By KABS KANU
SPARKS flew in the ECOWAS Parliament last week as honorable members took time to expose and express grave concerns about subterranean attempts by President Maada Bio to rig next year’s elections in Sierra Leone.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament deliberated on the political turmoil and unconstitutional activities of the SLPP government and President Maada Bio in Sierra Leone.
ECOWAS Members of Parliament exposed the SLPP Government for attempting to change Sierra Leone’s Electoral Laws to their advantage for the forthcoming General Elections in June 2023.
An ECOWAS parliamentarian, representing Nigeria, made things very clear : “Sierra Leone report is beautiful. But it is stated here that there is a major dispute as to the representations and how the election is to be done. It is obvious if you speak with a Sierra Leonean delegation or two, they would tell you the political situation going toward the elections is unstable. There is no need for us to hide anything from each other here. If we Nigerians discover that there would be no free and fair election, of course, we will say it out. Because if we say it out and ECOWAS intervenes, it helps us. But if we know that there is something that could create problems in the country and then we come here and sit down and say there’s nothing, and something happens, we would have lost.”
Led by representative Edwin Snowe, Liberian ECOWAS MPs were unequivocal in their denunciation of President Bio’s attempts to flip the elections illegally on his side. Complained one MP : “I think it is a grave situation. And this Parliament must send a fact-finding mission to Sierra Leone to investigate this major violation. This is not the first time. Is not the second time. It is the third time. Second issue in Sierra Leone is less than a year to elections, Sierra Leone is trying to change electoral laws. They are still trying to change the electoral laws in favour of the ruling establishment. I think it is quite alarming and the Sierra Leone delegation needs to speak here.”
Another member of the Liberia caucus said : “On the issue of elections laws, the head of delegation needs to speak out. That one year to the elections, you are trying to change elections laws. “
The complaints were lengthy : “It is not just the electoral laws,” another Liberia MP complained : “It is changing the system where other laws affect the system. That the system is trying to bring into place a proportional representation. Madam Chair, for my short political life, proportional representation is done where there are no defined electoral boundaries and the laws of the delegation from Sierra Leone can bear witness to this. How do you want to move to a proportional representation when there are clear defined political boundaries, when there are clear defined constituencies but yet they want to move to proportional representation as though there are no electoral laws ? The last time I remember there was proportional representation in Sierra Leone. When the war had just ended there was no system, there was no laws. I think they did that. Nothing happened in Liberia but after all these years, how come you want to move the proportional representation when there a clearly defined political constituencies ? “
This ECOWAS Parliament saga is very bad news for Maada Bio and the SLPP and very good news for the APC. This is the kind of international intervention Sierra Leoneans have been craving . Let the outside world know and acknowledge that President Maada Bio is trying to rig the 2023 elections . MOHAMED TURAY, a social media political activist , said on his Facebook page : “One lesson that we should all learn from this development is that Sierra Leoneans are not alone in the fight to remove the hateful and unproductive Mende dictator in June 2023.”
The ECOWAS Parliament has given the Sierra Leone opposition the alibi to challenge President Maada Bio more vigorously on the rogue PR system he wants to use for the 2023 elections . The West African Parliament was unequivocal in its condemnation of President Bio and the news is even worse when it is our neighboring state , Liberia, and our big brothers, Nigeria, who sponsored the condemnation of President Bio.
But many Sierra Leoneans are lamenting the apparent impotence of their opposition to take advantage of the victory in a more virulent manner . Kingston Wallace-Johnson , also at Facebook, said this of the Sierra Leone opposition : “SCARED ! SCARED! SCARED! This guy is terrifying them including former Prezzo Earnest Koroma, they are all scared. They want to be Mandela without going to prison. Salone man fraid bad bad one. That’s how maada is going to win this election by intimidation. Nobody in the international community will intervene. mark my words. some of the APC big guns have already sold out. Ei tranga for dae na salone without job or brown envelope ooh. “
However, even if the opposition is presently not firing on all cylinders, the international community has sent a deeper alert now that President Bio is very undemocratic and plans to rig the elections next year. Recently, diplomats based in Sierra Leone representing the UN, EU, Britain and the U.S. paid a call on the Speaker of Parliament, Abbass Bundu , to express their concerns about issues pertaining to the forthcoming elections, especially the proportional representation and block voting systems they want to use to rig the elections.
ECOWAS is sending a fact-finding mission to Freetown on the matter. We look forward to the outcome of the mission, but it is very obvious now that the news is not good for Maada Bio. His Social media attack dogs can play it down all they want or twist the story out of proportions to suit their whims, AS IS THEIR WONT. The news is not good for President Bio. Period.