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WACSOF calls for inter-city demo

March 25, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi

The West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) Sierra Leone platform says it will be organising peaceful demonstrations in cities across the country as a way of registering their disapproval over the controversial sacking of the vice president by President Ernest Bai Koroma.

In a press release issued by WACSOF yesterday in apparent reaction to a public notice put out by the Sierra Leone Police (on 23rd March 2015) against illegal public gathering and protest, the organisation reminded the SLP that “as civil society charged with the mandate of maintaining rule of law and good governance in the country”, they’ll be organizing peaceful marches to call for the due process of the law to be followed in the current constitutional imbroglio that has generated a lot of public attention and comments.

The group maintained that ever since President Koroma took the “unprecedented action” to relieve his vice, Alhaji Chief Samuel Sam-Sumana, of his position, a lot of debates have been engendered with several civil society organizations and political parties issuing statements in condemnation of the action of the president.

However, a few civil society groups have backed the president’s decision as having legal merit.

“WACSOF Sierra Leone, which has the mandate to create the avenue through which CSOs can constructively engage with the authorities at the national level as well as the institutions of the ECOWAS system, views this constitutional crisis as unfortunate in the light of Sierra Leone’s recent history,” the group noted. “The country’s capacity to resolve this crisis through due process is on serious test. We urge that pressure be brought to bear on all the parties to the constitutional crisis to accede their obligations, in particular under the ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance as adopted in December 2001 by the Heads of State and Government as supplementary to the protocol relating to the mechanism to conflict prevention, management, resolution, peacekeeping and security.”

CSO leaders at a meeting in Freetown called on the authorities to, among other things, lift the State of Emergency and to maintain neutrality and professionalism in the conduct of the Sierra Leone people, and to allow citizens to express their democratic rights unhindered.

“We shall be organizing a peaceful march in cities across Sierra Leone as a way of registering our position for due process of the law [to be followed]. We are also urging ECOWAS, AU, the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court to work closely with civil society in monitoring and documenting the key drivers of conflict for accountability.

“As we prepare to file a petition to the Supreme Court on this matter, we encourage our CSO members across the county and partners in the West Africa region to rally round this course and have a common approach to resolve the issues within the framework of the constitution,” the group concluded.