After an extensive debate on Thursday 30th March, 2017 relating to the Private Member’s Motion moved and seconded by Hon. Sualiho M. Koroma and Hon. Dickson Rogers respectively on the four constitutional and statutory instruments tabled in Parliament on Thursday 16th March 2017 by the Deputy Minister of Justice, John Arrow Bockarie, the Rt. Hon. Speaker of the House, SBB Dumbuya has ruled, cognizant of the proposition made by the Minority Leader, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai and supported by the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Leonard Fofanah, that the motion remains inconclusive, pending the summoning of the officials of NEC on Monday 03rd April 2017 to explain to MPs on the electoral preparedness within the confines of the constitutive laws of Sierra Leone.
Hon. Koroma moved that “be it resolved that the statutory instruments laid by the Deputy Minister of Justice be annulled or reviewed in line with Section 38(5) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone” relating to the review of wards and constituencies for the next elections, in his view the action of NEC is in serious “breach of procedures outlined in the supreme laws of the land”.
Section 38(5) of the 1991 Constitution states that “where the boundaries of any constituency are altered in accordance with provisions of this section, that alteration shall come into effect upon the next dissolution of Parliament after the alteration has been approved by Parliament”.
In seconding the motion, Hon. Dickson Rogers said that some villages in his constituency were not mapped or captured in the data of NEC, which he said is also affecting the current voter registration process in Pujehun.
Hon. Ansumana Kaikai said that the Constitution of Sierra Leone transcends all other laws, including statutory instruments, having regard that they could be annulled by two-thirds of votes cast by MPs. He called on NEC to do the right thing as contained in the Constitution, whilst saying that the current voter registration process is characterized with a lot of flaws.
Hon. Claude Kamanda, Chief Whip of Parliament referred MPs to Section 170(7) that the statutory instrument relating to the creation of two new districts has become law, having certified the due process of law. He also noted that the two new districts are not being provided for by NEC in the forthcoming elections.
Hon. Paran Tarawally said that NEC should revert to the use of the existing data for the 112-Constituencies, instead of the proposed 132-Constituencies that is posing problems, with the view of not “tampering with the proclaimed elections dates on the 07th March, 2018”.
Hon. Chernor Bah said that the Constitution is supreme and that it must be respected, citing Section 38(4) that the review of the constituencies must be done before elections are held. He also said that these instruments were published on the 15th and tabled in Parliament on the 16th March 2017. He furthered that to revert to the old order is “not practicable because of increase in population” saying that “Parliament will not allow the executive to muzzle or force the House to do what is wrong, in spite of the announcement of proclaimed elections dates”.
Hon. Solomon Sengepoh blamed NEC for commitment “deliberate errors” and called on them to do the right thing. He also warned that “Parliament cannot afford an extension of the slated elections dates”.
Hon. Paramount Chief, Bai Kurr Kanagbaro recalled when makeshift electoral arrangements were used in consultations and agreement with political parties and the international community during the days of instability in the country, citing the PR and the District Block systems that were used in 1996 and 2002 elections.
Hon. Dr. Lahai recalled that the 2004 census was used for the conduct of the 2007 and 2008 general elections, and its projections for the 2012 general elections. She decried NEC for poor financial inducements to voter registration officials that are highly constrained in the fields. She also proposed that NEC be summoned to explain their preparedness to MPs in line with established laws and to address the concerns raised by MPs.
Hon. Leonard Fofanah shared similar sentiments expressed and informed the House that Mannoh village in his constituency has been lifted to another, whilst saying that “principles should be kept and laws implemented to the letter”. He agreed that “NEC be summoned to Parliament to explain its activities within the remit of established laws embedded in the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul
The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th IPRA conference in Turkey, at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th IPRA conference in Istanbul to serve a second term of two years.
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, April 20, 2017/ -- Four illegal fishing cases have been found during a joint surveillance mission conducted by Greenpeace (www.Greenpeace.org/Africa/en) and Sierra Leone fishery authorities. Two Chinese vessels and one Korean vessel have been arrested for infringements of Sierra Leone fishing legislation, including possessing or using illegal fishing nets on board, no visible marking and a lack of required paperwork, including log books and authorisation for unloading catch. Fishing authorities ordered the vessels to return to Freetown port for further investigation. A fourth vessel, owned by an Italian company, was found with four kilograms of shark fins on board. Though not illegal under Sierra Leonean laws, this is a clear violation of European Union (EU) fishing rules. This boat’s case will be taken further with relevant EU authorities.
In addition, more than 70 bags of shark carcasses were found on one of the Chinese vessels.
Press freedom has come under severe attack in West Africa as security agencies, particularly the police, appear to be on rampage against journalists and media workers. In a space of 38 days (January 5-February 12, 2017), 30 media workers have been arrested, detained and/or assaulted by security forces, prompting fears that the gains that have been made in recent years on press freedom and freedom of expression could be eroded.
The 30 victims, made up of 15 journalists and 15 media technicians, were arrested, detained and/or assaulted in 10 separate incidents in four countries namely Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Togo. Nigeria recorded six incidents, Cote d’Ivoire recorded two incidents while Guinea and Togo recorded an incident each.
In Nigeria, seven journalists were arrested and detained during the period. In Cote d’Ivoire, six journalists were arrested and detained in a single incident while one journalist each was affected in Guinea and Togo, bringing the total number of journalists affected to 15. In respect of the other media workers, nine staff of a newspaper printing firm were arrested in single incident. In Cote d’Ivoire, six technicians working with the state-owned television station were also arrested in a single incident.
