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Democracy-SL celebrates Democracy Day

September 16, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura

Democracy Sierra Leone (D-SL) yesterday celebrated International Democracy Day with the theme ‘Constitutional Review Process and its way forward’ at an event hosted at Parliament.

Coordinator of D-SL, Alhaji Mohamed Warisay, said the country was proud to be part of democratic societies across the world and that democracy and constitutional order were taking hold in Sierra Leone.

He said the United Nations believes that human rights and the rule of law are best protected in democratic societies.

He disclosed that International Democracy Day was set aside by a resolution of the General Assembly in 2007 for democracies around the world, and that the day can be used to reflect on the challenges and successes of democratic nations.

“This is a day to do big things that will consolidate our democracy. This is a day to reflect and look at our challenges and find ways to surmount them. Let me on behalf of Democracy Sierra Leone make this call that Christians go to church on Sundays come rain or shine because they believe. They believe in a book even though they never saw the people that wrote it. Muslims go to the mosque on Fridays, come rain or shine, even though they have never seen the prophet that wrote that book because they believe. We have a golden opportunity this time to fix a constitution that our people will continue to use and believe in even after we would have long gone. Let us build our own model of democracy, let us build a system that best serves us,” he urged.

Chairman, National Commission for Democracy, Dr. Abubakarr Kargbo, called for an enabling environment for democracy to thrive in the interest of all and sundry.

He noted that there was no single model of democracy as “democracy does not belong to any country or region but the country should make it work with the peculiar needs of the nation taken into consideration as we continue to work on those essential elements that should make our democracy work very well.”

Dr. Kargbo added that, “As the way forward, my commission is looking forward to a reviewed constitution that makes the people central and integral to the governance process in the country. As a commission that promotes positive participation, NCD looks forward to the people assuming the place and position of influence with sovereignty emanating from and resting in them. This time, the focus should shift from the politicians to the people and establish a framework that can ensure beyond every reasonable doubt that the governors are fully accountable to the governed on a permanent basis, not just during elections.”

The NCD boss further noted: “In the political history of this nation, the country cannot afford to miss it but must get it right not just for this generation but also for posterity. The onus is on every Sierra Leonean to make it work as the future of democracy is dependent on the comprehensive nature of the fundamental law of the land, that is the constitution being reviewed at the moment.”

Speaking on behalf of the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Majority Chief Whip, Hon. Claude D.M. Kamanda, said democracy was both a process and goal, and that only collaboration from the international community, national governing bodies, civil society and individuals could actualise the ideals of democracy.

He said respect for human rights, freedom and the principle of holding free and credible elections by universal suffrage were essential elements of democracy.

“Democracy on the other hand provides the enabling environment for the protection and effective realization of human rights. As a parliament, we have been forthright in  helping to consolidate democracy and good governance by not only upholding constitutional values but also in adhering to proper parliamentary procedures; undoubtedly a relevant ingredients in fostering democracy, good governance and human rights,” he said.

Meanwhile, ahead of global celebrations to mark Democracy Day, a survey report released by Afrobarometer indicated that Sierra Leoneans’ perception of the current democratic trajectory took a 32% decline between the last survey in 2013 and the recent one in June this year.

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