As watchdogs of democratic governance, justice and security in Sierra Leone, we the undersigned civil society organizations have followed the unfolding events among groups and individuals in the ruling party and are gravely concerned by the rising political tension which poses a threat to the peace and security of our emerging democracy.
We are particularly concerned about events in the last two weeks which culminated in His Excellency the Vice President reportedly fleeing his residence where he has been quarantined for the last 19 days to seek asylum to the US government.
While the undersigned organisations cannot, and do not intend to interfere into the internal politics of any political party, there is sufficient reason to be concerned about the implications of the ongoing impasse for peace, security, social stability and constitutional order in Sierra Leone.
It is because of these experiences, and knowing our country’s recent history, that we urgently appeal to the His Excellency the President in particular, as Head of State, Commander Chief of the Armed Forces, and currently, Minister of Defense to address this impasse between himself and the Vice President and the Vice President and the All People’s Congress Party to avoid unnecessary pressure on poor citizens who are already facing very difficult times. There are still worrisome numbers of Ebola reported cases especially in Freetown with an ongoing investigation into the Auditor General’s report of missing Ebola funds. We are experiencing a dwindling capacity of the state to provide basic services in the area of schooling for children, healthcare and water and to address the challenges of unemployment and rising poverty occasioned by disturbances in the private sector and the Ebola situation.
Cognizant of the state of the Ebola epidemic and our austerity situation, we urge His Excellency the President and His Excellency the Vice President to work within the framework of the law and their oath taken to serve the interest of the people. We urge both parties to be focused on their sacred duties and refrain from prioritizing internal party political struggle over the welfare, peace and security of the people they have sworn to serve.
We therefore implore on all parties in the ongoing impasse to recognize the Constitution, be an example of political tolerance, use the due process of the law to address their concerns if necessary, and above all, respect the offices of the President and Vice President of Sierra Leone.
While we remain open to support all parties to bring the impasse to closure, we call on His Excellency the President and the Vice President to show leadership through amicably resolving their issue and allowing order to prevail. We also urge both parties and the rest of Sierra Leone to refocus our attention to the fight against Ebola and address recommendation of the Auditor General’s report.
We also call on the international community to continue to provide needed support to political parties and help these institutions undergo reforms to be capable agencies in managing change and internal democracy.
1. Institute for Governance Reform (IGR)
2. Campaign for Good Governance (CGG)
3. Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL)
4. Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD)
5. Center for Coordination of Youth Activities (CCYA)
6. Society for Democratic Initiatives (SDI)
7. Civil Society Movement (CSM)
8. Defense for Children International (DCI)
9. Action Aid Sierra Leone (AASL)
10. Sierra Leone Youth Empowerment Organisation (SLYEO)
11. National Elections Watch (NEW)
12. Advocacy Movement Network (AMNet)