A NEW DAWN FOR JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN SIERRA LEONE, PARLIAMENT APPROVES MELRON NICOL-WILSON AS NEW OMBUDSMAN
The Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone has overwhelmingly approved the appointment of Mr Melron Nicol-Wilson as new Ombudsman, on Tuesday April 11, 2017. This follows him being named by H.E President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma as the replacement to Justice Edmond Cowan - a long-standing legal icon, who now chairs the Sierra Leone Constitutional Review Committee.
A man whose action speaks louder than words, Mr Nicol-Wilson has been appointed as new Ombudsman for Sierra Leone, a position reserved for high-profile people, who are well-respected and with unblemished character. Mr Nicol-Wilson has the typical pedigree of an Ombudsman, best known both in Sierra Leone and internationally as a champion for justice and human rights.
The Parliament’s decision to approve Mr Nicol-Wilson was anticipated, as the high-profile human rights lawyer emerged unscathed from an exchange of views with Members of Parliament.
(The thoughts expressed in this article are purely and entirely the thoughts of the author)
Election in any democratic setting, include the enjoyment of those rights that will elicit the full participation of individuals in determining the political life of his/her country. An election is a decision making process through which eligible citizens(those who have reached the age of majority, 18 years and above and with sound mind) freely choose their leaders through the ballot box to hold public offices for a specified term.
Generally, people vote with the expectation that the office holders would represent their communitiesand or countries best interest. Elections are viewed as a central feature of the rule of law, human rights, and democracy. Essentially, election is a testimony to peoples’ sovereignty and that ought to be respected and the process must be credible, otherwise there will be challenge with regards the acceptance of the result.
The Parliament of Sierra Leone has on Thursday 20th April 2017 unanimously voted for the deferment of debate on the Bill entitled “The Finance Act 2017”, pending a pre-legislative briefing and that it should be piloted by the substantive Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Momodu Kargbo.
Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader of the House who moved the motion explained the importance of the Finance Bill that it provides for the sources of revenue for Government in respect of taxation. She furthered that the pre-legislative hearing will clearly explain the reductions, additions, and significant changes that have been included in the Finance Act of 2017 to Members of Parliament, who will better articulate issues connected thereto during the course of the debate.
The Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament, SBB Dumbuya said that “judging from the significance of the Bill, it should be preceded by a pre-legislative briefing” as per the dictates of parliamentary practices and procedures.
The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles and other staff of the Freetown Office have paid an on the spot visit to the Legal Aid Board Office in Waterloo where they interacted with clients. There were twenty-two clients with women accounting for the majority.
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles spoke to some of the clients about their complaints majority of which were maintenance cases. She also touched on the quality of service provided by the staff. She assured that they will received the same quality of service asclients in the Freetown Office and other parts of the country where the scheme has got an office. ‘You have to be patient with us because we do have enough staff to service you all at the same time but we will continue to do our best with the resources at our disposal,’ she assured them.
The Defence Counsel, Lawyer Tholley and Paralegals Arnold Dixon and GibrilJallohbriefed the Ms. Carlton-Hanciles and team on the volume of cases received per day. Ms. Carlton-Hanciles assured that steps are being taken to improve the office with furniture, computers, fan and air conditioners. ‘There is need to improve the working environment for you and our clients as the numbers accessing the scheme continue to increase,’ she said.
PRESS RELEASE: Rural Renewable Energy Project Conducts Installation Training
FREETOWN, 19 April 2017: UNOPS Sierra Leone is hosting a training for selected installation companies, in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy, the President’s Recovery Priorities (PRP) programme and United Kingdom Government’s Department for International Development (DFID – also known as ‘UK Aid’).
The theoretical aspect of the training runs from 18th to 20thApril at the Golden Tulip Hotel, followed by 14 days of on-the-job sessionsin Petifu and Conakry Dee communities, in Port Loko District.ASACO, the supplier of the solar equipment, is providing the training facilitators and installation tools.
Participants are mainly Sierra Leonean engineers from Barefoot Women Solar Engineers Association (BWSEA),Frontier Business Solutions (FBS) and APTECH Africa Limited. Training contents include, photovoltaic (PV) system basics, types of solar systems, arrays and connections, project safety and guidance on using the installation checklists.
Former elected Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana left Freetown International Airport, Lungi late afternoon Wednesday April 19, 2017 onboard Kenya Airways on an "Emergency Travel Certificate", en route to Abuja, Nigeria on or about April 23/24, 2017 for the hearing of his petition filed on October 24, 2016 in the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, "seeking an enforcement of his fundamental Human Rights arising from his unconstitutional removal from office, and for further orders contained in the application."
"This matter has been set down for hearing by the Court for April 26, 2017."
According to a spokesman for the Sam Sumana family Matthias Bendu who was with Sam Sumana at the airport until the aircraft was airborne because of advanced information reaching the family that there would be some problem awaiting Sam Sumana at the airport, Matthias Bendu told this Writer on the cellphone from the airport that Sam Sumana "was detained by Immigration Officers at the airport for more than thirty minutes after the aircraft landed, and it was due to the intervention of the Inspector General of Police Francis Munu who told the immigration Officers that Sam Sumana had not committed any crime and must be allowed to travel".