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‘Respect the 1991 Constitution’

- CSOs caution President Koroma and VP Sumana

March 17, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi

President Koroma and his Vice President Sam Sumana
President Koroma and his Vice President Sam Sumana

As watchdogs of democratic governance, justice and security in Sierra Leone, 14 civil society organisations have urged President Ernest Bai Koroma and Vice President Alhaji Abubakarr Sidikie Sam-Sumana to work within the framework of the law and oaths they swore to, to serve the interest of the people.

The CSOs, including Institute for Governance Reform (IGR), Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL), Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD), Center for Coordination of Youth Activities (CCYA), Society for Democratic Initiatives (SDI), and Civil Society Movement (CSM), stated in a press release issued on Sunday 15 March, 2015 that they have followed the unfolding events with regards the vice president and the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party and were gravely concerned by the rising political tension which poses a threat to the peace and security of Sierra Leone’s emerging democracy.

“We are particularly concerned about events in the last two weeks which culminated in His Excellency the Vice President reportedly fleeing his residence where he has been quarantined for the last 19 days to seek asylum at the U.S. government. We urge both parties to be focused on their sacred duties and refrain from prioritizing internal party political struggle over the welfare, peace and security of the people they have sworn to serve,” the CSOs noted. “While the undersigned organizations cannot, and do not intend to interfere into the internal politics of any political party, there is sufficient reason to be concerned about the implications of the ongoing impasse for peace, security, social stability and constitutional order in Sierra Leone.

“It is because of these experiences, and knowing our country’s recent history, that we urgently appeal to His Excellency the President in particular, as Head of State, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and currently, Minister of Defence, to address this impasse between himself and the Vice President and the Vice President and the All People’s Congress party to avoid unnecessary pressure on poor citizens who are already facing very difficult times. There are still worrisome numbers of Ebola reported cases especially in Freetown.”

The consortium of CSOs also implored all parties in the ongoing impasse to respect the country’s constitution, be an example of political tolerance, use due process of the law to address their concerns if necessary, and above all, respect the offices of the President and Vice President of Sierra Leone.

“While we remain open to support all parties to bring the impasse to closure, we call on His Excellency the President and the Vice President to show leadership through amicably resolving their issue and allowing order to prevail,” the group beseeched. “We also urge both parties and the rest of Sierra Leone to refocus our attention to the fight against Ebola and address recommendation of the Auditor General’s report. We also call on the international community to continue to provide needed support to political parties and help these institutions undergo reforms to be capable agencies in managing change and internal democracy.”

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