By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Renaissance Movement, a movement operating in Sierra Leone which aims at re-inventing and repositioning the country, has raised concerns over the recent wage bill introduced by the government and other governance matters the country.
The release issued today and signed by its interim leader Augustine Sorie-Sengbe Marrah said it is concerned about the recent happenings in the governance of the country some of which have become a cause for alarm to the people of Sierra Leone.
“Firstly, the Movement notes with concern that the recent wage bill has expanded government’s spending in the midst of growing economic challenges facing Sierra Leoneans. The Movement would like to register our strong dissatisfaction at the enlargement of cabinet and the prominent lack of adequate female representation. This recent expansion of cabinet is in the considered view of the Movement, unnecessary and creates a serious strain on the lean resources of government,’’ the release stated.
According to the release , the Movement calls on the President to seriously consider trimming the cabinet and controlling the ballooning wage bill to reflect the economic realities that the nation currently faces thus urging the President to be more inclusive in his appointments and ensure adequate and equitable female representation in cabinet and all Presidential appointments.
“Secondly, the Movement is concerned about the recent incident of unjustified arrest and detention of a journalist who was seeking to cross-check his story with the Chief Minister. The Movement condemns the unlawful action of the Sierra Leone Police and calls for an investigation and discipline of those members of the Police who were involved in the said arrest and detention of the journalist,’’the release added.
The release further added that the Movement would like to urge the government to continue in its promise to repeal the criminal libel laws which are used to oppress journalists and to deny citizens an open and free society.
“Thirdly, the movement is concerned about rising inflation, more particularly the uncertainty around the fuel pump price and its attendant consequences on the majority of people. The Movement urges government to immediately address the brewing fuel crisis so that it doesn’t spill over to other essential social commodities and public services.’’
The Movement noted that as movement, they are dismayed at some provisions of the Finance Act 2020 which make the overseas travel imprest of the President, Vice-President and the Speaker of Parliament unaccountable to the people of Sierra Leone adding that as a movement they considered this as giving a blank cheque to the President, his Vice and the Speaker, at the expense of the country’s struggling economy.
“It is not only un-progressive but equally inconsistent with responsible economic management as well as democratic principles of accountability and transparency. The Movement is appalled that the representatives of the people of Sierra Leone in Parliament could sanction the passage of those provisions in the said Finance Act 2020. The Movement therefore calls on the President not to assent the said law in the interest of the values of accountability and transparency which are the bedrock of any democracy and which apply to all persons, whether be they leaders or the Governed,’’
The Movement however, reminded the government of its “People’s Manifesto” which promised to put the interests of the people central in their governance and therefore call on the government to address the above concerns, some of which are in fact major campaign promises by this government which are not being kept.