Chief Minister’s reckless statements not only defamatory but detrimental to the fabric of religious harmony and peaceful coexistence of society : Legal Link

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89 Fort Street

Freetown | Sierra Leone

6th May 2024


Chief Minister of Sierra Leone

Dr David Moinina Sengeh

Office of the President

State House

State Avenue


6th May, 2024


Dear Chief Minister,




CHRISTIAN LAWYERS CENTRE (hereinafter referred to as LEGAL LINK) is deeply troubled by the malicious characterization and gas lighting statement made by you against religious institutions in Sierra Lone, in a national programme and in the capacity as Chief Minister of the Republic of Sierra Leone. In your video statement making the rounds on social media, you are being alleged to have stated as follows: “We get plenty church dem, we get plenty mosque dem….wae dae tiff light”.


As the leading legal-based Organization that defends the rights of religious communities and vulnerable groups in the country, we take the great exception to this unfortunate statement from you and demand an urgent retraction and public apology to the religious community in Sierra Leone. We note in recent times the increasing spate of verbal attacks against religious institutions pertaining to unfounded allegations of electricity theft and public disorder in the country. Your alarming statement, asserting that “there are plenty Churches and Mosques that are stealing electricity light” does not only defame these revered religious institutions but also undermines the fabric of religious harmony and peaceful coexistence in Sierra Leone.


It is important to note that accusations of criminal behaviour, particularly without substantiated and irrefutable evidence, will not only pose a significant threat to the reputation and integrity of religious organizations but may further instigate unwarranted suspicion, damage to religious harmony and erosion of faith in these religious bodies. Furthermore, it is imperative to recognize the gravity of such accusations made by you especially when they target entities deeply intertwined with the social, religious and cultural fabric of communities. Churches and mosques serve as pillars of spiritual guidance, community support and charitable endeavors. Baseless allegations therefore will not only hurt their honorable missions but also undermine their invaluable contributions to society. (Photo: Legal Link director Rashid Dumbuya).



Fundamentally also, your labeling of these religious bodies as perpetrators of electricity theft without proper    investigation or inquiry is a breach of ethical conduct and the cardinal principle of natural justice. It is trite law that every criminal allegation must be substantiated through transparent and impartial inquiry proceedings, respecting the principles of due process, fairness and the rule of law. It is vital to also bring to your notice Mr Chief Minister that the implications of your defamatory statement extend far beyond the confines of legal liability. They sow seeds of discord, perpetuate stereotypes and create disaffection and public distrust for the religious community in Sierra Leone. Such status quo undermines the collective efforts towards social cohesion, religious harmony and mutual respect longed for at this time.


Without any gainsaying, it is important for leaders of the state to always exercise discernment, restraint and prudence when addressing issues of public concern. Rather than succumbing to sensationalism or hearsay, responsible leaders must always engage in fact-finding and constructive dialogue that is guided by principles of accountability, transparency and respect for human rights and due process. It is also worth noting that under section 24 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, the state has a legal and moral obligation to respect the religious rights and freedoms of individuals and this includes respecting the sanctity of religious institutions that provide the space for enjoyment of religious rights and freedoms.


In conclusion Mr Chief Minister, the making of baseless and unfounded accusations of electricity theft against churches and mosques in Sierra Leone must cease forthwith as such statements are not only defamatory but also detrimental to the fabric of religious harmony and peaceful coexistence of society. Painting religious institutions with the broad brush for electricity theft is not only fallacious but a clear mis-characterisation of the electricity problem that has plagued our nation since independence. Rather than casting aspersions, we recommend that the government of Sierra Leone do more to invest in renewable energy (solar farms, wind farms / turbines, mini – hydro dams) so as to increase on the energy mix within the country.


But ultimately however, it is the fostering of partnerships between community stakeholders, religious leaders, government agencies and civil society organizations that can promote transparency, accountability and collaborative solutions to addressing the problems of energy insecurities, energy theft and misuse of energy infrastructure in Sierra Leone. We therefore kindly demand an urgent retraction and public apology to the religious community in Sierra Leone over your malicious characterization. While we anticipate your public apology and retraction, please accept the assurances of our highest regards.


Yours Faithfully,


Rashid Dumbuya Esq

Executive Director of LEGAL LINK and former Commissioner for Human Rights in Sierra Leone

On behalf of the Legal Team

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