The constitutional Review committee yesterday held their plenary meeting at the Miatta Conference hall Youyi Building in Freetown, where pertinent issues’ relating to the ongoing constitutional review process was discussed.
With support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Civil Society organizations have been engaged to sensitize and educate the Sierra Leonean populace about the ongoing constitutional review process and their significant involvement in the review process, as a means to make their concerns and aspirations known.
As a result of that, issues relating to the finance of the process was raised by Dr. Abib Sesay, senior lecturer of Political Science, Fourah Bay College, who maintained that government should take full responsibility in funding the CRC process to avoid influence of donor partners and the international community in the review process.
He noted that most of the CSO which are being funded by UNDP to undertake the sensitization process are not that qualified and experienced to disseminate information about the constitution and that they might be influenced by the international community donor partners in executing their jobs. He said during the presentation of the CSO on their activities, much information was not outlined regarding the constitutional review process.
According to the Chairman of CRC, Justice Edmond K. Cowan, the objective of this process is to provide the public with a reference document to compare the provisions of the 1991 constitutions and amendments proposed in the 2008 constitution review commission report, adding that the CRC is very positive that the constitutional review process will afford Sierra Leoneans the opportunity to address national challenges and foster national cohesion and consolidate the peace. Justice Cowan said the process will also promote democratic governance and enhance inclusive growth and socio-economic development in the country and therefore he admonished every stakeholder involved in the process to put more effort to ensure its relevance.
Justice Cowan maintained that government is committed to providing funds for the constitutional process and gave assurance that they will work in partnership with UNDP to make sure the right information is sent out.
Educational programmes that that involve tertiary institutions should be implemented by the CSO and also engage stakeholders at community level.
Responding to comments made by participants, the Chief Technical Advisor of UNDP Sanaullah Baloch said his organization provided funds to these CSO to help the committee in actualizing their work and also to show their commitment to help Sierra Leone in development programmes.
The UNDP representative stated clearly there is no way the international community is trying to sabotage or influence the process as these CSO’s involved in the process are working closely with the CRC regarding information dissemination. He added that UNDP has been working closely with SLBC to engage media houses in the country to design programmes on the constitutional review process that will be aired both on television and radio.
Civil society Organizations including Oxfam, National Commission for Democracy (NCD), West Africa Network of Peace building (WANEP), and the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) made presentation on their activities highlighting key areas like maximize inclusiveness in the process, provide relevant feed back to CRC.
Wednesday June 04, 2014