By Sorie Fofana…..
The National Secretary General of the ruling APC Party, Ambassador Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh has been quoted in several news outlets as saying that, the six APC members on the Constitutional Review Committee have refused to sign the draft report on the grounds that “the CRC failed to look at grey areas and address the concerns raised by the people during the validation exercise”. Who are those people whose concerns were not captured in the draft report? Just Ambassador Yansaneh and a few of his APC Godfathers!
The Chairman of the CRC, Justice Edmond Cowan has repeatedly told newsmen that, the mandate of his committee was to “review” and not to “write” a new constitution.
President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has repeatedly said that, the national constitution must reflect the views of the people.
With that at the back of their minds, Justice Cowan and his team toured the length and breadth of Sierra Leone, canvassing the views of Sierra Leoneans on what they want in their reviewed Constitution.
The key issues that were discussed during the CRC nationwide tour are Presidential term limit, the appointment of the Chief Justice, the powers of the President (executive and supreme executive power) etc.
Throughout the country, the overwhelming or majority view that was expressed by the people is that, they are comfortable with a two-term tenure of five years each for the President. Meaning, therefore that, they do not favor any attempt to tamper with the Presidential term limit.
In their own Position Paper submitted to the CRC, the APC Party called for the term limit to be altered and provision made for a retired President, who has served his two terms of five years each to return and contest for the Presidency after five years of retirement. This was overwhelmingly rejected by the people, throughout the country including Makeni.
The APC have refused to sign the draft CRC report because, it does not reflect the Party’s Position Paper presented to the CRC.
If the APC delays the draft report from being discussed in Cabinet, it will just be another waste of public funds. It has to be pointed out that that will not delay the conduct of the 2018 elections.
If the APC Party is opposed to the draft report prepared by the CRC, why can’t we put it in abeyance and wait until a new government comes into power in 2018 and takes a decision on it.
The people have rejected a third term Presidency. The people have rejected an extension to the mandate of the current administration. What else does the APC want? Can they afford to go against the overwhelming will of the people and impose their own minority views on the country?
The international community have insisted that free, fair and timely elections must be held in 2018. Why does the APC want to delay the holding of elections in 2018 by coming up with such untenable excuses?
The review of the 1991 Constitution should not be tied to the conduct of the 2018 elections. No way! The review can wait but elections cannot wait for a day after February 28, 2018.
We congratulate Justice Cowan and his team for a job well done. We encourage them not to allow anyone to bully them just because their minority view has not been reflected in the draft report.
Ambassador Yansaneh should be bold enough to publish the grey areas that few of his own Party people are opposed to. We will take it up from there!
Let the APC party put the interest of the country above their personal interests. That is what common sense demands!