From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

= Democracy at Work in Sierra Leone = : Opposition SLPP takes Ruling APC to Task
By Bampia Bundu
Apr 9, 2010, 17:22

Fears that Sierra Leone might be sliding back into a One Party State were yesterday April 6th 2010 partly assuaged when the main opposition political party in the country Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) took the ruling All Peoples Congress government to task on pertinent issues affecting the country’s development such as the National Constitutional Review, The London Mining Agreement, the Rule of Law and Corruption.

This was relayed to the public at the inaugural slated monthly press conference held at the SLAJ Headquarters, Campbell Street in Freetown which was attended by senior executive members of the SLPP and a host of senior journalists in the country.

In his statement, the Chairman of the Opposition SLPP, Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin noted that as a party they believe that the Constitutional Review Process should recommence in earnest so that the populace will be adequately sensitized on the proposed amendments and its effects on the upcoming 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary elections. Benjamin insisted that they know that any amendments to the Constitution should involve wider consultation and contribution by the people as was evidenced in 1990 when the Constitutional Review Commission that prepared the first draft of the present Constitution was commissioned.

He quoted the Third Report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Integrated Peace-Building Office in Sierra Leone for the period June 1- September 1, 2009, which states that "the completion of the much awaited constitutional reform process is long overdue. To expedite the process, I call on the Government to consider establishing as soon as possible, a participatory consultation mechanism to enable wider input by civil society and other national stakeholders. UNIPSIL stands ready to provide technical support for the exercise, which, when completed, should make an important contribution to the peace consolidation process"’.

Also, the SLPP, Mr. Benjamin said having clearly and comprehensively considered the terms and conditions of the London Mining Agreements against the Mines and Minerals Act 2009 and the Income Tax Act 2000; stoutly condemned government’s circumvention of key sections of those legislations. SLPP condemned the fact that the London Mining Agreement takes precedence over the parent Act. A representative of London Mining at the Press Meeting brought up points which were countered by SLPP’s Hon. Ansu Kaikai.

SLPP Chairman concluded by deliberating on issues regarding the Petroleum Industry, Democratic Institutions such as the Police, NEC, PPRC and Corruption.

Lawyer Sulaiman Banja-Tejansie was unveiled as the new Spokesman for the SLPP who also doubles as the Director of Communications for the SLPP henceforth. The erudite lawyer is expected to take the party’s message out into the local populace.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.