SLAJ concerned over political tension in the country


March 26, 2015 

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) is aware of the political tension arising out of the All People’s Congress (APC) party dismissing Alhaji Sam-Sumana and President Koroma consequently “relieving” his Vice President (Alhaji Sam-Sumana) of his duties.

SLAJ is concerned about the serious and fundamental issues raised about the constitutionality or non-constitutionality of the actions being taken by the President, which has provoked widespread public disaffection.

SLAJ notes that lawyers for Alhaji Sam-Sumana have filed papers for a Supreme Court hearing on the issue. SLAJ urges all affected, parties, groups or individuals who feel so aggrieved; to follow the “due process of the law.”

SLAJ therefore calls on the Chief Justice and other Judges on the Supreme Court bench to speedily dispense with this case.

“The Chief Justice and Supreme Court Judges must be aware that they are themselves now in the court of public opinion, and the nation now looks up to them to do the right thing for God and Country” said SLAJ President Kelvin Lewis.

SLAJ therefore wishes to remind the Chief Justice and other Justices of the Supreme Court that the future of our country’s democracy, in terms of separation of powers and respect for the constitution now rests squarely in their hands, and whatever ruling they give will be judged by posterity.

SLAJ is aware of its duties and responsibilities to the people of Sierra Leone to uphold free speech and expression and hold our leaders to account. We therefore call on all media practitioners to give voice to all shades of opinion in our newspapers and over our radio stations on this issue while being civil and neutral in our reporting.

SLAJ is seriously concerned about the application of the Emergency Regulations by the Sierra Leone Police. We note that political party activists in party colours were allowed to process the streets and gather in large numbers, with no arrests made; yet the same Police moved in and disrupted the meeting of the Sierra Leone Bar Association, which we understand does not fall under “public meetings” as the Emergency Regulations require.

It is for this reason that SLAJ being gravely concerned about the application of the Emergency Regulations, which clearly now appear to be very selective, calls on Parliament to immediately lift the State of Emergency, as it no longer seem to apply to Ebola containment.