Tonkolili, Koinadigu and Kambia districts have on Saturday 7th May, 2016, overwhelmingly rejected the recommendations made by the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC).
The three districts are in Team Three of the ongoing Constitution Validation Process undertaken by the CRC. Morlai Conteh, Chairman Information, Communication and Media Sub-committee- CRC confirmed to Awareness Times Newspaper that the team just concluded the seven days validation of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone. The validation meeting ended at the UNIDO Hall, Kambia district.
A comprehensive report published by the Team on 7th May says that there are approval commonalities among the three districts (Koinadugu, Tonkolili and Kambia) on the validation of the draft Constitution. Some of them are: the Supremacy of the President should be maintained; no dual citizenship should be allowed for Presidency; the powers of the President to appoint the Chief Justice should remain as it is in the 1991 Constitution; the office of the Minister of Justice should be separated from the Attorney General; Presidency should be of a negro African descent; Partisan membership should be a pre-entry to Presidency/Vice Presidency, and should remain continuous. Loss of party membership is an automatic loss of Presidency/Vice Presidency; Local Council elections should be held in concurrent with Presidential and Parliamentary elections; Chiefs should be detached from partisan politics which implies their removal from Parliament. There should be a House of Chiefs for the proper preservation of the traditions and customs of Sierra Leone; Death Penalty to be upheld for murder. However, observations were made against politically motivated treason allegations; the inclusion of land, natural resources and the protection of the environment in to the Constitution; Mass support for the inclusion of the Local Government in to the Constitution; State Policy on education should be justiceable. This implies the removal of the clause, ‘as and when possible’; there should be an Independent Media Commission to ensure professional and disciplined journalism. The Chairman should be appointed from within the11 Commissioners; endorsement of 30% Gender representation in governance and endorsement for 50%+1 for Presidential election to avoid violent run-off and the financial cost implications
However, Team One’s validation has proven otherwise. In Bonthe district, Southern Sierra Leone, some recommendations were rejected. Despite that, the district has decided to make the following recommendations: Death penalty must not be abolished from the law books; Councillors’ term must remain 4 years and not 5 years as suggested in the abridged version; Local Government elections must be non-partisan; If Local Government elections are non-partisan, Bonthe district rejected both Local Government and Parliamentary elections to be held concurrently, as it will create confusion conducting partisan and non-partisan elections simultaneously.
Morlai Conteh confirmed that the validation reports are only for the areas mentioned as the CRC is yet to compile all the team’s recommendations, because the process is still ongoing.