CGG is a non-governmental organization that focuses on Democracy and Human Rights. It ranked the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) 80% and the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) 37% in terms of public confidence in the performance in their respective duties.
The report further indicated that 56% of Sierra Leoneans are of the opinion that dual citizens should not be allowed to stand for public office, while 80% of Sierra Leoneans blame political parties for the increase in elections violence. Seven out of ten Sierra Leoneans say citizens should be able to hold government accountable; even if that results to government making decisions slower. More than half of respondents say there is more freedom now than used to be in the past.
The report also indicated that 73% of Sierra Leoneans agree that the National Electoral Commission (NEC) performed its duty as a neutral body guided by law; with eight out of every ten citizens saying the 2018 election was free and fair.
The report further outlines the challenges of media freedom to investigate.
During the launch of the report, Marcella Samba, Executive Director, Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), who doubled as chairperson of the event, threw light on the importance of the Afro Barometer. She said it is a Pan-African initiative aimed at measuring citizens’ attitudes on democracy, good governance, the economy, civil society, and other areas.
She added that this initiative started in 12 African countries in 1999 and later expanded to 36 countries. She said surveys had been completed in 2016/2018, with the goal of giving the public a voice in policy- making by providing high quality public opinion data to policy makers, policy advocates, civil society organizations, academics, news media, donors, investors, and ordinary Africans.
She thanked CGG partners for their contribution in conducting the survey and for launching the report.
“We are looking at how this data would affect the lives of ordinary citizens, because most times people speak on governance and politics based on mere opinion and speculation but opinion and speculation cannot change the situation because the people want to see real democracy at work,” adding that most of the time, politicians focus more on methodology than on the stories behind the data,’ she said.
Ibrahim Sesay also of the CGG informed his audience that the Afro Barometer is carried out every third year and that this is the 7th survey conducted so far, but that for Sierra Leone, this is the third Afro Barometer survey. He said the data is scientific and targeted 1,200 Sierra Leoneans with a nationwide representation and that the report is the view of Sierra Leoneans and not that of the CGG or the Afro Barometer.
Minister of Information and Communication, Mohamed Rado Swarray in his brief address said inviting the CGG to launch its report at the ministry’s conference room is an indication of the government’s commitment in addressing issues of democracy and human rights. He stated that the passing of the statutory instrument in parliament to form the Commission of Inquiry is another demonstration of the government’s commitment to accountability and good governance.
He went on to say that the dual citizenship issue is becoming a debatable one, and as a government, they recognize the contribution of Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora and will look into it.
“However, the SLPP government is committed to addressing some of these burning issues in the near future,” the Information Minister said.