June 1, 2017 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The Sierra Leone chapter of the Africa Rising Movement has threatened to resist any vote rigging in the upcoming, March 7th, 2018 multitier elections.
On Thursday, May 225th, 2017, non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Sierra Leone joined over forty countries across the world to launch the ‘Africa Rising Movement Chapter,’ a new initiative championed by NGOs and CSOs.
The Africans Rising Movement is a pan-African social justice movement made up of Non-governmental Organisations and Civil Society Organisations across the African continent and the Diaspora, who are coming together for the promotion of justice, peace and dignity on the continent.
In his declaration of purpose and demands of the initiative, Executive Director, Centre for Coordination of Youth Activities (CCYA), Ngolo Katta, said the movement is meant for young people, and that the initiative was derived by Africans who met in Tanzania to discuss challenges facing the continent.
Also, Director of Renaissance Movement, Francis Ben Kalifala, said Africa Rising Movement was not far away from the things that brought them together, because as a movement, they believed in the rule of law and assured of his commitment in working with the movement to make sure Africans and Sierra Leoneans rise again.
He said Sierra Leone was joining other forty countries in the world to launch the ‘Africa Rising Movement Chapter initiative and called on the attendants and young people to come out and contribute and bring to end things that were negatively affecting the country.
During the launch of the initiative, participants demanded among other things, the expansion of space for civic and political action, democratic space and the right of citizens to enjoy the freedoms of association, expression and assembly, thus calling for the repeal of the 1965 criminal libel law.
They also agreed to defend women’s rights and freedoms across society by criminalizing early child marriage, female genital mutilation, rape and gender based violence, adding that they would resist any sex for grades, academic pursuit and career advancement at all levels.
They further demanded that national and local council budgets and polices should be gender responsive, thus promising to put youth at the centre of public life and ensure that the leadership profile of their institutions reflect the demographic realities of their continent.
They again promised to make education available, accessible, affordable and safe for all, thus demanding decent work and a living wage for all labour and make quality healthcare available, accessible, and affordable and safe for all- reduce maternal and child mortality in Africa, dignity for all physically challenged Sierra Leoneans.
The group of NGOs and CSOs further demanded strong political actions on all Sierra Leone Auditor General’s Reports to date, and also end the collusion between government and business that allows illicit financial outflows from Africa and Sierra Leone.
They also demanded that government should transform the crisis of climate change into an opportunity by engaging in an African wide energy revolution that powers the continent on clean, safe, affordable and renewable energy.
“Government should promote a clean Sierra Leone and stop environmental injustice and degradation of the climate and environment for selfish capitalist interests. They should also stop land grabbing from indigenous people for mining and agro businesses and ensure fair access to and control over land,” they demanded.