Sierra Leone’s Consortium of Progressive Political Parties signs memo ahead of 2023 elections

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 September 2021:

Ten opposition political parties in Sierra Leone who refer to themselves collectively as the Consortium of Progressive Political Parties (COPP),  today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), aimed at harnessing their collective strengths, signalling their willingness they say, to work amicably and assiduously in the best interest of their various parties and the people of Sierra Leone ahead of the 2022 and 2023 local, presidential and parliamentary elections.

During the meeting, political parties’ representatives spoke vehemently and candidly on the importance of an alliance, regardless of their respective ideological philosophies.

Representing the NGC, the Chairman of the party, Dr. Denis Bright (Photo above), spoke about the significance of the consortium, and the need to forge an alliance that will not only win the coming elections but to reinstate the lost values and the derailed direction the Bio-led government has taken.

This is what the Memorandum of Understanding says:

We, the undersigned political leaders, representing our respective political parties as indicated below, hereby commit ourselves to harness the collective strength of our political parties and use available resources to oppose, reject and condemn bad governance, all violations of the Rule of Law and of the rights of citizens by the current Government of Sierra Leone and to eventually put an end to the suffering of the people of this country by using democratic and lawful means.

Based on our reconcilable goals, aspirations, and opportunities, we agree to explore every opportunity to further tighten our collaboration as opposition political parties into a union that will generate a common electoral agenda.

In our defense of democracy and good governance in Sierra Leone, we shall be guided by the basic principles of justice, integrity, respect for the law and human rights and also guarantee for our people their freedoms of association, expression and movement. In witness thereof we have agreed as follows:

1.We hereby constitute ourselves into a consortium of opposition political parties under the nomenclature of “CONSORTIUM OF PROGRESSIVE POLITICAL PARTIES” hereafter referred to as “The Consortium”.

2.The Consortium is composed of individual opposition parties that have agreed to work together to defend and fortify democracy in Sierra Leone and to this end shall collaborate in joint peaceful actions whenever there is a perceived or definite threat to their democratic rights to represent their members or to function individually or collectively as political parties.

3.The Consortium shall identify controversial policies or decisions taken by the Government that are inimical to the interest of the people, educate the citizenry on such issues and take appropriate actions to reverse them.

4.The Consortium shall develop a strategic plan as a tool that will comprehensively define its goals, strategic objectives, activities and action plans, and provide a roadmap for the emergence of a collective electoral agenda.

5.The parties of the Consortium commit themselves to share information, intelligence and analyses about national issues and to pool together human, material and financial resources in pursuing their common objectives.

6.The parties maintain that their main aim is to defend democracy in Sierra Leone and to vigorously oppose all types of political oppression, intimidation and authoritarian tendencies.

7.The Consortium shall actively pursue the unification of the people of Sierra Leone through robust public education initiatives and by challenging tribalism and sectionalism and promoting respect for diversity and national cohesion.

8.The Consortium commits itself to use every available means including the social media to educate their members and supporters on the benefits of this collaboration so as to prevent misunderstandings that could frustrate the joint determination of parties to protect democracy and foster national development.

9.The Consortium commits itself to the principle of harmonious co-existence and to resolve all inter-party conflicts and disagreements away from the glare of media and public scrutiny. In cases of intra-party conflicts, the Consortium resolves to intervene and mediate as best as possible to ensure that every constituent party is sufficiently stable to contribute meaningfully to the Consortium.

10.The parties resolve that no official of a party that is member of the consortium shall for whatever reason leak out information to non-consortium bodies or individuals or act in a deceitful manner that will negatively affect the consortium.

11.All parties in the Consortium shall sign a non-disclosure agreement and in case a party decides to opt out of the Consortium it shall give one month’s notice to allow for exit arrangements including securing of data, information and properties of the consortium.

12.Being a union of opposition parties, the Consortium will be steadfast in its role as watchdogs and critics of the Government and shall consistently criticize and condemn Government and its related agencies, expose public officials for all actions and policies that are against the interests of the struggling people of this country.

