A secret plan by Members of Parliament to amend the qualifications to be a President in sec 41 of 1991 constitution has been exposed.
Pamela Johnson reports from parliament claimed that certain members of parliament from both APC and SLPP have been holding secret meetings to put forward an amendment to sec 41.
A parliamentary source said that one of the proposals which has been discussed to amend sec 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.
Sources say the amendment has been secretly planned to target Maada Bio but by proposing to limit the eligibility for the presidency only to holders of elective office many aspirants from both APC and SLPP will also be affected. A staff of parliament revealed that some senior parliamentarians in APC and SLPP are planning to throw their hats into the ring of the flagbearership contests of their respective parties and they want to use the amendment as a legal platform.
It is unclear how many members of parliament have been involved in the secret meetings for the proposed amendment but credible sources have named SLPP’s Bernadette Lahai and APC’s Ibrahim Bundu as the ringleaders planning to put together this amendment to sec 41.Other members of parliament who have been named to involve in the planning are APC’s Leonard Fofanah and Claude Kamanda and SLPP’s Ansu Jaia Kaikai and Sidie Tunis.
Some members of the public have also been reacting to the news of the secret plan by parliamentarians. A university student, Mohamed Turay, said “Any clandestine plan by MPs to amend sec 41 of the constitution without the consent of the people will be a recipe for stiff resistance and chaos to the extent of putting its movers in harm’s way. If the MPs think this is not an abuse of parliamentary power, they should not be afraid to subject the validity of their secret proposals to public scrutiny through the CRC.”
A university lecturer also expressed a strong indignation “Many of the MPs from both parties are selfish and they do not care about their abuse and misuse of parliamentary power. The Office of National Security should see such a secret plan as a threat to national security and public peace.”
An APC youth, Santigie, who was also critical of any secret plan by MPs, said “If MPs want to contest for presidency through their parties they need to campaign to their party members to become presidential candidates and not misuse their powers. By targeting candidates who are popular like Bio or other APC candidates, the MPs will be hijacking the democratic process. It should be up to the voters to decide who will succeed President Koroma and not some few power-drunk MPs.”