Sierra Leone’s President Bio warns against bad governance and corruption

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 December 2019:

President Dr Julius Maada Bio yesterday, told a group of distinguished lawyers from across English Speaking West African countries attending a Judicial training workshop in Freetown, that bad political governance and corruption restrict civic space and destroy democratic freedoms.

The workshop which is jointly organised by the Judicial and Legal Training Institute and the International Commission of Jurists,  attended by lawyers from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana and the Gambia, is discussing the effective implementation of global, regional and sub-regional human rights norms in Anglophone West Africa.

Addressing the participants, President Bio said that citizens would enjoy their inalienable human rights when civic and environmental governance are most conducive and transparent.

He noted that governance of the environment and the mitigation of the impact of human activity on the environment are critical, for the full enjoyment of the rights to food and health security.

He said that Sierra Leone has signed and ratified treaties and conventions,  domesticating them and setting up courts.

“We have domesticated most of these in our laws, such as the Child Rights Act of 2007, the Domestic Violence Act of 2007, the Persons with Disability Act of 2011, the Distribution of Estates Act of 2007, the Registration of Customary Marriage and Divorce Act of 2007; and, the Sexual Offences Acts of 2012 and 2019.

“Sierra Leone is committed to respecting, promoting, protecting, and fulfilling the Human Rights of its citizens. Our Courts are addressing issues regarding Human Rights within powers enshrined in our Constitution Act No. 6 of 1991.

“We will also continue reviewing how other such progressive treaties as the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights will work with our domestic laws and judicial processes. Sierra Leone also maintains its affirmation of the goals of Agenda 2063,” he assured.

President Bio also told the lawyers that Sierra Leone has held five free elections and three peaceful transfers of powers in recent times; promising that, his government will firmly consolidate a culture of democratic rule and democratic accountability.

“My Government has affirmed the right to education of the child by increasing allocations to education to an unprecedented 21% of the national budget. Together with the right to food security and quality healthcare, it is at the centre of the Government’s Human Capital Development priorities,” he noted.

The President concluded by saying that he wholeheartedly commends and supports the initiative of dialogue, particularly with the involvement of the judiciary of Sierra Leone.

Honourable Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards, the Chief Justice of the Republic of Sierra Leone (Photo),  said in his keynote address that respect for human rights is central to any society, whether it is from a political, civil, economic or cultural standpoint.

He added that all human beings are born free and equal, and noted however, that there are countless instances where those rights have been violated by a large number of the world’s population.

“As independent judges, we stand as guarantors, guardians, protectors, and enforcers of human right norms; and it is but pertinent and inevitable that we should choose to be competent and diligent judicial officers by equipping ourselves in ways as to acquire or reinforce knowledge in the subject, as to be sufficiently knowledgeable, possessing the requisite knowledge and gravitas to withstand any challenge on human rights, no matter where it is coming from.

“As an organ of the state, we, like the executive and legislature, have a duty to respect, protect and promote and fulfil the human rights of our respective citizenry; and where the executive and legislature have failed, we cannot fail,” he assured.

President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association, Robert Kowa (Photo above), said that the practice of human rights is grounded in the nature of human beings themselves; adding that he is confident that this week’s training workshop would provide practical tools to deliver human rights  standards and norms. He also added that it would promote and protect good governance in the respective countries

Chairperson of the Sierra Leone Human Rights Commission, Patricia Nansu Ndanema, said that she is gratified to be part of the experience-sharing occasion that is geared towards the protection of and respect for human rights. She said that the workshop shows commitment on the part of Anglophone West Africa for the promotion of human rights norms.

“Application of human rights norms within the justice system is crucial, but if discussions here today are put into actions, then I remain very optimistic that they will lay strong foundation to address many human rights concerns within the justice system which include but not limited to the long delays of prison inmates to enjoy their rights to be heard and on time; and the long term detention without indictment. I believe experiences shared here will better improve on the effectiveness of the structures that are meant to restore hope when victims access them,” she said.

8 Comments

  1. Alimamy – Its time for the world to know that the Chief Justice Of Sierra Leone,our only home,has been steadily compromising the peace,and stability of our nation through his underhanded ways for quite some time now. Petitions, scattered everywhere,piled in heaps,gathering dust,being deliberately ignored by this good for nothing,inefficient Chief Justice.

    Under his watch Justice is being bargained for,and traded like goods in a marketplace – like voluptuous human flesh in a brothel,to every one with power,and money.(lol) My sources tell me that our Chief Justice is allegedly corrupt to the innermost core of his being – allegedly corrupt to the bone and marrow, allegedly bought not with money,but with leftovers,and scraps falling from the kitchen tables of the SLPP. His allegedly disgraceful,unethical attitudes shows he owes his loyalty,and allegiance to them,and not to the people of Sierra Leone.

