March 30, 2015
We, members of the Civil Society Movement Sierra Leone (CSM-SL), have been following with grave concern recent political developments taking place in our country. On Friday 6 March 2015 the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party expelled the sitting Vice President, Alhaji Chief Samuel Sam Sumana, from the party for various allegations ranging from anti-party activities to deceit and falsehood. Following the party’s action, the President, Ernest Bai Koroma, dismissed the Vice President, Chief Samuel Sam Sumana, from office. These events heighten political tensions and brew the feeling of constitutional uncertainty across the country, particularly in the capital city, Freetown. Vice President Sam Sumana did not agree to his sacking, an action he considered to be unconstitutional. He has, therefore, resorted to the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone to seek redress by way of interpretation of the constitution of Sierra Leone 1991.
CSM-SL is very concerned with these developments, which are not only extremely worrying for all Sierra Leoneans to whom Sovereignty belong, and with whose franchise all elective public officials, including President and Vice President, acquire their legitimacy and authority. CSM-SL views very seriously these developments to have the propensity of reversing all the gains that we have made as a country over the years and plunge us into the abyss of conflicts and self- destruction. We are basking in peace today because we worked very hard to restore peace and security to our country. Hundreds of thousands of people, both Sierra Leoneans and non-Sierra Leoneans alike, lost their lives in the process of making this happen. We, therefore, owe it to them. We owe them the strongest of responsibility, to maintain the peace and security for which they sacrificed their lives, and the people of Sierra Leone are looking forward to continued peace and security throughout the country.
In view of the above, and in view of the fact that the matter has now been referred to the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone for constitutional interpretation, CSM-SL is urging members of the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone and all other authorities that have tasks to perform in the determination of this matter to do so speedily and for the PUBLIC GOOD. This is a defining moment in the annals of both the political and judicial history of the country. The people of this country, and, indeed, the whole world are looking forward to the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone to deal with this matter without fear or favour. They should be aware that the future well-being, peace and cohesiveness of the nation largely depend on them. We encourage them to be guided by the spirit and letter of the law, love of country above all else and the interest of the citizens of our beloved country, in the discharge of their duties.
Also, in a similar vein, CSM-SL is concerned about the press statement issued by the Sierra Leone Police dated Monday 23 March 2015 which outlined a retinue of measures that have the potential to infringe on the rights and freedoms of citizens, especially, when it is enforced in a selective manner. We are not oblivious of the critical role of the police and other security outfits in maintaining law and order in situations of this nature. But we abhor and unequivocally condemn any attempt by the police and any other law enforcement agency to use the present situation to deny the citizens of this country their rights to occupy their space and make their voices heard within the realm of the law. The police should be reminded that critical voices are the lubricant that makes the wheels of democracy roll on. We, therefore, call on them to exercise maximum restraint in the performance of their duties; and on all Sierra Leoneans to conduct themselves within the ambit of the law.
Finally, we at CSM-SL still consider the complete eradication of the Ebola Virus Disease from the entire length and breadth of the country as a high priority issue. We MUST not allow the current political climate to dampen down our efforts towards achieving and maintaining zero Ebola infectious. Let us don’t forget that the EVD started with one single case of infection and a single case of new infection remains dangerous and can likely degenerate to an uncontrollable epidemic to handle. Sierra Leone is now at the residual stage in the fight to contain and eradicate the disease. So there is no time to relax, but to step up efforts to completely wipe it out, and then to hold accountable all those entrusted with resources to do so.
Davidson A. Kuyateh
Chairman, Civil Society Movement Sierra Leone