Thursday, May 9, 2013

President Koroma Knocks Down Rumors of Third Term Bid

Read my lips "No Third Term"
Reacting to rumors about intentions to tinker with Sierra Leone's Constitution to allow him to run for a third term as a leader of the country, the office of the president of Sierra Leone,  Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, has released a press statement today emphatically denying any such intention and  restating allegiance to the constitutional provision that limits the tenure of office of the president to two successive terms.

Though the rumors were fueled by statements made by Ex-Vice presidential affairs minister, campaign chairman and APC strongman Balogun Koroma on a radio program in which he expressed his view of a third term for the president, the office of the president has ascribed Balogun's statements to over zealousness and ignorance of the constitution.
Over Zealous Balogun

On the day leading to the All People's Congress' convention, the loquacious APC senior operative Balogun Koroma had said on CTN radio that some Sierra Leoneans  were calling for a debate to allow President Koroma to go for a third term. This statement coming from such a senior party operative followed by a delegates conference that saw the coronation of the president's allies as senior party leaders had caused much consternation in the country, as people asked why after the country's recent history a president who is always bragging about his democratic credentials will want to take the country down the road to political Armageddon once again.

Quiet rumors circulating around Freetown are that a lot of the president's allies in top positions obtained only on the basis of political loyalty are worried that with Ernest Koroma gone, a new leader will seek to bring in his own new people. This worry has made them start to peddle rumors of a third term, to test the patience of the people for such a constitutional violation.
Even though whoever succeeds President Koroma will be very close to the president given his reelection as party leader, the president's men have started dividing themselves into opposing camps and remain suspicious of each other as the battle to replace him gathers steam. The president has however warned his followers to stop campaigning to replacing him with threats of putting them out to pasture if they are caught.
Sumana Snubbed

This threat is only bound to create more mystic around the succession as the country's Vice President Sam Sumana was given no recognized role in the new party executive, but was largely ignored in favor of those close to the president. The ex-secretary general Victor Foh who is close to the Vice President has been sent far away to China, deepening the succession intrigue.

In a bid to quell the rumor of an unconstitutional third term bid, the president's office today put out this press statement.

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT STATE HOUSE, FREETOWN PRESS RELEASE
coat_of_arms_of_sierra_leone
It has come to the notice of Government that certain individuals are peddling rumours that His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma intends to run for a third term as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
This is totally untrue and against the provision of the 1991 National Constitution which stipulates the tenure of President and restricts such tenure to two consecutive terms only. Whoever is circulating the rumour is doing so out of ignorance or over-zealousness.
The rumour threatens to undermine the democratic credentials of President Koroma, as such rumours stand at variance with the thinking of His Excellency the President who has on many occasions made it very clear that he is not interested in a third term of office.
This rumour should not be allowed to interfere with the present moves by Government to review the 1991 National Constitution, because the review will not interfere with the Presidential term limit, as stipulated in the constitution.
The co-operation of the General Public is most vital in Government's efforts
to modernize state governance which will be incorporated in a revised constitution that will address vital aspects relating to human rights, gender and youth issues, and the rule of law.
It should be emphasized that President Ernest Bai Koroma will run his second term of office in full and any effort to divert his attention from efforts to further develop the country will be resisted.
At the moment, there is no room for any debate on the tenure of office of the President as this is clearly entrenched in the provisions of the Constitution of Sierra Leone.
Dated 9th May, 2013

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