CAN Concerned over the Seeming Politicisation of Parliamentary Processes
Democracy | Rule of Law
Citizens Advocacy Network
23278246328 | 23278102030
48 Siaka Stevens Street
Freetown | Sierra Leone
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE
The Honourable Speaker of Parliament
CONCERN OVER THE SEEMING POLITICISATION OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCESSES
The Citizens Advocacy Network is greatly pleased to have the breath of diversity that our Parliament shows. It is however, distressed by the many worrying episodes that have characterised this all important people's conduit.
From the outset, even your assumption into office as Speaker was marred with contentious flair and political groundstanding which left a seemingly bad precedent for our fledgling democracy. To add to the already precarious situation, appointments of some officials into office (a case in point is the appointment of the Anti Corruption Commissioner) did not go without the highhandedness of the minority voice which walloped the resounding majority in parliament.
As if that was not enough, of recent, after a much heated and condensed outcry over the plethora of issues catalogued in the Government Transition Team Report, a recommendation for a Commission of Inquiry to look into the corruption allegations of the erstwhile government was strongly affirmed. Though no room was created for inclusion of neutral voices like Civil Society Organisations, Religious Bodies and the Media (as independent watchdogs) in the process of stock-taking, the report was yet allowed to stand for all the harsh realities that need no formal telling. Corruption is a terror to our survival, hence, no well-meaning Sierra Leone should ever baby-sit it.
However, having pardoned, the errors of the said Team, it was expected that the Statutory Instrument that should outline the processes and procedures guiding the said inquiry to be adequately debated in the well of parliament to ensure it has the true reflection and aspirations of the majority of Sierra Leoeneans represented in parliament to ascertain fairness in the inquisitorial process. It jittered citizens that a Common Law stance was taken to deprive the said instrument of being debated on account of procedural niceties or orders. While the issue did beg the equitable part of your discretion, the instrument was again allowed to lay in parliament for a period that it will not see the possibility of any debate or scrutiny. This does not send a healthy signal of our governance system.
Mr. Speaker, for the first time, in the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic, our parliament has been textured with more political parties than ever before. This shows that our nascent democracy is taking deep roots. Hence, widening the political space and accommodating differing opinions is key to ensuring stability and peaceful coexistence.
Mr. Speaker, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report captured issues of: stifling free speech, suffocating parliamentary processes, using gimmicks to goal-score for the executive and the absence of justice to have led to the breakdown of our society. We must always remember that politicking has been a major cause for the snail's pace at which we are moving as a nation. Let Parliament do its job having its allegiance only to the people of this nation and not political parties.
Parliament has the omni-authority to make laws amongst other duties, pursuant to section 105 Act No.6 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone. Other duties may include oversight and reviews of the work of the Executive. It must never allow itself to fit into the unripened opinions of playing on the lap of the Executive.
We entreat you Sir, to use your good offices as Speaker of our honourable Parliament to allow the needful debates that should assure us of peace, stability and social cohesion. May the grace of good conscience, equity and nationalism always abide with you.
Thomas Moore Conteh
Citizens Advocacy Network
Leaders of Parliament
Civil Society Organisations