To break the current trends of shrinking democratic space and increased inequality, it is important to ensure that the emergency powers – although vital in protecting health – are not used to shrink the democratic space.
WFD joins Campaign for Good Governance on a National call to calm and unity
On the 8th May 2020, Sierra Leone experienced a 90-minute light on its journey to hope and unity through a National Conference focused on discussing strategies that will urge all political parties and the government to tone down unhelpful rhetorics, utterances and actions.
The country’s democratic pillars of good governance, respect for human rights and protection of national peace and unity are being shaken amidst the country’s ongoing fight against COVID-19. This national conference sent a credible message calling for reason and national decorum.
The comments and questions at the conference made it clear that there is a national desire for calm in the midst of COVID 19 and the rise in violence across the country.
Speakers at the webinar also urged political parties and the government to tone down unhelpful rhetoric and actions like unlawful arrests of high profile opposition politicians and counter-accusations by the country’s two major political parties. This is further worsened by the creation and circulation of widespread conspiracy theories, propaganda videos and audios on social media.
Some of the messages being arrayed around social media verge as hate speech and incitements and further undermine the already fragile foundations of the state. There were many suggestions to continue the event as a monthly series.
More than 500 political and civil leaders, Nobel Laureates, and organisations have signed an open letter to defend democracy, warning that the freedoms we cherish are under threat from governments using the COVID-19 crisis to tighten their grip on power.
Since COVID-19 first arrived in Sierra Leone, the Government has taken key measures to counter the pandemic including declaring a state of public emergency, issuing a ban on public gatherings, and travelling, and suspending all religious activities. In Parliament, the Speaker asked political party leaders to only have half of their members in the chambers, […]