By Amin Kef Sesay
On the 17th November, 2020, Chief Minister Professor David John Francis for the second time presented the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion Bill to Parliament for second reading. The Bill which was unanimously committed to the Parliamentary Committee by Members of Parliament is said to promote Peace and Development for the people of Sierra Leone.
Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo in his presentation said even though his party, the All People’s Congress (APC) was not part of the Bintumani 3 peace talk they will not endeavor to undermine or miss the ratification of the Bill. He referred to it as a Serious Bill. He said the Commission will create room for political cohesion and that Sierra Leoneans are people of the same stock and same background. He reaffirmed the APC’s commitment to support the Bill because to them it makes sense, and that, they will support the Chief Minister to the fullest in the passing of the said Bill.
Hon. Kandeh Yumkella of the National Ground Coalition (NGC) commended the Chief Minister for transforming the idea of Bintumani 3 into reality also stating that peace and development cannot work without respect for fundamental human rights. He emphasized on the need for ownership of the Commission by all political parties and asked for geographic and ethnic balance. He suggested the need for having an ethnic audit unit within the Commission.
The leader of the main opposition party in Parliament, Hon. Chernor Manju Bah said he believes in the leadership of the Peace expert who is the Chief Minister. He pointed out how he saw the reliability and validity of the Bill from the first day it was presented before the House by Professor David John Francis. “Chief Minister has brought before us one of the finest Bills that reflect the current need of our country,” he stated.
Professor David John Francis while addressing the issues raised by Members of Parliament thanked the Parliamentary leadership for demonstrating patriotism in discussing the Bill. He said the Government of President Bio will continue to promote political inclusiveness for the good of every Sierra Leonean. Professor Francis reassured Parliament of the independence and inclusiveness of the Commission.
Before Committing the Bill to the Committee, the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Nyuma said, the Government of President Bio has demonstrated on several occasions that indeed Sierra Leone will be developed. He said the efforts made by the Government to transform the lives of the ordinary people must not be politicized. He called on members of the House to do due diligence and make decisions based on the interests of the nation and not their individual political parties.