In commemorating the International Day of Democracy (IDD), the National Commission for Democracy (NCD) organized several programmes to raise awareness in the public on the need to be committed to upholding the principles of democratic good governance amidst the Covid 19 pandemic.
One of the many programmes the Commission hosted is the Roundtable Discussion on the theme: “Covid-19: A Spotlight on Democracy.” The programme attracted both state and non-state actors including youth and woman groups with Professor Emeritus Ekundayor David Joseph Thompson serving as the Lead Facilitator. The programme was hosted in the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Information and Communications on Friday 25th September 2020 with a live broadcast on Radio Democracy 98.1 FM to avail the public the opportunity to be part of the discussions.
In his presentation, the Deputy Minister of Public and Political Affairs, Amara Kallon commended the NCD for organizing, what he referred to as ‘an epoch-making event.’ He noted that the programme is a clear indication of the New Direction’s readiness and willingness to promote the tenets of democracy and good governance. The Deputy Minister assured his audience that his Ministry would take the views that will be expressed during the programme very seriously to promote democratic consolidation in the Country.
After Commending the Government and its citizens for their invaluable role in the fight against the Covid 19 pandemic, the Chairman for the National Commission for Democracy, Dr Abubakar H. Kargbo, encouraged both the Government and the Citizenry to strike the right balance between rights and responsibilities and employ the principle of proportionality in the implementation of the emergency regulations on the foundations of the rule of law and the context of constitutional order.
The Chairman noted that despite the truth that they have made some progress in some areas, there is still room for improvement with the need for state and non-state actors and all stakeholders to make a determined move in consolidating democracy on the foundation of legitimacy, nationalism and patriotism. Dr Kargbo averred that it is incumbent on every Sierra Leonean to observe the International Day of Democracy (IDD) with a reminder that we have a responsibility to collectively stand against corruption, intolerance, violence, injustice, coercion, Sabotage, hate speech to make Sierra Leone a better place for all.
Presenting on the theme: “Covid 19: A Spotlight on Democracy,” the Lead Facilitator, Professor Ekundayor D.J. Thompson underscored the importance of IDD noting that its commemoration lies in the commitment of citizens to enhance democratic values even amidst crisis like the Covid 19. The professor pointed out two key elements while elucidating on democracy and the state of its health. He cited the moral autonomy of the individual as an agent and the exercise of rights and the duties of responsibilities.
Professor Thompson used five key broad elements that could be used to effectively assess the health of the state of democracy including; representative government, fundamental rights, checks on government, impartial administration and participatory engagement. These five broad elements were further explained with a thorough analysis even as participants were asked to make a genuine assessment on the state of democracy in the country.
The Master of Ceremony who also doubles as the PR and Communications Director of the Commission, Rev. Gibrilla Kargbo moderated the question and answer session even as he encouraged participants to express their candid opinion on the state of the Country’s democracy.
Participants raised concerns as they made their contributions concerning the operations of some government institutions including the Security Sector and the Judiciary.