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Civil Society groups launch citizens’ manifesto titled “my vote is my life”

By Mohamed Konneh
Shiekh Alhaji Abu Bakarr Conteh and Archbishop Dr. Edward Tamba Charles performing the launch
The Civil Society Consortium comprising various civil society organizations including religious leaders and academics on Saturday 29th July 2017 launched the Citizens’ Manifesto at a well attended programme at the Miata Conference hall in Freetown.
The launch is part of demands by citizens to politicians on what is needed for the development and wellbeing of citizens and the country with the theme “My Vote My Life.”
Launching the manifesto, Archbishop Dr. Edward Tamba Charles said the resolution is to aspiring generation of political leaders requesting from them to subscribe and work towards. We believed that by responding to the resolutions in this manifesto, political parties and the next administration can change the face and purpose of politics in Sierra Leone.
The Archbishop noted that they have observed security officers face severe logistical constraints that affect their preparedness for the 2018 elections. Giving these logistical constraints, we recommended that government consider increasing budgetary allocation to the security sector to enhance their operations.
The launch was jointly done by Sheikh Alhaji Abu Bakarr Conteh and Archbishop Tamba Charles highlighting the recommendations to the both the audience and political parties present.
Sheikh Abu Bakarr Conteh drew the attention of the audience to recommendation six, saying the government through the office of National Security and the Political Parties Registration Commission should work with political parties and the Sierra Leone Police to commit to peaceful campaigns by not using any acts of violence against political opponent to other parties and one’s own, avoiding the use of thugs and ensuring that state security forces are neutral. Any violent act will result in sanctions by the PPRC.
He said the National Electoral Commission should take steps to make politics affordable by reducing candidature fees for president, parliamentarians and local councilors to the equivalent of one-month salaries of those offices.
Highlighting the demands the consortium, Co-chair Abu Brima said asset declaration stands out strong noting that citizen’s demand presidential and members of parliament declare their asset on or before nomination for the 2018 elections. Moreover, our next President and MPs of the incoming parliament should declare their asset publicly annually and that citizens believe asset declaration by politicians’ shows political commitment to the fight against corruption.
He said we also demand political parties and presidential candidates’ commit in allocating at least forty percent of local council and parliamentary seats to women. Five percent seat allocation should also be directed to persons with disabilities, while citizens shares in mining and agricultural investment remains key.
Presidential candidates should commit their parties to reviewing existing mining and large scale agriculture land acquisition agreements with the view in increasing the stakes and benefits of affected communities in line with the African mining vision. Presidential and parliamentary candidates to also conduct transparent campaign financing by opening campaign accounts in recognized banks and ensuring that all donations and support from local and foreign businesses and government officials and departments are made public.
Politicians should also commit to the minimum standards laws that guarantee Sierra Leoneans the right to food, housing health and education and develop a plan of action for implementation the law. Policy should also be developed on national cohesion that outlaws all forms of discrimination in the distribution of resources and public office appointment.
‘Ensure twenty percent of our annual domestic revenue is spent on education, institute punitive action for poor teaching services, abuse of girls and corruption in schools and officially recognized the role on non-state education providers. Allocate twenty percent of domestic revenue to health care and extend free health care to the aged and person living with disability. Repeal the criminal libel law and execute programmes to save our environment including; ensuring proper waste disposal, limiting street trading and responding to threats from mining and construction.
The launch of the manifesto was climaxed by fine performance by Emerson Bocakrie and teams on the theme song “My Vote My Life”.

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