradicts provisions of the constitution, Section 76(1) of the Constitution is still valid and will remain in force until amended. However, it would be a total miscalculation with far-reaching ramifications for the APC party to petition the candidacy of Kandeh Yumkella. The APC party/government had over 50 dual citizens who served as MPs in the recently dissolved Parliament, and there are still people with dual citizenship and foreign nationals serving as MINSTERS in the current government in flagrant violation of section 76 of the Constitution. The effect of this violation is that any law that was passed by a Sierra Leone Parliament with illegal MPs (foreign nationals or dual citizens) is void ab initio. The same also goes for all nominations approved or confirmed by the said Parliament. This means the entire country has been operating illegally for the past ten years. To put the extent of this illegality into perspective I will give just a few examples.
The SUPREME COURT
All or most of the judges in the current Supreme Court of Sierra Leone were confirmed by the last two parliament which had illegal MPs. This means that the confirmation of such judges is illegal, and consequently those judges are illegally serving in the Supreme Court. This makes it very complicating for an illegal Supreme Court whose Judges were confirmed in violation of Section 76 of the Constitution to hear a petition against the nomination of a candidate alleged to be in violation of the same Section 76. Also, since all or most judges of lower courts were also approved by the Sierra Leone Parliament in the last ten years; it would be apt to say that all judgments/decisions given by the Sierra Leone courts in the past ten years are illegal.
Since all CABINET MINISTERS, except the Attorney General have to be approved by Parliament, it is obvious that ALL ministers who have served in the past ten years have done so illegally by virtue of them being approved by an illegal Parliament. All CONTRACTS / AGRREMENTS (mining, debts, international agreements) entered into by the government in the last 10 years are illegal. Again, ALL actions of NEC approved by an illegal parliament including the registration of voters are illegal. The list goes on.
These are just some of the implications of a petition against Yumkella. It would be like opening Pandora’s Box.
According to the famous equitable maxim, he who comes to equity must come with cleans hands. The APC definitely does not have clean hands because APC has violated Section 76 in the past 10 years and the violation still continues with dual citizens/foreign national currently serving as ministers. The APC lawyers that, all of a sudden have become moral guarantors of the constitution should hold their heads in shame as Section 76 has always been alive. YOU CANNOT FILE A PETITION FOR A VIOLATION OF A LAW THAY YOU HAVE CONSISTENTLY VIOLATED AND STILL VIOLATING. You cannot complain about the snow in your neighbor’s house while your doorstep is unclean. My advice to the APC government/Party and the judiciary is that let sleeping dogs lie and let Section 76 be applied henceforth and not retrospectively.
The author is BA, LLB (UNDA), GDLP, LLM (USYD), LLM (UNSW), PhD in Law Cand. (UNSW)
-Credit: The Trumpet Newspaper