The C4C coalition for change has reacted to the recent injunction slammed against the party by the high court of Sierra Leone restraining the party from conducting any party activity or elections for the appointment of executive members, as well as from conducting any national conference.
In a press release issued on Friday 28 April 2023, C4C stated that in a shocking display of the government’s disregard for the rule of law, the judiciary has been used to prevent them, a political party in the country, from participating in the forthcoming national elections.
They added that this is an alarming development that reinforces fears that democracy is under attack by those in power.
The party furthered that they have been outspoken in its criticism of government policies and has demanded an end to corruption and impunity and this blatant misuse of the judicial system has only served to further erode faith in democratic institutions while silencing dissent and criminalizing differences of opinion.
They stated that it is a disturbing reminder of how those in power can exploit their positions to stifle opposition.
C4C furthered that the opposition is a critical part of a functioning democracy, and it is essential that their voice is heard.
“The government’s actions are a clear violation of the right of the people to engage in the political process without fear of retribution. It is an affront to the basic principles of freedom of speech and expression, which are guaranteed by the Constitution through section 26,” they stated.
C4C further noted that the government must be held accountable for its actions, adding that citizens and the international community must unite in condemning this attack on democracy and demand that the government take immediate steps to reverse its unjustified and illegal actions.
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The government’s recent actions towards the C4C political party must be condemned for their clandestine nature and potential for abuse of judicial power. The C4C, which began as a protest movement with a simple mission to create a more equal and democratic society, has seen its goals undermined and questioned through the unconstitutional use of the courts by the Executive.
Recent events have demonstrated that the government has resorted to abusing its influence on the judicial system to silence its opponents in a way which could not be achieved through the standard channels of political debate.
The C4C’s legal case was marked by several inconsistencies, including a lack of due process and evidence. Furthermore, the refusal to provide the party with a fair hearing and it basic legal rights, suggests that the intent was to see the C4C collapse.
These actions are further proof of its disregard for democracy and its commitment to using the judicial system as a tool for political gain. The outcome of the injunction by Justice Simeone Allieu slammed on the party is emblematic of the government’s refusal to accept any criticism of its policies and its willingness to resort to undemocratic tactics to silence its opponents.
The international community must now act quickly to condemn the government’s attempts to silence its opposition and to ensure that the C4C’s rights are respected and protected. This is a fundamental step in the fight for democracy, and it must be taken seriously if we are to ensure that justice prevails, and the rule of law is respected.
The government’s recent actions against the C4C political party through the judiciary and its former Leader in Parliament Hon Emerson Lamina, who acted as a double agent within the party to destabilize by aiding and financially supporting his proxies to sign an affidavit for the injunction slammed on the eve of our National Delegate Conference, have been both unconstitutional and unprecedented.
The government’s overreaching has led to a massive crackdown on the C4C party and its members, which has put a tremendous amount of pressure on them to conform to government’s ideological view – even though they have done nothing wrong.
The government’s behavior shows a disregard for the law and diverts attention away from more pressing issues within the country while focusing solely on persecuting an opposition political party. This contravenes our nation’s constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech, assembly, and expression – all of which are integral pillars of a healthy democracy.
Furthermore, the lack of any legal basis for the injunction granted by Justice Allieu and any failure to have regard to the significant effect of such draconian action, particularly without any undertaking for damages on the part of the Plaintiffs has only heightened the sense of injustice that many feel.
The government’s actions also undermine notions of fairness and due process:
1. Denial of the right to hold the Party’s National delegate conference.
2. Denial of fundamental rights and freedoms: C4C’s freedom to express themselves politically is being threatened with restrictions that are far from necessary or proportional to any perceived threat posed by their activities.
3. Abuse of power: The government is using its authority to suppress legitimate political opposition by targeting members and associates without proper cause or any legal justification for doing so.
The judiciary’s actions against the C4C political party have, in turn, infringed on the rights of supporters of the party. The civil and political rights of C4C supporters are now being denied as a result of the government’s clampdown, including an injunction against TINOEC that has resulted in a significant curtailment of their right to participate in politics and forthcoming general elections slated for June 2023. Civil and political rights must be ensured not only for C4C supporters but for all citizens of the nation if we are to protect our democracy.
The international community has been vocal in condemning the government’s illegal activities against political parties. Several international organizations and leaders have spoken out, including the European Union (EU), the United Nations Human Rights Council, Amnesty International, and the United States Department, among others. They have called for free and fair elections and for the government to address its human rights concerns.
The international community is united in its demand that the government respects its citizens’ right to freedom of expression, assembly, and speech and demonstrate greater transparency in its actions against C4CThese demands must be met to ensure CREDIBLE, free, fair, and inclusive elections.
The government’s attempt to clamp down on the rising influence of C4C through the judiciary serves to undermine democracy and the rule of law. It sets a dangerous precedent that further entrenches a culture of impunity and abuse of power. It is a worrying development that requires urgent attention.
It is essential that the government and all other actors involved take the necessary steps to ensure the protection of civil and political rights, and that the people of Sierra Leone can express themselves freely and safely. International support is essential in their endeavored, and a concerted effort must be made to ensure that the government is held accountable for its actions and that C4C and all other citizens are respected and afforded the same rights and freedoms. Only then can the people of Sierra Leone be assured of a free and fair democratic process.
Finally, C4C leadership must remain proactive by continuing their efforts to educate their supporters about democratic principles, enhancing public engagement in efforts towards reform, and furthering their mission in concrete ways despite any attempts by the government to hamper their progress. We urge our supporters, well-wishers, and members of C4C politics at home and abroad to remain steadfast as we continue our fight for justice and a better Sierra Leone.