As election fever breeds disbelief and skepticism, government says: “it needs Le 109 billion or the 2018 polls may likely not hold.”
Mohamed Bangura, Sierra Leone’s Information Minister recently said that the ruling APC government is in need of a whooping USD $ 49 million (correspondingly Le 109 billion) for the planned General Elections.
He made this statement shortly after President Koroma told a gathering of the international community that his government is horribly in need of finances for the conduct of the proclaimed March 2018 elections.
Elections, according to the 1991 constitution, are held every five years of every term of office of a President/ government.
The delay in the announcement of a presidential, parliamentary and local council elections date lately proclaimed by both President Koroma and the Chairman of National Electoral Commission (NEC), in the estimation of right thinking members, may have been as a result of the ruling All People Congress party not wanting to hold elections in exactly 2018 (a more time strategy).
Recent assertion by President Koroma and Mohamed Bangura that government needs money for the conduct of the elections has seen citizens relate same to APC’s years of hype, as they on one occasion, induce Sierra Leoneans support them alter elections date from 2018 to 2020 (more time).
Their allusions point to the fact that government’s cry for finances is but no doubt pretentious, and geared towards a manipulative shift of the announced elections date to make way for an extension of time for the President.
That government’s negative response in the lifting of the state of public health emergency, which came into effect shortly after Ebola hit Sierra Leone in 2014, is also suspicious of “more time” by the ruling APC party.
Their reference is supported by section 87 of the 1991 constitution which borders on the extension of term of office of the President in circumstances that the country is in a state of emergency.
Reads: (1) If, when Parliament has been dissolved the President considers that owing to the existence of a state of public emergency it would not be practicable to hold a general election within ninety days after the dissolution, the President may by Proclamation recall the Parliament that has been dissolved and the following provisions shall then have effect-
a. the Parliament shall meet at such date not later than fourteen days after the date of the Proclamation as may be specified therein
b. the President shall subject to the provisions of subsection (16) of section 29 cause to be introduced in Parliament as soon as it meets a resolution declaring that a state of Public emergency exists and subject as aforesaid no other business shall be transacted in Parliament until that resolution has been passed or
c. if the resolution is passed by Parliament with the support of the votes of not less than two-thirds of the Members thereof a general election shall be held on the last day of the period of six months beginning with the date of the original dissolution of the Parliament which has been recalled or such earlier date as the President shall appoint and the Parliament that has been recalled shall be deemed to be the Parliament for the time being and may meet and may be kept in session accordingly until the date fixed for nomination of candidates in that general election and unless previously dissolved shall then stand dissolved;
d. if the resolution is defeated or is passed with the support of the votes of less than two-thirds of the Members of Parliament or has not been put to the vote within five days after it has been introduced, the Parliament that has been recalled shall then be again dissolved and a general election shall be held not later than the ninetieth day after the date of the Proclamation by which the Parliament was so recalled or such earlier date as the President may by Proclamation appoint.”
However, experts say government’s call for more money and of course its refusal to lift the public health emergency may in all probability signposts the way for an extension of the elections date from 2018 to 2020.