Opposition Parties Unite against SLPP’s excesses

Spread the love

Opposition Parties Unite against SLPP’s excesses

The opposition political parties have rightly joined citizens to raise concerns over the SLPP govt’s controversial Mid-Term Census and Cybercrime Bill.
At a crucial joint press conference yesterday in Freetown, the Consortium of Progressive Political Parties Sierra Leone CPPP-SL met at the APC party headquarters in Freetown to discuss the merits and demerits of the dubious Mid-Term Census and the Cybercrime Bill 2020 that are being instituted by the ruling SLPP government. During the meeting, serious concerns over the conduct of President Julius Maada Bio’s post-sponsored Mid-Term Census in Sierra Leone, the enactment of the new local government policy, and the Cybercrimes Bill 2020 were raised by the political party representatives of CPPP-SL yesterday. (Photo: Opposition politicians yesterday).
The political parties represented include the main opposition All Peoples’ Congress Party APC, the National Grand Coalition NGC, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, the People’s Movement for Democratic Change PMDC, Alliance Democratic Party ADP and C4C Party, etc. They stated: “We believe that both the Mid-Term Census and the Local Government Policy are not statistical or democratic exercises at all. But, rather it is a political undertaking aimed at sacrificing our democratic gains at the altar of parochial partisan interests.”
Moreover, the electorates are also up in arms to protest against the dubious Mid-Term Census and the Cybercrime Bill 2020. Voters have vowed never to be fooled again as did the SLPP party propaganda machine in the 2018 election, which made many citizens to vote for the SLPP party. “We will not fall prey to another SLPP political deception this time,” an angry market woman said.
These two political deceptions being bandied around the country by the SLPP government are understandably raising more concerns now. The real intentions of the SLPP government have not been made clear to the public, nor to opposition politicians which has only raised more questions than answers following the secrecy of pushing the Cybercrime Bill through Parliament without giving sufficient information to pertinent stakeholders.
Even the executives of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists SLAJ, one of the government’s main partners-in-crime, were not informed about the Cybercrime Bill 2020 from its embryonic stage. It was only after SLAJ had raised the alarm that the SLPP Information and Communications Minister Mohamed Rahman Swaray invited the press to paper the porous cracks. The Information Minister’s recent briefings to dissipate the growing suspicions over the Cybercrime Bill 2020 and Mid-Term Census have failed to pay any dividend.
Keen political observers believe the government’s Cybercrime Bill is up to no good. This negative feeling was further heightened after a strong government ally like SLAJ and others were not even given prior knowledge before the bill became public. “Such a deliberate snub of vital stakeholders by President Bio’s caboodle is a clear indication of low tech political con game to trick the voters. (Photo: Osman Sankoh, the brain behind the fake census. And the patriotic lawyer Ady Macauley, right).
Nevertheless, the majority of Sierra Leoneans including some of the government’s allies have raised serious concerns and suspicions over the SLPP Cybercrime Bill. Citizens from a cross-section of society have taken the bull by the horn by strongly opposing the suspicious Cybercrime issue which they believe is against free expression and other democratic principles.
Also leading the castigation of the Cybercrime Bill 2020 is eminent lawyer Mr Ady Macauley Esq. On his Twitter page on March 21, 2021, Lawyer Macauley asserted: “The Cyber Crime Act Bill of 2020, if passed into law in its current form will be a quantum leap in the State’s ability to suppress freedom of speech and interference with individual privacy rights. Let no one come and preach to me about national security. I don’t trust the process.”
Another legal mind Martin E Michael LLB BL said: “SLAJ has issued a press release on the Cybercrime Bill and willfully engage the Minister. Well done to the Minister for engaging SLAJ even after the bill has gone beyond the pre-legislative stage and greeting to further meetings. As for the Sierra Leone Bar Association SLBA, I guess he who pays the piper has called the tune,” Mr Martin noted on his Tweet on 24 March 2021.
The Africanist Press editor-in-chief Mr Chernoh Alpha M Bah had this to say about the dubious SLPP Cybercrime Bill 2020. “In 1965, the SLPP enacted the Public Order Act against journalists and their political opponents. They were defeated two years later in 1967. Now, in 2021, and two years to another election the SLPP is enacting a similar law: a Cyber Crimes Law!!”
Sierra Leone Journalist Mr Mahmud Tim Kargbo added his unrepentant voice on his Twitter page on 24 March 2021: “Last time I checked UK sincerity in Cyber Security Act that exposed and limit freedom of expression, they refused to accept the said law when voices of reasoning were about to turn the accountability table on Ebola funds collected by DIFID and Save the Children.”
As engagement with stakeholders in relation to the Cybercrime Bill 2020 continues, Sierra Leoneans are hoping that the government will hold further talks with other stakeholders, including experts on Information and Communications Technology ICT Experts, the Independent Media Commission IMC, RAIC, political parties, etc. This is necessary for democratic governance rather than for the SLPP to hurriedly present this Bill in Parliament for more debates.

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *