Looking into the Universalities and Fairness of the Constitution of Sierra Leone

By Mustapha Sheriff

 In Sierra Leone, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did recommend in point 38 that ‘Sierra Leone should consider the creation of a new constitution which should be the product of a wide and thorough consultative and participatory programme. Such a constitution must lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which every citizen is equally protected by law.’’

Fala Albert Bockarie is the Director of Foundation for Development Democracy and Human Rights, Eastern Region, Kenema Sierra Leone. He believes that there is need for a constitutional review in Sierra Leone. Albert is not the only one to have had this view. For most people, there are certain sections of the Sierra Leone constitution that should be looked into. To them, there is need for inclusiveness and fairness.

Concerns have been mounting over time on the area of the Sierra Leonean citizenship. To some people, been born in Sierra Leone should guarantee automatic citizenship.

Mohamed Faray Kargbo is the former Public Relations Manager of Sierra Leone’s Constitutional Review Committee. He was of the opinion that much progress has been achieved in the review. To him, consultations were made and that all fourteen districts in Sierra Leone were adequately represented. Civil Society activists like Tholoma Sumah of the Foundation for Development believe that more needed to have been down. He argued on other vital priority areas and that such points should be looked into.

Sierra Leone and Sierra Leoneans are blessed to have a relatively peaceful country. To some people, such position is achieved because among other reasons, Sierra Leone is a religiously tolerant nation. It is common to see Christians and Muslims making up homes and beautiful families. On the contrary, some people believe that the constitution of Sierra Leone should be revisited to ensure that there is equality for all and sundry.

The Head of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) in Kenema Sierra Leone, Lahai Galiwa said that human rights are fundamental principles that should not be toyed with. He added that it will be worrisome to have situations where certain sectors of society question the equality and impartiality of the constitution which he describes as the sacred document of any nation.

Lawyer M. Gbaya is Director of Legal and Cooperate Affiars, National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA). Like many other people, he believes that every constitution should cater for all categories of persons, devoid of class, race and ethnicity. All of these concerns have suggested the need for a sober review of the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone. A constitution that is people centered it is argued will have lesser issues with the general public. As a developing country, Sierra Leone should strive hard to see that other areas are adequately sorted. It is not welcoming to have aggrieved citizens in any society/setting.

It is true that rights should go with responsibilities. This is why it is important to establish the level playing field for all members of any given society. The world over, there are issues that speak to constitutionality and other related matters. When such things show up, the best option is to amend matters where necessary and reasonably called for.  It may not be as easy as it sounds, but with resilience and commitment, equality and inclusiveness are very much achievable.

This article is produced with support from MRCG through the ATJLF project on ‘’Engaging the media to change the narrative on Transitional Justice (TJ) issues in Sierra Leone.


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