Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 February 2018
Sierra Leone’s Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) is taking a tough stance on political parties that are violating the PPRC Code of Conduct during this election period, as polling day approaches.
It has today ordered the ruling APC to remove all its banners and posters from public places that carries the slogan – “Krios for APC”.
A row broke out a few weeks ago, between the ruling APC and sections of the Krio community in the country, who say that they are deeply offended by the ruling party’s misrepresentation of the political loyalty and support of the Krios as a tribal group.
Whilst individual members of the Krio communities in and out of the country may support political parties of their choice, there is no collective or organised consensus by the Krios to support any one political party, they said. (Photo: Members of the KDU in the US in their distinguished cultural attire).
The Sierra Leone Telegraph understands that certain overzealous senior members of the ruling APC who are of Krio origin, have taken it upon themselves to unilaterally align the political support of the Krios as a group to the ruling APC.
But critics say that this strategy is aimed at hoodwinking the electorate, in advance of general and presidential elections taking place on 7th of March 2018.
“There are two candidates vying for the presidency on March 7th who are of Krio origin, including the daughter of the late Dr Cole of Edwards Street, Freetown, whom the Krios have not clannishly come out to support either, let alone the ruling APC.
“No sycophantic politician of Krio origin has been given the mandate to speak on behalf of all Krios. And the recognised voice for the Krios are Madam Cassandra Garber and Professor Eldred Jones,” Mrs. Sylvia E Jolliminah Blyden told the Sierra Leone Telegraph, in support of the press statement published today by the President of the Krio Descendant Union (KDU) – Mrs Cassandra Garber.
This is what the KDU statement says:
“It is understandable that the nearer “D-DAY” of March 7 draws, so the excitement of nationals will soar to fever level. This is however no justification or excuse for any person to UNILATERALLY by PUBLIC MEDIA DEVICE make a statement to commit the voting rights of others.
“Persons belonging to the Krio ethnic group take serious objection to a recent media shot which declared- “KRIOS FOR APC”.
“With as many as 16 political parties contesting the prominent position of HEAD OF STATE as well as the memberships of the HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT, including 2 (two) parties with Krio presidential FLAGEBEARERS, such actions show: (A) Disregard of natural rights of their compatriots; (B) Insincerity of purpose; (C) Ignorance of the tenets of DEMOCRACY.
“Remember and Apply the axiom “MANY MEN, MANY MINDS”
“SIGNED: Mrs Cassandra Garber, President – KRIO DISENDANT YUNION.” (End).
When news of the row between sections of the Krio Community and the ruling APC over the campaign billboards and banners bearing the slogan – “KRIO FOR APC” broke a few weeks ago, the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph contacted the PPRC to seek legal clarification, as to whether indeed this was not in violation of the PPRC Code of conduct for political parties and the election campaigning process.
The PPRC has today issued a press statement condemning the ruling APC’s behaviour, and calling on them to pull down and remove all billboards, posters and banners bearing this tribalistic campaign material.
This is what the chairman of the PPRC – Justice Patrick O. Hamilton said in a statement:
“Pursuant to its mandate as provided in the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No. 6 of 1991 and the Political Parties Act No. 3 of 2002, the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) is calling on the All Peoples Congress (APC) to advise some of its members to refrain from aligning a particular tribe/ethnic group to their Party.
“The Commission is hereby asking the APC to ensure that their members put down banners or posters with the inscription “Krio for APC”. It is clear in the Political Parties Act of 2002 that political parties should not be aligned to any particular tribe in Sierra Leone, and such banners and posters are not in the interest of the people of Sierra Leone.
“The Commission is also calling on the Leadership of all registered Political Parties to ensure that they respect the Campaign Calendar as published by the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
“Furthermore, Political Parties should desist from holding political party meetings on dates that has been allocated to another party as it is a recipe for chaos and/or political disputes.
“The Commission therefore call on the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) to remain vigilant and bring to book anyone caught violating the campaign calendar.”