Some Parliamentarians on Monday debunked rumours on social Media that “certain Members of Parliament from both All People’s Congress (APC) and Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) have been holding secret meetings to put forward an amendment to Section 41 of the 1991 Constitution”.
Section 41 of the 1991 Constitution states that “no person shall be qualified for election as President unless he is a citizen of Sierra Leone, is a member of a political party, has attained the age of forty years and is otherwise qualified to be elected as a member of parliament”.
The rumour went on to allege that “A parliamentarian source said that one of the proposals which has been discussed to amend section 41 is to limit the eligibility for the presidency only to holders of elective office which will disqualify all those who are aspiring to contest for the presidency but are presently not holders of elective office.”
It further alleged that “sources say the amendment has been secretly planned to target Maada Bio … A staff of Parliament revealed that some senior parliamentarians in APC and SLPP are planning to throw their hats in to the flagbearership contests of their respective parties and they want to use the amendment as a legal platform.”
Reacting to the allegations during a telephone call, the Minority Leader of Parliament, Hon. Bernadette Lahai said “I don’t not know anything. So I cannot grant an interview on that. I am concentrating on the Constitution”.
The Deputy Majority Leader of Parliament, Hon. Leonard Fofanah representing Constituency 015, Kenema District said “I cannot answer to questions on an allegation that I am not preview to”.
The Majority Whip of Parliament, Hon Claude D.M. Kamanda representing Constituency 095 Western Rural District said “when I saw the allegation I laughed. I was thinking where was such meeting held? In fact, the Parliamentarian the allegation mentioned; Hon. Ibrahim Bundu is out of the country on assignment and Ansu Jaia Kaikai is sick and has been out of the country for some time. I am busy since last week going to Kailahun and Port Loko on the coming Bye Election”.
The Minority Whip of Parliament, Hon. Sidie M. Tunis representing Constituency 091, Pujehun said “I did not know anything about that”.
It is unclear where the allegations came from, but observers say any attempt to change the constitution through a private member bill to allow only parliamentarians to qualify for the presidency will be met with stiff resistance, both in and out of parliament.