Rubber stamped and no going back we are getting into 2023 with proportional representation for parliamentary, ward and local councils excluding chairperson who will battle on 4.5% margin to win a seat for district councils and mayors now summed says Elections Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL). Wait and do not party yet! Parliament is yet to pass the ECSL Bill proposed by the Anthony General of Sierra Leone as called for by the Speaker of the house of parliament.
In a succinct interview given on state radio the SLBC, representative of the ECSL boss, Mohamed Konneh, unveils rules are set and numbers for parliamentary seats will be increased per district on calculations based on previous 2015 census result and that of the new 2021 census results.
To gain a seat, candidates must score 11.9% of the quota to secure a seat. The arrived average is the two census result combined on allocation of seats divided by two (2).
This definitely calls for a district wide campaign that will see each candidate securing enough votes to gain a seat in parliament. Visibility, manifesto and clear outline of intent will play a big role to convincing the populace into voting. Where party strongholds are, careful and deliberate steps must be taken by party executives to save seats rather than loose one because popularity counts. It is not about being old in a party but about being known and liked by the people.
At last voters will have to choose who they want even if not via the party route as independent candidature is now made clear and as outlined by the constitution cannot be violated on grounds of parliamentary association. Should an independent candidate fail to gain the averaged sum, the seat will be passed to a party or independent candidate with the highest fractional remainder.
More interesting to note, party listing will be made public in order of priority in double figures and must be displayed by law so that people see who is being voted for in a particular political party.
The challenging thing will be when will the ECSL Bill get passed? Will there be a fight for the survival of the fittest? Certainly I foresee history repeating like back in the days when the speaker of the house of parliament was being elected. The commotion was so much that Sierra Leonean Police force, whom on normal circumstances will never dare to get to parliament was seen protecting government, parliament and parliamentary properties instead of the vulnerable in our communities who work hard to pay the very MPs seated in parliament.
It is always said the APC has 99 tactics but this time it is quite eminent, the SLPP is displaying tactical 9 approaches to frustrate the APC in a move to ensure, the ECSL Bill is passed. Will it be court summons to attend while parliamentary business carries on as normal? How will our major partners see our political stability in the face of their hard work to ensure democracy prevails?
Irrespective as to what is said and done on how the Bill will be passed, one thing is sure the path to the PR is seemingly clear and it will need political manoeuvring to get to the driving seat to take off. How are independent candidates getting themselves up for the task? What are our people looking up to as the major concern needing government intervention and not sluggishly but in speed. Are we all cut for that or the few are just bent on “na me yone ar care but”. What a world it is right?