Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 November 2017
The executives of the Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) were at State House in Freetown yesterday, Monday 13th November 2017, were they met President Ernest Bai Koroma to discuss the work of the association.
Speaking to the SLBA executives, the president urged them to be more proactive, especially in putting forward legal opinions on issues, especially regarding the forthcoming March 2017 elections.
“It is important that we have clarifications of electoral laws and processes of the 2018 elections before elections day,” he said.
President Koroma said that as the elections draw near, it is expected that the SLBA will contribute immensely in educating and informing voters about the electoral laws and processes, as well as general acceptance of the 2018 elections.
He pointed out that the country has come a long way in building its democracy. He added that Sierra Leone does not need a Kenyan or Liberian experience, where elections have reached deadlock and resulting in violence and court battle, as in the case of Kenya.
The president stated that even though it is the responsibility of the Supreme Court to interpret the law, it is also equally important for the SLBA to provide legal interpretation of the law on critical issues relating to the 2018 elections.
President Koroma congratulated the new executive and expressed hope that they will provide the required leadership in moving the SLBA forward. He also assured them of government’s commitment to improving and empowering the judiciary to meet the expectations of the public.
President Koroma commended the efforts of the Bar Association for its current work in producing a simplified version of relevant electoral laws of Sierra Leone. He expressed delight on the timeliness of the bar’s 2017 theme – “Ensuring free, fair and credible elections”.
He also drew the attention of the SLBA executives to the significance of intensifying public education on not only electoral laws, but also on other matters of national importance.
Presenting the new executive, president of the SLBA – Mrs Rhoda Suffian-Kargbo Nuni, reported that the new executive was elected in July 2017 and thanked the government for the tremendous strides made in strengthening the judiciary.
Mrs. Nuni noted the pivotal role of the Bar Association in the political dispensation of the state. She informed the president that the association will be partnering with the United Nations Development Programme – in working with the country’s media, as well as community engagements with key stakeholders of the electoral process.
She added that the SLBA will be creating a handbook of a simplified version of relevant electoral laws, providing pro-bono services and will be organizing its annual dinner to which the Association has invited President Koroma to serve as Distinguished Guest of Honour in December this year.