The High Court of Sierra Leone has overturned the chieftaincy election of Kabgoro chiefdom in the Moyamba district which was held on 9 December 2002 wherein Sigismond Oldman Caulker was declared winner.
In the judgment by Justice A. Showers in the petition filed by three petitioners, she highlighted the various anomalies established in the conduction of the election.
She stated, “it would be improper to allow the elections to stand in the circumstance I would uphold the petition and declare that the election of Sigismond Oldman Caulker the first respondent herein as paramount chief of Kagboro chiefdom be declared null and void.”He further ruled that, “I also grant an injunction restraining the said Sigismond Oldman Caulker from performing or continuing to perform the duties or paramount chief of the Kagboro chiefdom.”
It was submitted by the petitioners that the main grounds of petition was based on a breach of Section 72 (5) of the Constitution and also Act No. 6 of the 1991 Constitution which states that, “parliament shall make laws for the qualifications, elections, powers, functions, removal and other matters relating to chieftaincy when those powers are usurped by the executive in the conduct of the said election.”
Also during the holding of declaration of rights ceremony, it was filed by the petitioners that there were no assessor chiefs present which is a standard code of practice for chiefdom administrators, but the only officer present was the provincial secretary who conducted the exercise.
The petitioners also complained that Sigismond Caulker in order to establish his right demanded that he hailed from Caulker and Queh Boka ruling houses which according to them was not true as he did not have right to these ruling houses.
They also alleged that on election day, the first petitioner Mrs. Lenga Kroma stood up to object to the candidature of the said chief, she was not allowed to do so as they said she had the right to appeal after the elections.
On the National Electoral Commission (NEC) as the third respondent, and the minister of Local Government as the fourth respondent, they submitted that they were aware of these anomalies complained of the petitioners and yet allowed the election and took no steps to correct them.
The petition was filed by Doris Boilon Lenga Kroma, Chico Bailor Septimus Bono-Dick while the respondents were Sigismond Oldman Caulker, Salia S. Magona, the Chief Electoral Commissioner of NEC and the minister of Local Government and Community Development.