Deliberate Refusal on the Part of APC & Co to Allow the Constitutional Process to Roll out is Rather Unfortunate… It is an open secret that the All People’s Congress (APC) Party is very notorious for having ninety-nine tactics to politically use mean fashions to twist or spin the political pendulum to swing in their favor, closer and during electioneering periods and in Constitutional matters.
A recent one was the move made by the Ministry of Local Government to increase the number of Districts in the Northern Province from five to seven, which will see increased number of Constituencies in that part of the country considered being an APC stronghold.
This has again surfaced this time round with regards the party’s recent move to withdraw the initial endorsement of the Draft Final Report of the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC), with some of its members who were part of the Committee and have already appended their signatures as a mark of acceptance of the Report, turning around to shamelessly state that they have withdrawn their signatures. We see that same stance taken by the United Democratic Party (UDM), Revolutionary United Front (RUF), People’s Liberation Party (PLP) all insignificant parties and with little or no political base in the political landscape of this country.
This last ditch taken by the APC and Co can only be best described as a deliberate ploy to delay the review process which is time bound after so many resources and time have been spent. To give the lame excuse that the Final Report has not been submitted to those who represented various political parties in the Committee for perusal to ensure that it reflects the views of the people during the country-wide consultative stage is very flimsy to say the least. As a matter of fact it must be considered as an insult to the entire CRC because it connotes that they may not be sincere in writing the Report and prone to doctor it to suit certain interests.
There is more underneath than meet the eyes why these so called people-oriented politicians are refusing to give their blessing to the Final Report but we will have to come to that later. This stated position could only be substantiated when cognizance is taken of the fact that these very individuals were supposed to be totally involved in the various stages of the review process with particular reference to country-wide consultations and vetting of position papers submitted by various organizations and individuals. They were also expected to actively participate in the validation process of all that had been collated, making their views known after which draft copies of what had been validated were given to them.
As a matter of fact, an Executive Summary of the Final Report was also given to them for perusal. The big questions are : Why are these guys now so jittery? Is it that they do not have trust and faith in those who compiled the Final Report? Are they playing for time? But it is indeed funny to observe that those representatives who are now shouting from rooftops boycotted most of the proceedings of the Committee and no excuse that it was because some were Cabinet Ministers or engaged in other assignments will not suffice as there are other competent individuals with all the time at hand who would have better represented their parties.
According to how the process should proceed, the Draft Final Report should now be submitted to the President after which a White Paper will be issued, submitted to Parliament and a Referendum conducted, receives Presidential Assent before it becomes legally binding.
The most crucial aspect is for the people of this country to decide in a Referendum the Parliamentary vetted document. There is nothing wrong for the Final Report to be submitted by CRC to the various political representatives who were part of the process but ten chances to one they may want to spend endless time to peruse the document and that will definitely prolong the entire process. What especially the APC is not comfortable with is changing the Supreme Executive Authority to that of Chief Executive Officer. But can’t we see that the main reason advanced by many people during the country-wide consultations why such a change is necessary is related to the exercise of that power in sacking erstwhile Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana by President Ernest Bai Koroma.
Many considered that action to indeed be dictatorial and not augur well for a fledgling democracy. As was stated by the APC Publicity Secretary, Alpha Khan, that if Supreme Executive Authority is changed to Chief Executive Officer, whenever the President goes to Parliament then the Speaker of the House becomes the Superior, is anything to transpire, really what is actually wrong with that as it will contribute to enhance checks and balances between the Legislature and Executive organs of Government. It is high time we desist from making one man wielding absolute power to act according to its whims and caprices as power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely.
In the case of the appointment of the Chief Justice by the President, the expressed views of the majority that it must be expunged seems to be in place. It negates against the principle of Separation of Powers because there is all likelihood that the appointee will dance to the tune of the President or the ruling party. It has the tendency of undermining the independence of the Judiciary.
The appointment of the Chief Justice should be under the sole domain of the Judicial Commission. It is understandable that the Constitution is a very important and sacred document and there is no need to rush the process. However, when deliberate moves are made to stalk the process on flimsy grounds then there is more than meets the eyes.
The aforementioned are candid expressed views, holding no brief for no party or Civil Society Organization but rather what are believed will be in the best interest of Mama Salone.