Hassan Gbassay Koroma: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 June 2021:
The Consortium of Progressive Political Parties (COPPP) , which comprises of 13 political parties in Sierra Leone including the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC), has accused the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) of creating division among political parties in the country.
Wadi Williams, who is the Chairman and Leader of the National Progressive Democrats Party (NPD), said the mandate of PPRC is not only to register political parties, but to also oversee inter and intra political party issues, and ensures that all political parties cooperate and interact in a constructive manner.
“But one thing that the PPRC did not do is to help the 17 political parties to function within a multi-party democracy. And this is the problem, we have a constitutionally mandated institution which is supposed to be neutral to all the political parties, but PPRC went ahead to select and fund three political parties with the aim to attack the 13 political parties that made up of the consortium,” he said.
He said the PPRC seems to have excluded them from effective participation in the governance system of the country, stating that the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has been able to insert their paid-up members into key positions at the PPRC and the National Electoral Commission (NEC), as part of their policy to take control of the system of governance.
He said the PPRC and NEC are key institutions that will determine the outcome of the next election, hence the SLPP has succeeded in placing their people to head those institutions
Chairperson of the Unity Party, Femi Claudius Cole (Photo), said the consortium comprises of 13 out of 17 political parties in the country, noting that the consortium is not an alliance to contest elections but that they came together to ensure transparency in the governance of the country.
N’Fagie Kabba, representative of the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), said recently the government punched out the criminal Libel Law that criminalized free speech. He said the government is trying to enact the Cybercrime Bill which is good for every country to protect its citizens, but that their concern is that, if enacted it will give too much powers to the government, to the extent that the Ministry of Information and Communications will be performing the duty of the judiciary.
He said the proposed Act provides that should anybody commit a cybercrime offence, it is the Minister of Information and Communications that will preside over the matter, fines or sends the person to jail.
He said the bill has some provisions that will violate the rights of citizens if passed into law, which is why they have asked the government to look and remove some of those provisions before the bill is enacted.
Alhaji Ben Kamara, National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the consortium has found out that the people that government recruited at the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) are incompetent and that even the machines they are using are faulty.
He said the process has been halted in Freetown while millions of people are yet to go through the process.
He also spoke about the current mid-term census, stating that there is nothing in the country’s law books that says a mid-term census should be conducted. He said the current government decided to do so because the former government did it.
He said they understood that the mid-term census is aimed at increasing the districts and constituencies in the south-east, adding that they also have intelligence that Tiama will become one of the District Headquarter towns.
He said census should be conducted after every ten years and not mid-term, thus they are calling on the government to put a hold on the process until the 10 years period comes.
National Chairman of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) Tony B. H Sowsa, said his party is not in support of the government’s efforts to decentralize the governance system and that they are against the move to make local council elections apolitical .