C4C Alarmed At Escalating Divisiveness In Sierra Leone
The Coalition for Change (C4C) Party notes with consternation, the escalating tension and use of anti-terrorist weaponry and ammunition in the streets of the capital city, Freetown, which is tantamount to intimidation of opposition parties.
As a party, we would have hoped that the agenda of the President, in calling for Peace and National Cohesion Conference, was a genuine attempt at bridging the divides he had perceived in the country.
However, with the recent Bintumani Ill Conference in full motion approximately 200 employees were being sacked from a State institution. A matter of days after the conclusion of the said conference, cases relating to petitioned Members of Parliament (MPs) from the last general elections are being concluded, but only those brought forward by supporters of the ruling party are receiving judgement with stringent terms attached.
From the date of commencement of proceedings, Section 78 subsection (2) of the 1991 Constitution clearly demands that; “The High Court to which any question is brought… shall determine the said question and give judgement thereon within four months after the commencement of the proceedings before that Court.” A level playing field should prevail in which all sides are seen to be heard and given their due day in court, and court rulings should not be seen lacking common courtesies.
For instance, MPs who have lost their cases are being asked to repay in 30 days sums remunerated to them over several months, notwithstanding the judgement not being an interlocutory decision, failing to consider their rights of appeal as provided for in the Court ofAppeal Rules of 1985. Moreover, MPs who have been declared winners are being sworn in with immediate effect, effectively ignoring the right of appeal and the Clerk of Parliament administering the Oath of Office on an unperfected judgment thereby ignoring the possible outcomes.
In this regard, the judiciary may be said to be complicit in disadvantaging citizens where they should be seen as an independent arm that contributes positively to national cohesion.
A one party state has left its indelible mark on Sierra Leone as stated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report and other relevant documents, and we should not be seen to condone any action that has the potential to plummet the country into an abyss of mayhem and chaos.
There can be no development without peace, so our Party take this opportunity to appeal to the judiciary to speedily listen to all sides. It is incumbent on all of us to maintain peace and order, but it is paramount that government, the judiciary and the legislature, take the lead in this direction.
The party therefore condemns the absurd behavior of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and are equally admonished to desist from firing multiple rounds of teargas into buildings from which there is no resistance and in which there could be children, elderly and sick people.
Let it be on record that a NATION FIRST approach to governance must see all parties being treated fairly to maintain the rule of law. We cannot get away from being a nation of inter-married people whose lives are interrelated along religious and tribal lines.
In this Holy month of Ramadan, it is imperative that compassion is shown to citizens and we take the time to reflect on our recent past and the need for peaceful coexistence. Sierra Leone will continue to regress if this government does not pursue an agenda of fairness in the country, and if the judiciary and the legislature do not assert their independence.
Our innocent citizens are the ones that will ultimately suffer the most if Sierra Leone is not brought together as one in peace and harmony.
God bless the Coalition for Change Party (C4C)!
God bless the people of this our great nation!
Friday 31 st May, 2019.
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