May 2, 2018
A joint high level delegation comprising President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States and the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General has urged the Judiciary to ensure prompt, fair, independent and timely adjudication of all grievances and pending petitions regarding the recently concluded electoral process.
The delegation noted that in view of the urgent need to address the socioeconomic challenges the country is currently experiencing, they strongly urged the political leadership to desist from any action that could undermine state institutions, democratic governance, social cohesion, national unity, peace and stability.
The delegation, including the President of ECOWAS, Mr. Jean Claude Kassi Brou, and Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, were on a four-day visit to Freetown to help the return of normalcy in the Parliament following the dramatic incidents of 25 April, 2018.
During the visit, the delegation held wide consultations with former President Ernest Bai Koroma, the Speaker, Clerk and leadership of Parliament from the ruling and opposition parties, Chair of the Governance Transition Team, religious leaders, members of civil society organisations, members of the Diplomatic Corps, and the United Nations Country Team.
The delegation was also received in audience by His Excellency President Brig. (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio, who was briefed on the discussions held with national stakeholders.
They expressed appreciation for his commitment to a peaceful transition and to pursue Sierra Leone’s goal of sustained socio-economic development.
The delegation said it had fruitful consultations on current political developments and was pleased to note the commitment of all stakeholders towards peace, stability, and development.
They strongly recommended the establishment of effective channels and mechanisms of dialogue to resolve political differences.
They underlined the confidence of ECOWAS and the United Nations in Sierra Leone’s democratic system and its capacity to promote national cohesion through a sustained process of dialogue.
It could be recalled some 68 elected Members of the opposition All Peoples Party (APC) were ejected out of Parliament by armed policemen after they refused to obey a court order or take their seats. Sixteen of the lawmakers – including one from the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party – had injunctions slammed against their participation by the High Court.
While the lone SLPP lawmaker didn’t show up in parliament, his APC counterparts did, and they were joined in solidarity with their ‘comrades’ who refused to take their seat and allow the swearing in ceremony of members to start.
Security forces were eventually called to jettison the misbehaving members out of the Well of Parliament. The remaining members went on to elect Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu and Hon. Segepor Thomas as Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively.
Meanwhile, the main opposition APC has in a press release called on their 68 Members of Parliament and ten District Council Chairpersons to boycott parliament and abstain from all government activities until what they referred to as ‘constitutionality’ is reinstated.