Do You Know That The P.R System Is Dangerous For Sierra Leone? Here Is Why…
By: A. F. Kanu
The Proportional Representation System was first introduced to Sierra Leone because Sierra Leoneans had lost complete faith in the military regime that illegally ceased state power by misconstruing the popular military phrase “martial law” owing that the said unlawful seizure was not out of necessity neither base on the implied mandate of the sovereign at the time so as a result, parliamentary elections under such inalterable epoch were conducted within the apparent legal framework tailored hereon.
The Constitution of Sierra Leone (Act No.6 of 1991) as amended by the Constitution of Sierra Leone (Amendment) Act, 2001 (Act No.15 of 2001) and also the legal basis of Proportional Representation is also evidenced in the Second Schedule of the National Provisional Rulling Council (NPRC) Decree, 1995 as amended by the National Provisional Rulling Council Decree (Repeal and Modification) Act, 1996 (Act No.3 of 1996), and The Constitutional Reinstatement Act, 1996 (Act No. 2 of 1996).
Therefore, it is now eyelid that Sierra Leone’s electoral system for the conduct of only Parliamentary elections has largely revolved around two types; the First-Past-the Post and that of Proportional Representation otherwise known as District Block System as enshrined in the above legal instruments.
Worth considering again here is that; the Constitution of Sierra Leone (Act No.6 of 1991) under section 38 (1) makes the First-Past-the Post electoral system as the mandatory rule for the conduct of Parliamentary elections by the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone, and it must be referenced that the country has implemented same in three successive democratic elections namely 2007, 2012 and 2018 elections hence, its continuation is popularly welcoming. This section emphasizes that ”Sierra Leone shall be divided into such constituencies for the purpose of electing the Member of Parliament referred to in paragraph [b] of subsection  of section 74 of this Constitution as the Electoral Commission, acting with the approval of Parliament signified by resolution of Parliament, may prescribe’’ . And also section 38 subsection  mandated the Electoral commission to review the division of the constituencies at intervals of not than five and not more than seven years in accordance with the provision of the constitution as it may consider desirable in the light of the review.
Now for ECSL to borrow half exert only from subsection 3 of section 38 is a misnomer characterized by high level of dishonesty and inconsiderate feeling for the people of Sierra Leone. And the ambition of government to exert a proclamation of the PR system after an unforgivable waste of whopping state resources on incredibly slake Mid-term census and as well initiated a flawed boundary delimitation which has also attracted toxic sentiments within the public domain is a recipe for global outlaugh.
Let it be in the know of readers that, Proportional Representation has been made use of in Sierra Leone at least in two democratic elections namely 1996 and 2002 purposely for parliamentary allocation and that was why section 38 (A) (1) of the Constitutional Amendment of 2001, guaranteed its incorporation as a part of our electoral system but only as a default option (Bystander) to be resorted where a date for a general election of members of Parliament has been appointed but constituencies have not been established in accordance with subsection 3 of section 38 of the 1991 constitution for the purpose of such election. But this system does not have proper legs to stand the test of time, and thus, has witnessed grave condemnations.
This Constitutional Amendment, introduced during such an unstable period was indeed manifest since there was an acute absence of credible data and many areas of the country remained inaccessible at the time.
In Simpliciter, the First-Past-the-Post system is a voting method or electoral system in which the citizens of a constituency cast their votes for their candidates and the candidate with the majority of votes wins the elections. While a Proportional Representation system (PR system) is a voting method or an electoral system in which citizens cast their votes to the political parties and seats are allocated to the contesting political parties including independent candidates according to the voting strength they possess. The PR system is currently operating in slowly progressive countries such as Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Estonia, Namibia, Armenia, Albania to name but a few.
Therefore, note today that this PR system lacks clean political accountability & transparency, demotes the relationship that exists between the electorates and their imposed representatives, it is ineffective & inefficient, it erodes liberal democracy, it limits disables into politics because most of them will never be favoured for enlisting, the PR is bias & promotes discrimination, the PR does not correlates with economic prosperity & it does not favour Sierra Leone hence, we must not provide accommodation for it adoption as an electoral model in any shape or form.
Meanwhile, by a careful perusal of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991 (Act No. 6 of 1991) section 29 and its subsections therein, acknowledges that any proclamation or declaration adopted or made by the President or any such other authority acting upon his directives must have the required majority parliamentary approval other than that, such declaration or proclamation is considered a nullity/void and not even voidable. This means that even if President Bio announces the PR system, it has to go through Parliament for approval and there must be no mad rush in such a sensitive business.
Important to encapsulate herein also is section 2 of the Local Government Act, 2004 (Act No. 1 of 2004) which creates localities and such electoral approach is visibly on cross-purpose with the stallion intended proclamation.
So as I close this precise sermon, I remain perplexed as to why do we find it difficult to measure up as a country by not being sincere in defending and upholding our very laws we promulgated?
Why do our state organs find pleasure in overriding public interest thereby rendering the country under international mockery?
This act of impunity must stop one day.