Sierra Leone

Apologising for delay, Sierra Leone’s highest court says appeal ‘beggars belief’ because based on ‘unsigned and undated’ documents

The highest court in Sierra Leone has dismissed an appeal by the losing candidate in an election for chieftaincy. The appeal was, however, based on provisions that only came into legal operation after the disputed election. Not just that, the provisions were also never shown to any witness nor, until they were attached as annexures in counsel’s final written address, were they even available to the court itself.


Read judgment

Sierra Leone’s supreme court has set its face against a candidate who failed to be elected as a paramount chief in 2003. In the process of finding against P C Mohamed Kailondo Banya, the five judges who heard his appeal apologised for the role that the judiciary might have played in the almost unheard-of delays in finalising the issue.

The court said it was ‘extremely regrettable’ that a matter filed in May 2011 should only have been heard ‘at the tail end of 2020’.

Freedom of speech supports good governance says President of Sierra Leone

Things are looking up for the media in Sierra Leone. For decades journalists have been harassed by a colonial-era law that created the offence of criminal libel. And as recently as four months ago this section was used against a journalist and publisher who spent 50 days in detention before being freed on bail. Then, last week, the country’s President, Julius Maada Bio, signed the death certificate of the section used against the media, a step already begun in July when some members of parliament repealed this part of the law.

When Sierra Leone’s president, Julius Maada Bio, delivered the final blow to his country’s long outdated Public Order Act last week, he also took a strong step towards entrenching free speech and creating a vital, free media.

Sierra Leone scraps ban on pregnant schoolgirls going to school

In a major policy shift, the government of Sierra Leone this week announced that it had agreed to change the law and allow pregnant schoolgirls to continue attending school. The issue has divided society in that country, with the previous government taking a strong stand against mothers-to-be being permitted to go on attending lessons in mainstream schools. However, the new government that took office about two years ago has shown itself willing to make changes on the issue.

Read government announcement

Link to AfricanLII story on ECOWAS Court decision 

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