Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 February 2019:
The leadership of the All Peoples Congress (APC) Party, the National Grand Coalition (NGC), and the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) yesterday signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with elections stakeholders – the National Electoral Commission (NEC), the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and the Office of National Security (ONS), ahead of the 9th of March 2019 bye-election re-run, taking place in Ward 196, Tonko-Limba Chiefdom in the Kambia District.
The decision to sign an MOU comes after an impasse between the APC and the SLPP that led to the cancellation of the elections by NEC on the 29th September 2018, and the announcement of a re-run scheduled for 9th March 2019.
The parties and the election stakeholders witnessed by the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) subscribed to the following:
1. That we shall individually, collectively and actively promote tolerance and condemn any act of violence and intimidation by our supporters before, during and after the polling day.
- That we commit to respect the will of the people and to accept the result of the election and further, to graciously concede defeat provided the elections are transparent, free and fair.
- That in the event of just cause to reject the result of the election, we shall use due process to register our complaints and shall resort to peaceful and legal means to redress our grievances.
- That all political actors, party stalwarts and non-accredited individuals who are not ordinarily resident nor eligible to vote in Ward 196 must not be seen within the precinct of the Polling Centres.
- That our political stalwarts who are not assigned to polling centres shall not invade the polling centres, obstruct or disrupt the electoral process.
- That our leaders, candidates, members, and supporters shall refrain from wearing campaign or political colours on polling day.
- That our supporters (voters) shall retire to their homes peacefully after casting their votes.
- That we shall continue to uphold all the commitments in the Codes of Conduct for Political Party Candidates and Supporters.
NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (NEC)
1.That staff members of NEC shall create a conducive environment and a level playing field for all contesting parties.
- That staff members of NEC shall display high-level of professionalism in the discharge of their duties in line with Sections 32 & 33 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone and the Public Elections Act of 2012.
That NEC shall preside over the conduct of the election without any interference or undue influence from election observers, political party stalwarts or party agents.
1. That the Security Sector shall ensure that on-lookers are 400 meters away from the polling centres.
2. That the Security Sector shall enforce the ban on the display of secret society before, during and after the election.
3. That the Security Sector shall provide adequate security and create a level playing field for all political parties, candidates, and supporters.
4. That Security Personnel shall conduct themselves in a professional manner in the discharge of their duties.
5. That the Security Sector shall restrict the movement of non-accredited high-profile politicians, non-voters and unauthorised persons within and outside the polling centres.
I have always been doubtful of the NGC’s role with regards to participation on issues of public interest. I always accuse them of being MUTE. But with such display of maturity and responsibility, I give them thumbs up. If the NGC continues like this, then they will surely have a place come 2023. Remaining silent will only increase their chances of stalling in the political wilderness forever.
Interesting things are now happening in the political sphere which is good for the country. The APC is relinquishing VIOLENCE, the SLPP is moving away from REVENGE and the NGC is trying to make its VOICE heard. Is that not good for our democracy? O yes. Talking to myself.
Well done NGC and I hope you continue to engage with other parties, especially the APC and the SLPP (always at loggerheads with parliamentary decisions) on crucial matters and problems regarding out beloved Sierra Leone. The people of Sierra Leone needs the NGC and the other smaller parties to tell them the truth about the chaos that happens in parliament.
If parties such as the NGC don’t explain the truth to us, then ordinary citizens would have no alternative but to start guessing and thus getting nowhere. GOD BLESS THE NGC for this smart move.
If implemented and I pray that it will, this could be the greatest breakthrough in our political history. We all could only gain as a country for such a move. Say no to political violence. And for the first time, we want to put SALONE FOS. As an NGC member I want to congratulate all the political parties. Let this move be the Sierra Leonean standard of conducting elections in the future. KKY a special Thanks!!!