By Emmanuel Oloniruha
A High Court in Freetown on Saturday ordered a halt to the Sierra Leone Presidential run-off presidential election scheduled for March 27.
The court ordered that the run off poll should be put on hold pending the hearing of a petition by private lawyer, Ibrahim Sorie Koroma of Port Loko District, Northern Province, over alleged electoral malpractices during the March 7 inconclusive election.
Koroma had on March 22 filed a petition before the Court in Freetown, seeking an injunction to suspend the March 27 Presidential run-off election between the candidates of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party and the ruling All Peoples Congress.
The Lawyer in a 10-page petition, supported by an affidavit on his own behalf, joined the Chief Electoral Commissioner, the National Electoral Commission and the Attorney General and Justice Minister as co-defendants
The lawyer, apart from seeking an interlocutory injunction restraining the run-off vote, he is also praying the High Court to order a recount of all the 2.6 million votes cast during the March 7 general elections.
He is also seeking that the Defendants should also be restrained from further announcing or publishing the Presidential, Parliamentary or Local Council Elections results pending the hearing and determination of his application.
The plaintiff, represented by another lawyer Lansan Dumbuya, in the application filed on Tuesday, is also seeking an Order to conduct a forensic audit on the internal systems and the entire electioneering system conducted by NEC on March 7.
The case will be heard on March 26.
Meanwhile, Sierra Leone’s NEC said it had received an interim injunction against the conduct of the run-off election.
The Chairman of NEC, Mohamad Conteh, in a statement he issued on Saturday said that the “Commission will temporarily cease all logistical preparations for the run-off”.
He appealed to Siera Leoneans to be patient “as our institutions carry out their respective duties, in accordance with our Constitution”.
Conteh said the Commission was looking forward to the continued support of the Sierra Leone Police and the security sector “to secure NEC’s premises, staff and sensitive election materials”.
Under Sierra Leone’s 1991 Constitution, “a person elected to the office of President shall assume that office on the day upon which he is declared elected by the Returning Officer, or upon the date that his (her) predecessor’s term of office expires, whichever is the latter.”