CARL calls on gov’t to speedily develop white paper
January 27, 2017 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
The Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL), has called on the government of Sierra Leone to act promptly on the report of the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) that was submitted to President Ernest Bai Koroma early this week.
On July 30, 2013, President Ernest Bai Koroma launched the CRC to review the 1991 constitution as stipulated in Section 108 and recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Lome Peace Accord, and the Sierra Leone Conference on Development and Transformation.
Access to Justice Coordinator, Moses Massa, told newsmen at their Upper Brook Street office yesterday that government was under obligation to swiftly adopt all recommendations in the said report and abandon the one submitted by the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) and other seven moribund political parties.
“Now that the report has been submitted, we urge the government to exclude all extraneous materials from the report and speedily develop a white paper, draft the constitutional bill, and take it to parliament for ultimate approval which will lead the nation to a referendum on the bill,” he said.
The Rights Group also urged government to publicise the report so that the public would be aware of the key issues factored in the draft report and be able make sound decision during the referendum.
Massa said it would show lack of respect if government reject the views of the public who had sacrificed their time, energy and other resources to participate in that process.
“It is unfair and dishonest on the part of the government to accept those annexes submitted by the APC and some dormant political parties because it has not gone through public scrutiny. They are not part of the recommendation and should not be part of the white paper,” he urged.
The Justice Coordinator stated that while they applauded government for acting on one of the recommendations of the TRC, they also note that the recommendations be followed and not be plunged into another round of endless controversy,and that the key recommendation on the executive powers should be accepted as having come from the people.
“We fully recognize the concerns raised by the ruling party and some opposition parties, which were pieced together as an addendum to the report, but we strongly oppose any consideration of such concerns as they have potential of undermining the will of the people,” he emphasized.
It could be recalled that President Koroma told a gathering at the Miatta conference centre that “This is the best way to make the resulting document a true covenant amongst all of us to honour our common aspirations. Good constitutions are not imposed.”