13.Notwithstanding its vocation of political opposition, the Consortium shall be willing to join in any national effort that, by our assessment, is geared towards the socio-economic, political and environmental development of Sierra Leone.

14.In the spirit of the Consortium, members have agreed to do the following:

a) Engage and organize their respective memberships at local level to hold inter-party meetings, consultations on important issues and undertake collective and unified action thereby creating a foundation of trust and common purpose for members of the Consortium

b) Instruct their representatives in Parliament (for Consortium members with representation in Parliament) to hold regular meetings, consult and agree on common positions to be taken on items listed on the Order Paper and related matters. It is important that the Consortium is working and is seen to be working as a united front in Parliament and as political parties generally.

c) In the event of part of or the whole Consortium evolving into an alliance or a coalition, the willing members of the Consortium will enter into a separate agreement that will spell out the nature of their union and the terms of their engagement.

15. In the event that any registered political party makes an application to join the Consortium and become a member, and provided that they share the ideals, values, aims and object of the Consortium, they may be so admitted by consensus of the existing members.

Signed this thirteenth day of September in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-one.

COPPP MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

6 Comments

  1. PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC LEAGUE

    PDL
    Freetown. Sierra Leone. West Africa

    Email: salpedel1986@gmail.com; sierraleonepdl@gmail.com, freedomsal@yahoo.fr

    16 September, 2021

    THE WAY FORWARD FOR THE PDL

    Statement read to: “Members of the PDL”
    By: Chief Alimamy Bakarr Sankoh
    Founder member, Leader and National Chairman
    Freetown, Sierra Leone. West Africa

    In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Beneficent! All praises due to Allah!

    Good morning Brothers and Sisters,

    I thank all of you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today and for the unbreakable confidence you repose in me. I have invited you today to discuss with you the steps the leadership of the PDL has taken to uphold the patriotic zeal, defend our human rights and democratic freedoms; to further strengthen our aims and objectives; and to promote the traditional bond of friendship and allegiance to the good people of our beloved country, Sierra Leone.

    As founder member, Leader and National Chairman, I am committed to deploy my wealth of knowledge and experience in both the national body politics and democratic leadership in repositioning our charismatic PDL for greatness. The task before us is too big to discuss here. The time is now to claim our constitutional human rights and democratic freedoms, which are clearly defined in the 1991 multiparty Constitution, to do everything legitimate and democratic to see that no one tramples upon the right of the PDL to transform into a full-fledged political Party for Sierra Leone. Our focus also is directed on consolidation of peace and our nascent democracy, which no doubt the PDL contributed so much to eschew. The time is now for members to fight for consolidation of the PDL in the national body politics.

    I am happy to note that the entire membership of the PDL within Sierra Leone and outside Sierra Leone posed full confidence in my able leadership in our great Party. While I challenge the PDL’s regional and district organs to pursue their activities peacefully and according to the 1991 multiparty Constitution and other laws of the Republic of Sierra Leone, I want to urge our women members in particular, to take a leading role in getting more support for the PDL ahead of the next elections, in 2023.

    As we meet today, I want to appeal to all members of the PDL, wherever you reside and earn your living, to start visiting neighbours to discuss community issues with stakeholders to market the progressive ideology of the Party to the grassroots. While I urge members to embark on a mass political education campaign across Sierra Leone, I want also to disclose in this gathering, the steps we have taken to add impetus to the organizational structure of the PDL and efforts to strengthen it (PDL) from grass-root levels. Accordingly, we have decided to move forward immediately with the following steps:

    1. To introduce in the PDL a system of Cadre system to prevent hostile takeover from within the Party. Under the system, only Cadre members have the voting rights to elect the National Executive Committee of the PDL. Membership into the Cadre organ will have to go through a stringent review process and are selected by the National Executive Committee members.

