By Ralph Sesay
Retired Ghanaian Supreme Court Judge, who also doubles as the one of the sole Commissioners of the ongoing Commissions of Enquiry in Sierra Leone, William Annan Atuguba. has said in Freetown that rising unconstitutionality and dictatorship is becoming a rising trend in Africa and that Sierra Leone is not an exception.
The learned retired Judge made this statement while serving as the Key Note Speaker for this year’s Sierra Leone Bar Association’s Annual General Meeting.
He started by expressing his sadness and dissatisfaction over the current state of affairs in Sierra Leone, Africa and the entire globe vis a vis the economy and democratic governance.
He noted that his presentation would present a true picture of the state of governance and squarely puts Sierra Leone where it currently stands in all of this including steps the Bar should take in ameliorating the trend.
Justice Atukugbah stated that Africa countries including Sierra Leone are witnessing a declining state as it relates to democratic governance and economic management of its natural resources.
He bemoaned the current spate of constitutional violations, coups and counter coups that have resurfaced in the last decade on the African continent, noting that eleven (11) attempted coups and counter coups have been staged across the globe and that eight (8) of these coups have been staged in Africa countries such as Zimbabwe, Sudan, Madagascar, Djibouti , Libya etc.
The Ghanaian judge also highlighted the fact that Africa including Sierra Leone is becoming very much unstable due to political tensions and that ruling governments are increasingly using repressive tactics to suppress the media, civil society and opposition parties.
Across the globe, Justice Atukugbah stated that countries are increasingly scared over one another that the procurement and parading of costly weapons continues to pre-occupy governments.
Governments in Africa are involved in democratic backsliding and manipulating elections against the wishes of the people.
The Sole Commissioner cited recent civil demonstrations in Liberia and moves by the Government of Ghana and Sierra Leone to thwart demonstrations and other civil liberties.
He cited the illegal dismissal of the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Chief Sam Sumana by the former APC government, a decision which, according to him, was regretfully endorsed by the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone.
Justice Atukugbah also disclosed that the governments of both Ernest Koroma and President Bio have woefully failed to implement the ECOWAS court ruling even when it remains a very strong member of the Community.
The Commissions of Enquiry sole Commissioner also disclosed that Sierra Leone is increasingly copying all the bad things from the Republic of Ghana, highlighting the recent unlawful removal of the ten APC members of Parliament and the immediate swearing-in of their replacements by the Speaker of Parliament against the dictates of the Sierra Leone Constitution and international best practices across the world.
He bemoaned the sackings of people who have security of tenure of offices by the last Government
The learned Retired Chief Justice urged the Sierra Leone Bar Association to increasingly work towards addressing the deep rooted problems facing democratic governance and economic management which, according to him, is affecting the growth of Sierra Leone and African countries in general.
Justice William Annan Atukugbah predicted the death of Liberal democracy in Africa by 2020 and called on the Sierra Leone Bar Association to press for Constitutional reforms with a view to produce a national constitution that will go beyond the constitution and engender all the aspirations of the people of the country.
This for him is the only way now for Africa since almost all the constitutions of most African countries have become obsolete to handle the governance realities of the day.
He called on the Bar Association to initiate such a process as a point of entrance to the overall Governance reforms process.
He reiterated the fact that Sierra Leone is a rich virgin country with everything under the sun for the benefit of its people.
The country over the years, he pointed out, is open for vultures to scavenger and feed on the country’s resources by big multinational companies.
These companies he says splashed monies all over the place to corrupt politicians and ends up exporting all our rich mineral resources to foreign countries.
Mr.Atukugbah cited the illicit flow of monies across the country through illegal trades and other criminal financing across the African continent, noting that, monies lost to corrupt politicians are very insignificant to monies lost by the continent to other illicit outflows.
He also urged the Sierra Leone Bar Association to take its rightful place in the reformation of the continent and Sierra Leone in Particular.
Justice William Annan Atukugbah is currently in Sierra Leone as one of the sole Commissioners of the ongoing Commissions of Enquiry initiated by the Bio Government.
By Ralph Sesay