‘Government is ineffective without opposition’ says ABC Executive Director
The Executive Director of the Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat has disclosed that no government will effectively function and succeed without the support of the opposition. (Photo: Dr. Ivan Agibola Thomas lecturing on the Role of the Opposition in Parliament)
Dr. Ivan Ajibola Thomas made this statement at the Kenema District Council Hall on Monday 7th January 2012; being the opening day of a month-long post election campaign of the ABC Secretariat bordering on democracy, good governance and political tolerance.
The ABC boss was delivering a lecture on the topic ‘the role of the opposition in parliament and the importance of political tolerance’ when he pointed out that the opposition is as equally important as the government, noting that acknowledging this fact is the only way forward for national cohesion and development.
He said it is no gainsaying the fact that the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) immensely contributed to the five years success of the All People’s Congress (APC) led Government of Sierra Leone.
“The SLPP proved to be a vibrant opposition by putting the government on its toes on issues that border on national development,” he said, noting that the opposition challenged the government on issues and even staged parliamentary walk-outs in order for their voices to be heard.
He said acceptance and respect are the major components of political tolerance.
“While the government in power should be willing to accept and respect the opposition, the opposition should also realize that it is a must to accept and respect the government,” he pointed out, adding that respect and acceptance of the rights and responsibilities of the government and opposition will enhance democracy, good governance and development.
Acceptance of elections results, he emphasized, is a major attribute of political tolerance.
Dr. Thomas however noted that the opposition should not abuse its rights and responsibilities. “The opposition must only challenge the government and ask questions on pertinent issues that border on national interest,” he said. The opposition, he continued, must not only concentrate on criticizing the government of the day but must endeavor to provide alternative ideas.
He reminded the audience that the recently concluded general elections were not only widely acclaimed as free, fair, transparent and credible, but were further described as the best elections since Sierra Leone gained independence in 1961.
“It is therefore compulsory for all to accept the results and recognize the legitimacy of the current government that was elected by the majority of Sierra Leoneans,” he said.
The outcome of the past elections, he continued, should be seen as a victory for all Sierra Leoneans, noting that the time to work as a united force to move this country forward is now.
Delivering a lecture on democracy, good governance and citizenship, the National Coordinator cum Second-in-Command of the ABC Secretariat, Nanette Thomas started off by condemning those political parties that only appear during election periods and disappear afterwards. She also slammed politicians that keep moving from one political party to the other.
Ms. Thomas stated that it is an open secret that lawlessness has overtaken law and order in the country. According to her, lawlessness of various forms is the order of the day in modern day Sierra Leone.
Highlighting some of the daily lawless behaviors of Sierra Leoneans, Ms Thomas said civil servants who turn up late for work are lawless; those who sit in their offices and do nothing but receive salaries at the end of the month are lawless; teachers who refuse to teach pupils only to conduct extra classes on Saturdays for a fee are lawless; police officers who fail to enforce the law are lawless; citizens who refuse to pay tax are lawless; market woman who believe that they have to leave the market stalls and come to the street to sell their wares are lawless, and among others, prisons officers who allow prisoners to escape are lawless.
“If we don’t put ourselves together and turn our backs from lawlessness we will never achieve good governance, democracy and development,” she pointed out. Ms Thomas emphasized that there is no excuse for being lawless and corrupt, while calling on all to embrace positive attitudes.
“In as much as the opposition should not be seen as a toothless bulldog, it should also not be seen as sowing seeds of discord in society,” she said, adding that both the opposition and the government should be cognizant of the fact that Sierra Leone existed prior to the formation of any political party.
According to her, Sierra Leone belongs to us all and it is the responsibility of Sierra Leonean citizens to take charge of their country.
“If we don’t take charge and move our country forward, we will have only ourselves to blame in the future,” she intimated, adding: “Whether we like it or not we all have to change our bad attitudes”.
Courtesy of ABC Communications Unit
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