Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) with support from Action Aid Sierra Leone (AASL) is calling on President Julius Maada Bio to immediately resume the Constitutional Review process as they are obvious of the fact that the importance of a progressive constitution that guarantees equality and citizens’ most basic rights cannot be overemphasized.
Executive Director, Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, Ibrahim Tommy pointed out that the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone does not make adequate provisions for redress especially when it comes to sensitive matters that border on the general good of Sierra Leoneans.
“The 1991 Constitution is too weak to adjudicate certain matters, and it is not progressive neither responsive to the needs of Sierra Leoneans,” he believed.
Tommy explained that sometimes back, the people of Sierra Leone did consent that there are many gaps or pitfalls in the 1991 Constitution which prompted the need for a review of the aforementioned constitution.
He stated that after the Peter Tucker Constitutional Review Committee finished its work, former President Koroma set up a fresh 80 member Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) with the mandate to review in a transparent, participatory and inclusive manner the Peter Tucker’s document, however, the final report of the review containing recommendations for four chapters and a total of 132 proposed amendments that was presented to the President Koroma’s government was treated with no seriousness.
He recalled that President Bio in his remarks at the State Opening of Parliament in May of this year did states thus:
“In the New Direction, Government will commit itself to adhere to the rule of law and institutional reforms to maintain law and order in society. This will means I will lead by example, demonstrating the necessary discipline to refrain from acting unconstitutionally and scrupulously respecting the rule of law in the best interest of national development and stability. Therefore, we endeavor to…examine the recommendations of the Constitutional Review Commission and the accompanying White Paper with a view to giving effect to them as much as is practicable.”
He (Tommy) is obvious of the fact that there is nothing concrete going on, on the side of government in view of looking into constitutional review process, they (CARL and AASL) are calling on the government of President Bio to fulfill the promise he has made to the people of this country.
He reiterated that if President Bio really means well for the people of Sierra Leone, he will put together a solid constitution that will serve the needs and aspirations of Sierra Leoneans.
“The compromise of state institutions stems from the fact that at the time the 1991 Constitution was put together the drafters did not figure out that there should be adequate independence of state institutions from being controlled by the powers that be especially when it comes to the mode of appointment,” he avowed.
He did express hope that with continuous advocacy by CARL and other likeminded institutions and support of the media, government could be pressured to adhere to these concerns as they are being raised.