It is a foregone conclusion that the New Direction in the same old direction of corruption and violence government is, true to its own name, PAOPA going to insist on forcing the very draconian Cybercrime Bill, the one party state foundational work of the Local Council Bill and the unconstitutional Midterm Census down the throats of the pleading masses it is in governance to serve.
While all the above can be ascribed to or blamed on the President for listening to bad advice, the party’s plans that are far from what the people need and desire can only work with an acquiescing parliament.
In a constitutional democratic setup like ours, anyone in parliament can table a bill. But unless that bill is voted for by the majority of parliamentarians, it is just a piece of paper with nice words written on it.
For the sake of Mama Salone, not a party, tribe or region, we are calling on Members of Parliament from C4C, NGC, APC and especially SLPP to consider the potential negative ramifications of the abovementioned instruments the President wants passed for his and his planners’ comfort that will result to almost a police state for a people that know how oppressive a one party state can be courtesy of Pa Sheki. It is against such a day that we preach.
For a long time in Sierra Leone, it is not unusual for MP’s to do as they pleased up the hill without due consideration for how their decisions would affect the people or constituencies they represented. That was then, when our people were not politically savvy enough to know the far reaching implications of certain legal instruments. Satisfied with their MP’s take on things and confident that whatever they did up the hill would be for their good, once voted into power MP’s were in effect left to their own devices. But times have changed. The people of Sierra Leone have woken up to how they are affected by their leaders’ actions.
While it might not come down to us rioting or protesting the actions of the government for fear of being murdered in cold blood by the police in service of the government of the day, our MP’s are here being warned that the battle will be fought and won using the ballot box. You should know that your tenure in parliament is tied to the apron strings of the voting masses.
We are calling on all MPs who care for this country and our future development not to sit there and allow this government to use you to pass laws that are bad or against the interests of the people. We are especially calling on SLPP MPs to vote in line with the wishes of the people, which include your families, children, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Should you allow this to happen, the people will not vote for you.
Taking a leaf or page from the book of the recent US presidential elections, we can see how states that are traditionally Republican voted Democrat in clear admonition of the incumbent president. In the same vein, we expect SLPP MPs to vote in line with the wishes of the people, not the party.
These are not partisan times in Sierra Leone. Our democracy is degenerating into a one man show where vast powers are vested in one person who wields the sceptre in favour of one segment of society over the other, instead of in favour of all. The only check to the executive’s power is in the legislature. Despite belonging to a party now, Members of Parliament first belonged and still belong to the nation, which should always be your focus.
Politicians and good leaders are expected to work in the interest of the people, from whom they derive their privileged position. The onus is now on SLPP MPs to finally show that our democracy has matured beyond tribal and partisan interests, which have for long been the fuel for corruption and all the isms that are currently affecting us as a people and nation state. If you allow the Cybercrime Bill, the Local Council Bill and Midterm Census to pass your watch, you should know that they will not only affect and be used against your constituents who voted for you, but also yourself, your children and generations yet unborn. Posterity will judge you for the decision you make regarding these bills and census.
Be here advised that presidents are always flight risk prone, as they leave State House and go into the sunset after two terms, but MPs can stay in the system much longer. It would be an unfortunate event after you would have allowed yourselves to be cowed into passing laws against your constituents and fellow citizens, to then turn around and come and seek their mandate to continue your time up in parliament. Would you vote for yourself if the tables were turned?
So, in the interest of the people, and self-preservation, we are calling on all MPs regardless of political affiliation to vote against the Cybercrime and Local Council Bills, and the Midterm Census in favour of ‘land that we love’, Mama Salone. Your vote is private. Vote according to conscience, not party, tribe or region!