CRC Raps Up In October

By CLARENCE ROY-MACAULAY  OOR

2006 AP (ASSOCIATED PRESS) GRAMLING SPIRIT AWARD WINNER

RETIRED (1989) CONTROLLER (NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS)

FORMER MINISTRY OF INFORMATION & BROADCASTING

“The last Plenary Meeting  of the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) was held on Wednesday October, 12, 2016 and the Final Report is being compiled, edited, printed and  will be presented to Government hopefully by the end of this month, October 2016.   When the date is confirmed,  it will be made public,” Mohamed Faray Kargbo, Head, Communication & Outreach Officer, CRC Secretariat, confirmed to this writer Thursday October 13, 2016.

President Ernest Bai Koroma officially launched the 80 – man CRC on 30th July, 2013 to review the 1991 National multi party Executive Presidential system of Government.   The National Constitution is the Fountain from which all other Laws flow.

Launching the CRC, President Ernest Bai Koroma stated “this (the CRC) is a Committee constituted from people of every Region, Political Affiliation,  and Socio-economic Group, to perform a sacred task”.

President Koroma noted “the Constitution is the Supreme Law, and we all must ensure that this document captures our better habits, our better values, and our better aspirations.”

“The Revised Constitution should be the voice of the People”

An abridged version of the revised National Constitution was published by the CRC in February, 2016

 

“We will not come out publicly with the final report but will present it to the Government and  the Government will come out with a White Paper, that is when the public will know what is in our final report, what the Government agrees with, and what it disagrees with”,  the Chairman of the CRC The Honourable Justice (R) Edmond Cowan was quoted as saying in his  explanation to one local newspaper published in July, this year.

The 80-man Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) has been meeting behind closed doors since Wednesday July 27, 2016 in the Miatta Conference Hall, Youyi Building  to write the Ffinal Report of the “to be Constitution of Sierra Leone”  and according to the Chairman of the CRC, The Honourable Justice (R) Edmond Cowan, .the Plenary Session has been analysing  the reports from the various sub committees in order to produce the Final Report.

The next General Elections  will be conducted in Sierra Leone “latest February, 2018”, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Executive Secretary William Addo Davies has  announced at a Press Conference in Freetown.

The All Peoples Congress (APC) then in opposition  led by Ernest Bai Koroma was first elected to office in the 2007 Parliamentary election of August 11 and the Presidential run-off poll on September 8, 2007, and re-elected for a second five-year constitutional term of office on 17th November, 2012.   According to the 1991 National Constitution, which is currently being reviewed by the CRC, the term of office of the Presidency is two consecutive five year term of office.

 

According to Section 85 (1) of the 1991 Constitution, “Parliament shall stand dissolved at the expiration of a period of five years commencing from the date of its first sitting after a general election”.  Section 87 (1) states  “A general election of Members of Parliament shall be held not earlier than thirty (30) and not more than ninety (90) days from the date of the dissolution of Parliament.”  This means that Parliament stands dissolved in November, 2017.

 

According to the abridged  Draft Revised Constitution which was published in February, 2016, and which has been validated by the CRC, and  expected to be put to a National  Referendum sometime during the first half of  2017, after Cabinet has considered it and issued a Government White Paper based on which the Government Law Officers Department will prepare the Amendment Bill to the 1991 Constitution, to be  approved by not less than two-thirds of the Members of Parliament, there has been no change in the tenure of the term of office of the Presidency.

 

On Thursday September 15, 2016, International Democracy Day, a Group, calling themselves SIERRA LEONEANS FOR DEMOCRACY, launched a campaign for a Parliamentary Democracy system of Government at a symposium held at the British Council, Tower Hill,  Freetown .

 

The Group has proposed to the (CRC), A Parliamentary Democracy System of Government,  to wit,  which ever political party  wins a general election and has the majority of seats  in Parliament, like in Britain, will form the Government and the LEADER of the Political Party will become  PRIME MINISTER –  CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER of Government..

 

According to the Group of Sierra Leoneans, both at home and in the diaspora, there will be a  TERM LIMIT of five years for the Government in  power; and the RULING PARTY CONTINUES IN GOVERNANCE UNTIL IT LOSES A GENERAL ELECTION.   The Group of Sierra Leoneans is also proposing  a Ceremonial President,  who will be an eminent Sierra Leonean to be nominated by the  CHIEF EXECUTIVE PRIME MINISTER.

 

In Britain the Prime Minister sits in Parliament as an Elected Member and Cabinet Ministers are appointed from the elected Members of Parliament in a Parliamentary Democracy.

Will Sierra Leone revert to the Parliamentary Democracy system of Government as on April 27, 1961 when Sierra Leone gained her Independence  from Britain?