Following the decision of the APC to withdraw its signature from the final report of the Constitutional Review Committee, the Executive Director of Amnesty International in Sierra Leone, Solomon Sogbandi, has said the term “chief” used to replace “supreme” in the 1991 Constitution does not reduce the powers of the president.
He made this statement in an interview with Awoko on Wednesday at his Circular Road office in Freetown.
Sogbandi, who was a member of the Subcommittee on State Policy and Human Rights on the CRC said, “The term ‘supreme executive powers of the president’ in the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone was ambiguous. It is also stated in Constitution that the Constitution was the supreme law of the land.”
He asked, “If we are saying that the President should have supreme executive authority and the Constitution is also supreme, in terms of supremacy, which one is more supreme that the other?”
When President Koroma launched the CRC two years back, he instructed the Committee to “review constitutional ambiguity; clarify issues on our statutes; and be clear on the governance processes.”
The Amnesty Sierra Leone, Executive Director said based on examples from other Constitutions in Africa, other titles were given to the powers of the president to avoid chaos.
“Section 53 deals with the executive powers meaning the President has all power so the issue of removing supreme replacing with chief does not reduce the powers of the president it remove arbitrariness”, Sogbandi stressed.
Another issue the CRC examined was the problem of party membership, which lead to the sacking of former Vice President, Sam Sumana. According to Sogbandi, having to be a party member forces party loyalty before loyalty to the people who elected them. This is not in the interest of the country.
Sogbandi described the decision of the APC to withdraw its signature from the report as a time wasting venture. He added that it will delay the referendum process.