The leading opposition Presidential hopeful, Brig. Rtd. Julius Maada Bio has in his Christmas and New Year Message to the nation reminded President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and proponents of the “More Time” campaign of the constitutional provision relating to the tenure of President as stipulated in the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
Quoting Section 46 (1) of the 1991 Constitution, Brig. Rtd. Julius Maada Bio said no person shall hold office for more than two terms of five years each.
The former Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces called on President Koroma to “Reaffirm his commitment to the two term limits as set out in the 1991 Constitution”.
See full text of the message below.
CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR MESSAGE
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. It brings friends and families together for us to appreciate the love in our lives we so often take for granted. In his Christmas message last year, Rtd. Brig. Bio underscored the point that as a country our Christmas and New Year celebrations were blighted by the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). The Disease accounted for the lives of almost 4,000 of our compatriots while an estimated 4,051 survivors live with the scars.
For those who lost their loved ones, they will be commemorating this Christmas thinking how different this Christmas and festive season would have been if their loved ones had been spared by the Ebola Virus. For the Ebola Survivors, within many families and communities across the country, they will be commemorating the Christmas and Festive Season with us. Let us use this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to them that they are valued members of our families and communities. We must show them love, care and compassion.
For many citizens, Christmas also brings upon us an incredible time of giving and sharing with people around us. In a country where many of our compatriots face socio-economic challenges, we must not limit our giving and sharing to those that we love and care for. Let us extend our giving and sharing to those who may need a helping hand and those who have no one else to care for them. Whatever we shall give or share with others during this Christmas and Festive Season, we must not underestimate the difference it will make in the lives of those who receive it. Our nation becomes stronger when we care for one another.
While Christmas is a time to remember the birth of Christ, the teachings of Christ also tell us about courage and hope. In the face of adversity and suffering, whether we are Christians or Muslims and where ever we may find ourselves let us be courageous and strong. As citizens, let us always stand firm for what is right and promote unity, peace and love amongst one another. Let us also be inspired by the fact that hope is the only thing stronger than fear.
As we celebrate the Christmas and the Festive Season, let us also keep our great nation in our prayers. Let us pray for peace and continue to advocate for a society where there are respect for human rights, transparent and accountable governance and respect for the national constitution.
Unfortunately, at a time when we must all be focusing on the post-Ebola recovery and other governance challenges, the national debate appears to have been focused on “More Time”. Whatever form or circumstance, the proponent might have envisaged the so-called “More Time”, sec 46 (1) of the 1991 national constitution is absolutely clear on the tenure of office of the President that “No person shall hold office as President for more than two terms of five years each whether or not the terms are consecutive”.
Therefore, we call on His Excellency, President Koroma to reaffirm his commitment to the two term limits as stipulated in the national constitution, the conduct of a free and fair Parliamentary and Presidential elections not later than February 2018 and a peaceful democratic transition from his administration to a democratically elected successor.
Finally, Christmas also reminds us of God’s great love for us by sending his son, may we all use this Christmas and the Festive season to show love, forgiveness, care and compassion to our friends, family members, neighbours and the most vulnerable people in our society.
On behalf of Rtd. Brig. Bio, his wife, Fatima Bio and the entire family, we wish you all a joyful Christmas and a Prosperous 2016.