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April 2014
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Questions abound the Arms Bill

Questions abound the Arms Bill thumbnail

Everywhere in the city and the up-countries the debate is hitting on the recent tabling of an Arms Bill, which appealed in the minds of parliamentarians for the president to assent to it at a time many believe is untimely. The arms and ammunitions laws were already obsolete considering the 1955 Act which provided the citizen’s rights to handle rifles for the purpose of self defence. Questioning of the time is done here with a thorough consideration of the fact that, Sierra Leone is a post conflict nation with eleven years brutal conflict history recorded as the most atrocious war. Second ration to the question points to the fact that elections are due November 17 and often is the case whereby accusations of people always planning to disrupt the peaceful nature of our elections process are always rife beyond the normal control of our police force.

Already we have a police division called the Operational Support Division (OSD) which is very ill mannered in terms of their spate of sporadic gunning of innocent, unarmed persons, of late. This goes to attack the issue of malice afore-thought, conflict and conflicting mindsets. We are aware of what transpired during the eleven years civil war, when seated grudges in the past were used to settle scores of old enemies. Quite besides this, a couple of other obsolete laws are still in the law books of the land without being ratified. The criminal and seditious libel and the Freedom of Information bills are still gathering dust in shelves of parliament. The road traffic Act and a couple of other Acts that have become obsolete. What needs a thorough thought and inker of brains is how efficient the Sierra Leone police force is in terms of being in control of the loosing situations that is awaiting the passing into laws of such bill.

The president had demonstrated this once by his invocation of a Mac-P policy at a time when armed robbery was rampant in the city’s thick danger posing moment. Quite apart from that, the bill needs enough sensitization and if possible the people’s consent before passing it as one of the laws of the land. This is said with consciousness that even some journalists are challenged with defining the limits of what it means to have an Arms and Ammunition Act passed at a moment considered to be too obscure for the fragile peace of the once war beleaguered West African country.

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