A leading civil society organization in Sierra Leone has demanded the inclusion of a clause in the Constitution that spells out the term limit for presidents.
The Centre for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL) also suggested in a submission to the Constitutional Review Committee(CRC) on Tuesday that there should be a clearly stated clause banning all those, who served under the current Constitution from running under the next Constitution.
Sierra Leone is reviewing its Constitution, which has been in force since 1991 and experts and activists say the laws in there have outlived their time.
Sierra Leoneans have until November 30 to submit their
suggestions on what they want included in the new constitution.
Recently, there have been debate around the fate of the current President Ernest Bai Koroma, whose supporters have been calling for the extension of his tenure. Sierra Leone’s laws allow for only two five-year terms for a President.
Despite strong public opposition to the idea, analysts fear the ongoing review of the constitution provides an opportunity for the incumbent political party with a majority in Parliament to influence the final content of the constitution.
Therefore CARL, in its submission to the CRC, called for the banning of all persons, who have served under the current constitution from running under the next constitution.
“This is what they did in Kenya. And since we are copying from the Kenyan constitution, it will be good to borrow from their experience.
CARL`s two-parts presentation also touched on citizenship, national values, and gender rights.
It called among others, for the separation of the office of Justice Minister from that of the Attorney General.
CARL also wants the death penalty totally removed from the constitution.
The head of the CRC, Justice Edmond Cowan, hailed CARL for the “professional” presentation, saying the move was an exercise of civic rights as enshrined in the constitution.
Justice Cowan assured that the suggestions would be given due consideration.
“Our mandate is to go out to the people and get their suggestion into the constitution. That’s what you are helping us do by this,” he said