The National Chairman of the Opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) John Oponjo Benjamin on Wednesday April 7th 2010 wrote a letter to President Ernest Bai Koroma over the delay of the draft constitution presented to him in 2008.
The SLPP Chairman reminded the President that in 2004 when they were in power they started a Constitutional Review process following which the Law Reform Commission was established to lead the process. He continued that he was reliably informed that the Commission completed its work and submitted its Report in 2008 with a draft bill that should be sent to Parliament for approval.
John Benjamin requested for an update on the matter and stating that “the National Constitution is the most important instrument in maintaining our democracy. It is therefore imperative that such a document is kept open for nationwide participatory consultation”.
He recognized that the process required time and money and as they approach the 2012 elections, and suggested that discussions on the constitution should be held in advance and possibly a referendum factored in to the electoral time table.
The SLPP Chairman reminded President Koroma that the United Nations does recognize this delay pointing out that in the Third Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Integrated Peace Building Office in Sierra Leone for the period June 1-September 1, 2009, it was stated that: “The completion of the much awaited Constitutional Reform process is long overdue. To expedite the process, I call on the Government to consider establishing as soon as possible, a participatory mechanism to enable wider input by civil society and other national stakeholders. UNIPSIL stands ready to provide technical support for the exercise which when completed, should make an important contribution to the peace consolidation process”
By Ishmael Bayoh