Members of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party have started playing hanky-panky (Yuki-Yuki) by the way and manner they recently treated the formal opening of the newly-formed Independent Review Commission. They (APC) were unexplainably absent from the august ceremony of the formal opening of the Commission that was held in the conference room of the National Stadium Hostel in Freetown on Monday 15th February 2010, even though formal invitations had been sent to all the relevant parties.
It should be recalled that the Commission was established by Government to review and determine the circumstances as well as establish the facts relating to incidents of political violence and intolerance during the month of March 2009 in Gendema in the Pujehun District, Freetown in the Western Area and in another incident in the Kenema District.
The opening ceremony was however well-attended by a battery of loyalists and executive members of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) such as the National Chairman John O. Benjamin, National Secretary General Jacob Jusu Saffa, and the Womenís Wing Leader Isatu Kabbah, amongst others including ordinary members of the public; but with no visible representation from the executive or ordinary members of the ruling APC party.
However, this unexplained and rather willful act of the APC to boycott this ceremony created doubt and murmurings among the several people; as to the seriousness of the APC towards the success of the Commission.
According to the Press Officer of the Commission, Mr. Arthur Williams, invitation letters were written and addressed to the APC, SLPP and other stakeholders concerned to make a representation at the ceremony and its subsequent sittings and hearings, but that to the Commissionís dismay, no single representation was made by the ruling APC party at the ceremony. He further explained that the Commission will be holding its hearings in Freetown onto the 24th February 2010, when it will be transferred to Kenema and then to Gendema in the Pujehun District on 1st March 2010. He however hoped that all the parties would henceforth be represented at these hearings.
In his opining remarks, the Chairman of the Commission, Mr. E.E.C. Shears-Moses Esq. said the panel was set up by His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, pursuant to the provisions of Section 147(1)(a) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No.6 of 1991 by Constitutional Instrument No.8 of 2009.
He went on to say that their terms of reference is to review and determine the circumstances as well as establish the facts relating to incidents of political violence and intolerance that occurred during the month of March 2009 in Gendema in the Pujehun District, Freetown in the Western Area and in the Kenema District; the roles and responsibilities of political parties, law enforcement agencies or any other persons or groups in relation to the incidents referred to above; to unveil the necessary findings or conclusions that shall provide a full understanding of the circumstances that resulted to the incidents and above all, to recommend measures to be taken and mechanisms to be put in place to effectively prevent the reoccurrence of any such incident in future.
Commissioner Shears-Moses further assured his audience that members of the Commission are not partisan, adding that the names of the members on the panel were forwarded by members of the parties connected to the incidents following the joint communiquť in which it was recommended in Article 2, that a panel be established. Commissioner Shears-Moses hastened to state that the Commission does not intend to pick on persons or groups so as to cast blame or aspersion on anyone but to find a path to the eradication of such incidents in our society. On his part, the Chairperson Political Party Registration Commission (PPRC), Ade Roland Caesar Esq. complemented the formation of the Commission and called on the members of the Panel to be independent and work towards the Commissionís intended goal.