President Ernest Bai Koroma has received from the Law Reform Commission a report of the commission to review the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
Presenting the report yesterday at State House to the president and his vice, the commission’s chairman Dr Peter L. Tucker explained how the commission went about its function.
He stated that the commission was formally launched on 27 January 2007 with 46 members of which two were nominated by the then president of Sierra Leone and the rest by 28 organizations and institutions.
Dr Tucker informed President Koroma and vice president Sam Sumana that the commission gave much time to and encouraged every member to speak on any topic.
He also said they held consultative meetings in Bo, Kenema, Makeni, and Freetown coupled with consultative meetings with political parties.
The commission’s chairman narrated that they received several written representations and comments from individuals and institutions abroad and at home to which extensive and intensive reviews were made, but could not take some of the recommendations as some were part of the law of the country.
Dr Tucker mentioned that they were not able to agree or implement the demand for at least 30% representation of women in parliament.
The report is in two parts. Part one gives an account of the methodology and sources utilized and analysis of the recommendations received while part two contains the 136 amendments of which only 15 are entrenched clauses needed to be approved in a referendum before becoming law.
Receiving the report, President Koroma commended the effort of the commission in producing it and said from the membership of the commission every facet of the society was represented.
“What you have presented by way of explanation, the methods adopted, I believe that opportunities have been given to everybody in the country to participate in making a contribution in the review of the constitution”, President Koroma said.
The president also went on to state that, “the 1991 Constitution that is now being reviewed had been in existence for a long time for which we have had enough time practicing it to see the weaknesses and also believe that lots of social, economic changes have taken place in the country, internationally that will demand a review as we have lots of issues that have changed.”
He assured the commission that, “we are happy that we now have this report, we will accept it as a government as we will look at it and I will assure you that it will go through a constitutional process that is required to effect the changes…what we are all interested in is to have a constitution that will be a guiding principle to take all of us forward as a nation”.
To those whose recommendations were not considered, he told them, “I believe you have your MPs as the last resort as there is the lobby for which things can happen in parliament but for now we will accept the report and the presentation for the consideration of government”.