Salone News

Sierra Leone civil society condemns court injunction

25 March 2018 at 21:26 | 1862 views

At an extraordinary meeting on Saturday 24th March 2018, Civil Society Leaders deliberated on the frustrating and depressing news that the High Court of Sierra Leone has granted an interim injunction to restrain the National Electoral Commission (NEC) from conducting the Presidential Run-off on the 27th March 2018. Civil Society resolves that the Presidential Run-off Election must be held on 27th March 2018 as scheduled.

CSO leaders are pleased to report that we observed elections in all polling stations across Sierra Leone and have certified the 7th March 2018 polls as largely credible and peaceful. With the high voter turnout of the elections, citizens across Sierra Leone have demonstrated an acceptance of democratic elections
as a means for peaceful transition of power.

Civil Society is particularly concerned that at this time of distribution of election materials, just two days to the polls, the High Court has decided to put our electoral process on hold. This decision will not only frustrate the vast majority of citizens who have already sacrificed a lot during this process, but negatively affect the operations of NEC and in the end undermine our hard earned democratic credentials.

In the wake this disturbing decision, Civil Society notes that Sierra Leoneans around the world have been reminded about the role the judiciary played in our country’s recent history. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report findings stated that: “lawyers and judges in Sierra Leone have failed to stand up to state tyranny. They have failed to give any meaningful content to the Rule of Law....” (TRC Report Vol II, Chapter 2, pp 91, 3, paras 420, 441.).

Civil Society is concerned that after 15 years of post-conflict peacebuilding and the great investment in judicial reform, we expect our Judiciary to correct its past.
Noting the level of public anger and frustration since this announcement hit the street and social media; and bearing in mind the challenges our country has gone and continue to face, Civil Society Leaders, appeal to the public not to be moved by any form of provocation but patiently wait for a peaceful resolution of this situation on Monday. We advice members of the public to remain calm and prevent unscrupulous individuals from exploiting the situation to promote chaos, that may result in increased security threat beyond the current MACP Level 2.

We call on all Civil Society Leaders to be present in court on Monday 26th March as we monitor how the judiciary decides on this matter.

Signed:
Civil Society Movement
Sierra Leone Association of Non-Governmental Organizations
National Election Watch (NEW)
West Africa Network for Peacebuilding
Native Consortium and Research Center
Women Situation Room
50/50 Group
Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law
Sierra Leone Human Rights Defenders Network
Network Movement for Justice and Development
Strengthening Electoral Accountability and Governance
Centre for Coordination of Youth Activities
Heal Sierra Leone
Campaign for Good Governance
Society for Democratic Initiatives
Institute for Governance Reform
Network Movement for Democracy and Human Rights
Skyy Womens’ World Network
Accountability Now-Sierra Leone
Children Advocacy Forum
Advocacy Movement Network
Pikin-to-Pikin Movement
Child Rights Coalition
Thorough Empowerment Education and Development for Women and Girls in Africa Peace Africa Alliance Consulting, Education & Training Centre
Network Movement for Youth and Children’s Welfare
Health Network –SL
Transparency International Sierra Leone
National Civil Society Forum

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