SLPP Govt Disrespects Opposition Leaders

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SLPP Govt Disrespects Opposition Leaders

By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara
Members of the Consortium of Progressive Political Parties (CoPPP) were on Thursday, 22nd April, 2021 practically chased out by Security Guards attached to State House.
This follows the Consortium’s match to State House in an attempt to see and engage His Excellency President Bio on issues, they say are very burning national issues.
It could be recalled that members of the consortium had held a press conference earlier in which they described the three years rule of President Bio as displaying autocratic tendencies, adding that the Rule of Law and the country’s hard-earned democracy is under threat.

“We have come to the conclusion that our hard-earned democracy and the Rule of Law are under serious threat due to the increasingly autocratic tendencies of the current SLPP government observed over the past three years.”
They bemoaned the failure of the SLPP led government to involve the opposition parties in the running of the state, especially as they believe that “inclusive governance is an indispensable component of a healthy democracy and therefore political parties must be fully involved, especially through consultations, in the elaboration of policies and laws. Unfortunately, opposition political parties which represent over 50% of the voter population of this country have been systematically sidelined and ignored in the preparation of key policies and laws.”
One example they gave is the Decentralization policy that was approved by Cabinet in December 2020. They stressed that there was no consultation on the issue, though the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development claimed that there had been nationwide consultations on the policy, adding that they were not included in the said consultation and only learned about it on national news and the electronic media.
Speaking on the proposed cyber-crime bill, they stated that the information ministry had been developing the said bill since last year and had deliberately refused to involve the opposition in same and only invited them when Parliament ordered them to do broader consultations. Unfortunately, they went on, the Ministry simply distributed copies of the draft bill to them with a view to incorporating their views into the draft document after they had read through. They were promised another meeting to discuss same, but the said engagement never materialized. They expressed dismay that the Ministry took the same bill to Parliament without their input on Monday 19th April 2021 for enactment. They furthered that the government has no regard for the opposition:
“Meanwhile, in an invitation to a workshop tomorrow Friday 23rd April 2021, political parties have been informed that “Pursuant to the directives of Parliament” the Ministry “has completed extensive consultations with all relevant stakeholders across the country.” That the leadership of opposition political parties are not recognized as being among “relevant stakeholders across the country” speaks volumes of this Government’s attitude to the opposition,” the release states.
The alliance further stated that the government bulldozes its way with bills into Parliament, without proper scrutiny and debate, giving as an example the declaration of the State of Emergency made by the President and later tabled in Parliament. This they maintained is their regular practice.
“COPPP would also like to draw the attention of the press and the general public to the SLPP Government’s constant breach of procedures and their regular practice of stampeding bills and other sensitive issues through Parliament without the benefit of thorough scrutiny and debate. It will be recalled that just over a year ago, at the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic in Sierra Leone, Government declared a State of public Health Emergency; although the law demands and the opposition insisted that the regulations relating to the Emergency had to be tabled in Parliament…”the release maintained.

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