    What a shame it is,to watch him,and Bio playing games,on a stage with the struggling masses of Sierra Leone. Take a deep breath,and think about that for a minute….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  2. A leader who inform his cabinet to say that, l, as a leader will keep quiet, but you should not. You have to ensure you create problems. And because of that, all the so called Batalion are just doing what they are instructed to do. I have never seen any politics in the western world like the way Sierra Leone government politics has become.

  3. You are a sad and pathetic loser this time. Your time will soon be up. Sierra Leone needs sound governance. We are in the 21st century. Our people overseas need to come home. What is going on in Sierra Leone is not good enough. No respect for human rights. Sierra Leone belongs to all Sierra Leoneans, you can’t treat people like animals. Every corner in the planet of Africa is doing better than Sierra Leone.

    The best thing is for Sierra Leone to go back to colonial rule. Because the country is not getting anywhere, apart from stealing valuables from Sierra Leone, money lundering, and greedy and mean leaders trying to enrich themselves, and their families and friends, and loved ones.

    When journalists try to expose wrong doings, they will try to kill them, because their hands are used to killing people. But this time justice will prevail. And the right thing will be done. Sierra Leone is a small country to govern if one has got good leadership skills.

  4. Yes my brother Saidu, the great Sayedna. Lies, lies, lies all over the place. Lies by the President; lies by the puppet Chief Justice; lies by the Chairperson of the Sierra Leone Human Rights Commission, who was handpicked because of her prominent tritalistic features; and lies by the very opportunistic President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association. Incredible! Isn’t it just?

    When I read this article, my stomach expanded, and suddenly contracted, and I nearly spewed up. My first thought was to tabulate all the injustices and atrocities that this SLPP government has committed since coming to power, in the last 20 months, or so. Then I reasoned to myself that there wouldn’t be enough space, and it would be a waste time at this moment. Perhaps, it’s best to leave it for another day – probably on the day of judgement of these insolent and unscrupulous people.

    The funny thing is, these liers were preaching to a group of people who are experts in detecting lies – lawyers. They would be nodding and dodging when they see lies flying towards their professional faces without showing any hint of disapproval; but when they go back to their respective countries they would be quite convinced that, although Sierra Leone is literally deficient in manufacturing anything of value, it is the best country in the region when it comes to being economical with the truth.

    How did they have the courage and audacity to think that this group of distinguished lawyers can be fooled like the gullible Sierra Leoneans? May be this could just be the right time when the Chief Justice would have a rethink, and list the petitions of the main opposition APC party – regarding the 2018 election malpractices by the SLPP – and other matters, that are gathering dust in his cupboards.

  5. “Application of human rights norms within the justice system is crucial, but if discussions here today are put into actions, then I remain very optimistic that they will lay strong foundation to address many human rights concerns within the justice system which include but not limited to the long delays of prison inmates to enjoy their rights to be heard and on time; and the long term detention without indictment”

    Indeed, actions are more meaningful than empty sugarcoated rhetoric coming from our leaders, especially the chief justice and our president. Under the current regime, we continue to see the same pattern that existed in the previous government. All across the board, opposition members continue to be violated, arrested and locked up on trumped-up up charges. The judiciary continues to employ selective justice, sidelining opposition litigation while premium is placed on the ruling party. The list goes on and on, so until we actually see meaningful actions, these hypocrite leaders should just remain silent.

  6. Thank you very much President Bio for your brilliant LECTURE/INSIGHT and I hope everyone will not only benefit from it but; adhere to your ADVICE and THOUGHTS.
    LONG LIVE and GOD BLESS OUR PRESIDENT.

  7. A big nasty slap in the face of Human rights advocates,this clearly is,to have our nation’s President,a ruthless,unremorseful coup plotter that is guilty of committing the worst,and most grievous crimes against humanity,during his years as a military President,to stand on a credible stage,unabashed,and pretentious, lecturing a group of people about the indelible benefits of human rights,attitudes of law,and order,and decency.(lol)

    This same President that is fanning,and stoking the fires of hatred,and tribalism;that is tirelessly harassing,bullying and intimidating the opposition;that is promoting policies of peripheral nepotism,and marginalisation,is smiling on a stage,selling the world a bunch of his deceptive lies.This same Corrupt,money gobbling President,that stole millions of dollars before handing over Power – that is surrounded by a Criminal Cabal,that are using underhanded tactics,and dubious means to fleece,exploit,and milk the system dry is there,standing boldly on a stage,playing the struggling masses for suckers.

    Sorry,not buying any of it all;a criminal cannot become a religious monk overnight,neither can a wicked Caterpillar bypass its necessary stages of evolution,and in the twinkle of an eye become a gentle,adorable butterfly.Nope,not happening! Now here’s a piece of advice for the Opposition – watch this man religiously day and night; Stick to him like glue on paper! let not your minds,and eyes stray,and depart from his presence,because he is still a wolf,dressed in the garments of harmless sheep…..Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • You know God has a limit to everything. Some people think they are blessed to get away with murder, but when God say enough is enough, that’s it.

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