Warning against Referendum Before 2018
When I visited Moyamba Town, recently, I had the opportunity to talk with the Member of Parliament for constituency 81, Hon. James Alie who strictly warned the Government of Sierra Leone not to entertain any of idea of holding a referendum before the scheduled 2018 polls.
Giving reasons for his stance, the Member of Parliament expressed the justifiable fear any referendum now will bear the highest propensity to alter the 2018 general elections timetable as time is no longer in the favor of such a move.
He pointed out that the Sierra Leone Constitution clearly states that no major clause of the national constitution should be changed four months to general elections, making it almost impossible for government to hold a referendum at this nick of time without tampering with the 2018 timetable.
Alie furthered that government needs enough time to sensitize the people on the issues of referendum before embarking on it and such time is no longer in the favor of government as the elections are less than a year away.
The SLPP MP suggested that government should wait after 2018 before thinking about holding a referendum on major constitutional matters, especially when the government is now facing financial constraints and holding referendum involves plenty money. He recommended that government maintains holding the elections based on the 1991 constitution.
I am inclined to support the arguments of Alie as they are so clear to the extent that their logicality can be seen by even a blind man.
Now that government is struggling to finance the electoral process, it will be very unwise on its part to take up the extra financial burden of holding a referendum.
The Government of Sierra Leone must be mindful of the fact that any attempt on its part to thwart the 2018 electoral timetable will have negative consequences on our democratic dispensation; the opposition will sure view it to be a calculated attempt by the ruling government to procrastinate its tenure of office and that can be a recipe for political unrest.
It is no longer a secret that most Sierra Leoneans are groaning under the bondage of chronic hardship created by the alarming poverty that has relegated this potentially rich nation to the annals of the UN development index; many are fed up with flagrant corrupt practices now characterizing our governance system and, hence, are yearning for a change of regime through the ballot box with the optimism that a new government may better their lot.
It will, therefore, be politically perilous for the government to deprive them of the chance to elect a new government.
In view of the foregoing, I am advising President Koroma not to encourage any group of people who suggest ideas that bear the potential to obstruct the 2018 elections which the impoverished and suffering masses want to use to usher in a change.
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