Early this year, President Ernest Bai Koroma, using his “Supreme Executive Authority” fired erstwhile Vice President, Alhaji Sam Sumana from office.
The term “Supreme Executive Authority” was so vague that it sparked lots of controversies in public sphere; eventually the issue was settled by judicial interpretation of the term.
However, Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) are now calling for an expulsion of the term from our law book.
The Civil Society position paper questions Section 40(1) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, which confers Supreme Executive Authority on the President.
Civil Society asked, “Is the said section merely descriptive or does it confer real powers to be exercised by the president?”
Giving the ambiguities of the term, Civil Society had seen the Constitutional Review Process as “an opportunity to protect the future by clearing all ambiguities and loopholes.”
Yesterday, Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) presented two position papers. The first position paper is a Civil Society position paper which was developed by over 150 CSOs nationwide, including coalitions such as National Coalition for Extractive (NACE) and National Elections Watch (NEW); and the second one is a Citizen’s position paper which captured the views of 1,600 ordinary Sierra Leoneans nationwide on key provisional amendments they wish to see integrated in the new constitution.
In the Civil Society Position paper, the thematic areas that were critically examined are: the fundamental principles of state policy; separation of powers and the rule of law which focuses on the executive and the judiciary; gender, women’s rights and citizenship; chieftaincy and local government; the role of parliament; democracy and elections; civic education; natural resources, land and environment.
In her statement, CGG’s Executive Director, Valnora Edwin explained that the journey started in December 2013 and since it is a public document they ensured that it is all inclusive and received greater participation. “This is Sierra Leone and we have our own values, most of these are reflective of what we want to see in the document.”
Receiving the document, Chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), Justice Edmond Cowan said 98% of the recommendations presented are the same.
“Your proposals are not new; you’ve underpinning what others have said. You’ve come up with something which is on the lips of the people,” he pointed out.