Abdul M Fatoma – Chief Executive CHRDI
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 August 2016
We in the Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) once again, want to remind Members of the House of Parliament in Sierra Leone that, the country’s Accountant General’s Office uses taxpayers’ money to support the smooth running of parliament, pay salaries of each Member of Parliament, sitting allowance for 120 days, disburse community development funds annually and provide loan facilities.
Therefore they must not fail to provide full details about how they have been spending the Sierra Leonean taxpayers’ money for the past five years.
We want to reiterate this call specifically, because it has been brought to our notice that despite our genuine call on the House of Parliament to engage their constituents who have raised genuine concerns about how they have been conducting themselves on their behalf, the Honourable Members of Parliament have been busy calling press conference and embarking on an exercise of intimidation and threats to crackdown on social media, journalists, and possibly punish media houses that have been granting our organisation interviews and publishing our press releases in Sierra Leone.
We at CHRDI believe that such energies should have been put in a meaningful dialogue with the populace, because we believe that Parliamentarians are servants of the people for whom they make laws. (Photo: Abdul Fatoma).
They are not exempt from the laws they pass and Parliamentarians are reminded that they are not above the law, but subject equally to the law in similar manner as their constituents.
It is a fundamental right of any citizen to ask questions of their Parliamentary representative, if they have reason for concern.
Accountability to the general public for taxpayers’ money is an inextricable part of good public management and democratic governance.
It can provide assurance over Parliament’s activities, highlight improvement actions, and improve policy-making in Sierra Leone.
Effective accountability can also identity who is responsible if something goes wrong and enable redress.
CHRDI holds the belief that MPs should be held to account for what they do on our behalf in the Parliament of Sierra Leone.
Our goal in this campaign is not to embarrass Parliament, but to encourage them to adopt a more transparent and interactive approach to how they report back to their constituents on how they spend funds meant for the development of their communities.
In View of all of the above, CHRDI is now making a general appeal to all Civil Society Organisations and Media organisations in Sierra Leone, to join our accountability campaign.
Democratic accountability will be hugely strengthened but only if groups across the country are willing to hold our politicians and MPs to account on a regular and ongoing basis.
Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) is a Rights based social-policy advocacy Organisation. We Draw attention to the responsibility of duty-bearers to uphold human rights, and seek to support rights-holders to claim their rights.
CHRDI is in Special Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and accredited to many UN Agencies.
I have had to come in again just to support Abdul Kabia in his observation of president Koroma, that all the mess that is taking place in the country is not lost to him.
I was a blind supporter of Ernest Koroma in the beginning after the candidate that I was supporting for the 2007 presidential election – Charles Margai – threw his support behind him. I felt that Charles Margai must have seen something in Ernest Koroma which had eluded me.
My sole determination was to see the backs of S.L.P.P. and A.P.C. Both of them are one and the same. Bernadette Lahai, leader of the opposition, S.L.P.P., can testify to this for hours without notes.
However, Earnest Koroma has turned out to be a severe disappointment. Corruption is as diabolically widespread in the country now as it ever was. There is no salvation in the horizon.
The thing which distresses me the most about Ernest is how totally silent he becomes when there is an issues of national concern on the ground, which calls for him to reassure and rally the nation.
In a military operation, I would be so scared to be led by Ernest Koroma (Commander-in-chief of the army) that I would die many times before actually getting shot because of conflicting commands I would be receiving from him.
May Allah/God save Sierra Leone , although He owes us nothing, having made us naturally rich. Our leaders from the two major parties -S.L.P.P. and A.P.C. are just too brain dead to recognise anything positive for the national good. I have no more tears left to shed for my country.
When the legislative institution of the nation is involved in organized practices of corruption, and is consented by the executive and judicial powers to such extent that both the ruling and opposition parties team together and connive at squandering the nation’s wealth for personal gains, to the detriment of the welfare of the masses, that nation is doomed to a failed state, as Sierra Leone stands today.
With this APC government and the SLPP party of our present time, Sierra Leone will make no strides towards progress. As concerned Sierra Leoneans and Sierra Leoneans in general, we should be aware of the seriousness of the ills of the unjust governance system in the country, which threatens the survival and welfare of the people.
The endemic culture of corruption inherent in the fabric of our present political class has reached an alarming proportion with this APC government, whose effect is seen crumbling and eroding the foundation of society.
The deliberate failure of the people’s parliamentary representatives to deliver needed services and development projects for which they pay their taxes, and for which funds are formally allocated – but appropriated illicitly, is making the people vulnerable to extreme poverty, as they live in subsistence conditions, causing a further decline in the nation’s Human Development strides.
What is more perplexing, is that this is happening under the apathetic observation of the nation’s president who had failed to come out to make clear his position on all the corruption cases that had surfaced in his government and administration, casting doubts on his innocence in all of this mess.
The campaign by CHRDI and its effort to bring sanity to governance and sensitizing the citizenry to hold their Parliamentary Representatives to account for what they do on their behalf in parliament, is worthy of commendation. A national campaign should be carried out across the country to sensitize the people on this matter.
It is the citizen’s right to surveillance, monitor and demand accountability of their constituency representatives in parliament, that will curb down corrupt practices in service delivery to the people. Parliamentarians are well paid for their job, so, funds meant for needed services for the people must be spent for that purpose and not otherwise.
Government must adopt an open finance policy, whereby it must publish the allocation of funds for service delivery and development projects and the time scheduled to accomplish deadlines. This is transparency in governance and will discourage corrupt practices.
All civil society groups in the country should join this campaign – alongside CHRDI.
Thank God that the day finally came when we collectively agree on the uselessness and idleness of all MPs of Sierra Leone. For they are dysfunctional, disloyal and unpatriotic to say the least.
Certainly, they need to be red carded and shown the ‘EXIT DOOR’ with a never to be forgotten kick on their behind, come next general elections. Amen.
I never thought the day would come when I would agree with Mustache. But I agree with him this time. CHRDI needs the support of all patriotic Sierra Leoneans who could not care less about any other consideration, except the future of Sierra Leone.
How I wish that in the next parliamentary elections all the current parliamentarians – on both sides – are thrown out of office. They do not have a conscience.
I particularly want to see the backs of Ibrahim Bundu and Bernadette Lahai. The former, for being the leader who muddied the waters to conceal the results of the Ebola audit report which highlighted widespread embezzlement of funds that came to be known as “kasankay”money. The latter, for being a hopeless opposition leader, who seems to have been compromised by A.P.C.
If we move away from the politics of emotions, we can at last teach these God-forsaken parliamentarians a lesson never to be forgotten.
What do you mean by:
“You guys, in your opening statement below? Do you mean all and every Sierra Leonean?”
For your information, very recently one online newsreader of The Sierra Leone Telegraph said that the APC party of President Ernest Koroma is not corrupt and in fact beyond reproach. I was shocked to hear him say that, with all the Ebola financial embezzlement and current awkward predicaments facing the country. I asked him to explain himself on this. He became mum, and never said a word again on the corruptible practices of the APC political party.
I think Mr. Abdul Fatoma and his group, Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI), have started doing a very good job. Please keep shinning the light intensely in these dark and hidden places that amalgamate or unite a bunch of crooked thieves together. Because they fear the light, that is why they stand opposed to CHRDI’s actions. But, fret not. For God is with you. Amen.
That said, why don’t you Ms Teneh Kpaka want the MPs of Sierra Leone to be held accountable for what they do in our behalf as opposed to vilifying the proponents of this just course or line of action with curses and God’s punishment?
You guys never hold APC for Ebola fund or mismanagement of public funds. Now you want MP’s to be accountable. God will punished you all for depriving the majorities