Sierra Leone’s main opposition party, All People’s Congress (APC) has strongly condemned the decision of the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) to conduct next year presidential and parliamentary elections under the Proportional Representative (PR) system.

APC made this stance in a press statement issued today, Friday 21 October 2022, and signed by the Chairman of its Interim Transition Governance Committee (ITGC), Alfred Peter Conteh Chairman.

Read the full statement below:

“We are deeply shocked and dismayed when we were informed by the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) during our routine Political Party Committee meetings, that His Excellency the President has directed the Commission that next year’s general elections of Members of Parliament shall be conducted based on the District Block system instead of constituencies, without strict adherence to relevant provisions and principles of the Sierra Leone Constitution.

The All People’s Congress view this as a gross violation of the Sierra Leone constitution and therefore condemns in the strongest terms possible, the Commission’s decision to revert to the District Block system when there are existing constituencies. We are vigorously opposed to the attempt by the Executive to regulate laws governing the conduct of general elections, a few months before the scheduled date for the next general elections.

The intention of our cherished constitutional architectures on the preferred model of electing the Members of Parliament is clear and unambiguous under section 38 of the 1991 Sierra Leone Constitution. Conversely, the purposive approach of the Legislatures in the post-war epoch, to usher in a District Block System in 1996, as delineated by the provisions of section 38A, was to provide a temporal solution because there were no existing valid constituencies due to the mere operation of the law as section 38(4) of the 1991 Sierra Leone Constitution embeds.

For the records, we are aware that His Excellency the President may constitutionally or statutorily direct that elections be held in accordance with the provisions of section 38A. However, we believe that he has been ill advised on the condition precedent to triggering a District Block System. As such, we implore His Excellency to revise his directives issued to the Commission to uphold the rule of law and preserve the sanctity of our sacred constitution.

It behoves all of us as Political Parties and Citizens to ensure that the upcoming general elections are conducted in a peaceful, free and fair manner. To achieve the aforesaid objectives, we must call out Executive impunity and shun it in all manifestations. As a responsible and law-abiding Political Party, and a government in waiting, we are fully aware of the legal remedies available to us in such circumstances, not precluding the stating of a case to the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone and Regional competent jurisdictions. We also call on amicable interventions from our International partners and the Diplomatic community.”