The High Court petition against the National Electoral Commission (NEC), the Provincial Secretary North A. R. Dumbuya and Pa Shippa Bangura of Masimera Chiefdom, Port Loko District is heating up as Lawyer Gibril Tholley acting for the petitioners attempts to prove that the elections was not conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Chieftaincy Act 2009. The election which was conducted on 24th December 2009 was petitioned on 5th January 2010 by Mulku Sulaiman Bai Bangura of the Thonkla Ruling House, Masimera Cheifdom, and Henry Santigie Bangura of Naise Ruling House, Masimera Chiefdom, and Port Loko District. Pa Shippa Bangura was duly elected as Paramount Chief.
According to Lawyer Gibril Tholley, the elected Paramount Chief, Pa Shippa Bangura does not belong to a recognized ruling house in the Masimera Chiefdom. He argued that as at 27th April 1961 when Sierra Leone gained independence Pa Shippa Bangura’s ruling house was not recognized.
The petitioners’ Lawyer further stated that the election conducted was not in accordance with the Provisions of the Chieftaincy Act 2009 as there was political interference in the election, especially from the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Internal Affairs Raymond Kabia.
Applying for the petition to be thrown out of court, Lawyer representing the respondents, Osman Kanu stated that section 72 sub section 5 Act No 6 of the 1991 Constitution makes provisions for Parliament to make laws for the conduct of the Chieftaincy elections.
“I believe that the petitioners in this matter filed their petitions in pursuant to that Act”, he said, submitting that the Act creates a strict regime for the filing of a petition.
Lawyer Osman Kanu also referred the court to section 18 of the Act which gives seven days after the declaration of rights of elections for petition to the high court. “I submit that the petition on Jan 5th is out of time and should be thrown out of court”.
He submitted that the limitation period of the Act was to ensure certainty, adding that section (18) does not provide for an extension.
In response Lawyer Gibril Tholley, opposed the application made by Lawyer Osman Kanu for the matter to be thrown out of court. He stated that he opposed the application because it lacks merit. Lawyer Tholley told the court that he has filed in an Affidavit on Wednesday for the petition not to be thrown out of court. He applied for a short adjournment of the matter and the application was granted by Justice Ademusu. The matter was adjourned to Tuesday 20th April, 2010.