Bio Warned

 

In the true spirit of democratic expression within the confines of the law, a leading member of the now opposition All People’s Congress (APC), Lawyer Abu Bakarr Kalokoh, who ran for the party’s 2018 presidential flagbearer position, has published an audio message on social media addressed specifically to His Excellency, President Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio raising concerns he wants President Bio to consider.

Lawyer Kalokoh starts his message to President Bio on the burning issue of alleged human rights violations of unparalleled magnitude unleashed against APC members and supporters in the wake of the presidential run-off election, especially in the South-East, allegedly by supporters of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).

Lawyer Kalokoh alleged that since President Bio won the presidency, the SLPP assault on APC members and supporters has been a calculated act of political reprisal that involves rape, brutality and killings. This, he said, has led to the displacement of several APC members and supporters from the North-West living in the South-East, who, he said,       are now refugees in their own country.

“Your office and government explicitly and tacitly seem to condone these acts,” alleged Lawyer Kalokoh and described the acts as a dangerous threat to the peace and safety of the country. He added that “these unlawful activities will fragment the tenuous peace that we fought hard for, which the country has enjoyed for the past two decades.”

Lawyer Kalokoh reminded President Bio as the country’s Chief Executive of the 7th July, 1999 Lome Peace Accord, which, he said, forms an elemental part of our country’s political and legal framework; adding that it is President Bio’s responsibility to uphold the core principles of that Accord which is to provide, as head of state, security and safety for all citizens. According to Lawyer Kalokoh, President Bio has fallen short of that hallowed duty.

He quoted Chapter 2 of the 1991 Constitution which is the supreme law of the land which states that the security of citizens shall be the primary responsibility of government. This right which he said is enshrined in the Constitution should not be abrogated.

Lawyer Kalokoh said that when the APC was in power, it made it a central tenet of its governance principle to secure and unite the people. “Peace was central to our agenda,” he said, adding that the APC government was tolerant and understanding and promoted peace, security and national cohesion.

Political differences, he said, should be settled using non-violent means. In which regard, he said, the APC is watching the government with a view to holding it accountable for any breach on the rights of citizens and stands ready to call on the international community including ECOWAS, Africa Union, EU and UN to hold the government accountable for any breach of the peace that would lead the country down the path to another civil war.

Lawyer Kalokoh went on to question President Bio’s use of Executive Order to order Saturday cleanings which, he said, violates the citizen’s right to freedom of movement and the right to live anywhere and freedom from slavery and forced labor,  quoting Chapter 34 Sections 18 and 19 of the 1991 Constitution.

He also questioned the correctness of Paragraph 5 of the presidential order issued on the 9th of April, 2018, demanding that all government MDAs that collect revenue must deposit the proceeds into the Consolidated Revenue Fund. This order, he said, violates Section 111 Sub-section 2(a) of the 1991 Constitution.

He therefore urged President Bio to reconsider Paragraph 5 of that order, as according to him, it ultra-vires the Constitution and therefore cannot be lawfully enforced. He blamed former President Koroma for wrongly signing it into law.

Lawyer Kalokoh cautions President Bio that his power and authority are not absolute but subject to the rule of law. “There are circumscriptions and limitations to your power and authority,” he stressed.

Decrees and executives orders he said must comply with the constitution, adding that APC will help the president to religiously comply with the constitution.

Lawyer Kalokoh goes on to talk about alleged illegal task force set up by the SLPP government to harass civil and public servants. He reminds President Bio that he needs the civil service to run an efficient government machinery. For legal matters that have to do with the civil service, he said, there is the Public Service Commission and the Police.

In the management and administration of the state, Lawyer Kalokoh said APC looks forward to working with President Bio to see that he succeeds. “Success is all we (APC) wish for you,” he said, as according to him, if President Bio succeeds it is success for Sierra Leone.