By State House Communication Unit
President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Monday 13 November urged the new executive of the Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) to come out with clarifications on issues particularly on the position and functions of the law in the processes of conducting the 2018 elections. “It is important that we have clarifications of electoral laws and processes of the 2018 elections before elections day,” he said. He made this statement during a courtesy call by a delegation of the SLBA at State House in Freetown.
Commenting on the significant role of the Bar Association in the 2018 polls, President Koroma said as the elections draw near, it is expected that the bar will contribute immensely to having an informed citizenry on 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 her democracy adding that Sierra Leone does not need a Kenyan or Liberian experience. 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 bar association to provide legal interpretation of the law on critical issues in the 2018 electoral processes prior to election day.
Congratulating the new executive, President Koroma expressed hope that the executive will provide the required leadership in moving the association forward. He also assured of government’s commitment to improving and empowering the judiciary to meet the expectations of the public. The president commended the efforts of the Bar Association which is in the process of compiling a simplified version of relevant electoral laws of Sierra Leone and expressed delight on the timeliness of the bar’s 2017 theme – “Ensuring free, fair and credible elections”. He also drew the bar’s attention to the significance of intensifying public education on not only electoral laws, but also on 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 and informed that the association will be partnering with the United Nations Development Programme focusing on media and community engagements and one on one engagements with key stakeholders in 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.