The legal luminary said the government has not got the legal right to ban secret societies when there is no State of Emergency in the country.
“They don’t even have the powers to institute such a ban unless there is a State of Emergency and there is no State of Emergency in our country for now,” the legal man stated.
He challenged the government, especially the local government ministry to come up with constitutional provision(s) they used to institute the ban; “if not, he went on; I am asking the ministry to withdraw the ban and respect our constitution by rightfully following its provisions.”
Also speaking exclusively with this reporter was a renowned International Human Rights Lawyer, Rashid Dumbuya Esq., who doubles as CEO of Legal Link.
He said Section 26 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone gives right for some human rights to be limited.
However, he pointed out that for someone or a State to limit someone’s human right(s) that person or State must first of all meet the four Tier Limitation Tests (TLT) under the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) for a democratic society.
These Tests, Lawyer Dumbuya went on; include the Test of Legality, Test of Reasonability, Test of Justifiability and Test of Necessity.
He said the local government ministry should go back to the drawing board and check if the ban meets all the four Tests and that if any of these Tests are not met, the ban must be reversed with immediate.
In conclusion, the sober human rights lawyer called on the Independent Police Complaints Board to investigate the alleged fracas that led to the ban in Pujehun district, as according to him, there are alleged police involvements.
It can be recalled that the government on 21st January this year pronounced a ban on secret societies countrywide and this includes Bondo, Poro and by extension, Lodge and Knights secret societies.
The government informed dissatisfaction over what it referred to as: “Misuse of secret societies in some parts of the country, to the extent that certain individuals within communities are using these societies to settle scores with political opponents.”