    2. To transform into reality the idea of setting up the Youth Wing for the PDL. Young people formed an important segment of the voters, and each year more and more Sierra Leoneans attained the age of 18 years and above, and thus forming part of the electorate. This idea was mooted out of the belief that if the PDL is going to represent the Sierra Leonean people, not just a part of it but all of it, then we must strive to inculcate a significant number of young people into the PDL membership.
    3. To create a women’s wing which shall be called PDL Women’s League. We do see that Sierra Leonean women are concerned about politics, but the forums which they may be given to express their concerns are sometimes quite limited. So it’s with that background that the PDL has decided to bring about a more formal platform to increase participation of women in Sierra Leone’s national body politics. It aims to cultivate women leaders in the PDL to take up roles, thus ensuring a fair representation of women in the local political arena. Members shall involve in the PDL’s policy, community services, fundraising, and training and development units. They will engage also in organising PDL’s activities including discussion forums and seminars on topics such as women’s health issues, child welfare, human rights, gender balanced, leadership development and community mobilisation. The PDL Women’s League will partner with advocacy groups and solidarity movements to form policy proposals for the development and well-being of Sierra Leoneans.

    4. To reconstitute the District Organs and empower them to pilot the affairs of the PDL at ward, Local Government Council and Constituency levels. This is necessary to inject fresh leaders, who would be mandated to rebuild the PDL for efficiency and victory-preparedness ahead of the 2023 elections. All Regional Chairpersons are therefore asked to set up the new district executives and encourage members to be peaceful and loyal to the PDL and the 1991 multiparty Constitution of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and to conduct their activities without favour or prejudice on any member of the Party in the district. The PDL’s National Secretary for Administration and National Vice-Chairpersons shall oversee the process. And,

    5. Mandated the National Secretary for Administration and the National Secretary for Pan-Africanism and International Solidarity to start a process of setting up Foreign Chapters of the PDL, anchoring the leadership to individuals who are known as rallying points in these foreign nations of the World.

    Brothers and Sisters,

    Today is another event to say thank you to the great members, supporters and sympathizers of the PDL. The recent history of Sierra Leone is incomplete without a generous mention of your priceless contributions to the restoration of peace and democratic rule. Your prayers, good wishes and advisories are highly cherished while the unchanging sentiments of your support and fidelity have been tonic to our collective strive for good governance and well-being of the Sierra Leonean people.

    On the issue of our website http://www.salpedel.net, I want to assure you again, and again that it is still under construction and immediately it’s ready, it will be disclosed to you. When website is completed, it will contain a compendium of information and struggles for the good of our country and our people. It will be accessible in nine major international languages. There will also be a local weekly information bulletin in the major national languages, such as Mende, Temne, Limba and Creole, for Sierra Leoneans to contribute to our activities, to mobilize the grassroots and to promote public awareness on issues such as peace, non-violence, democracy and democratic good governance, human rights, the rule of law and justice, as well as mobilizing Sierra Leoneans for community development and prosperity.

    We have also mandated the National Secretary for Political Education and Mass Mobilisation, National Secretary for Information and Media Relations and the Web and Computer Net Working Assistant to start a data base process for PDL members. This had already begun and it is in high gear. The date collection process focuses on the following: All our Ward Executives and Members from each Polling Units of the country, for proper documentation of our members. This exercise will be followed by PDL Mass Mobilization activities. The concept behind the above exercise is to know our numerical strength, and to serve as a platform where we can easily connect ourselves in information sharing on the politics, economic, social, cultural and environmental, other forms of connections, assistance and collective struggle for a prosperous Sierra Leone. We have to keep the spirit of the PDL, as a Party of the masses.

    Our commitment to peace, democracy, human rights, rule of law, justice, freedom and dignity has clearly shown our support for democratic good governance, progress and prosperity of our country. These are the gifts every human being enjoys and no one has the right to trample upon them and suppressing others. We will not negotiate, nor compromise or pawn these gifts, which are giving to us by Almighty Allah. We will never succumb to evil designs and tastes of any political godfathers, who hide their dirty hands and faces behind curtains to destroy our dear country, Sierra Leone.

    I owe you respect and gratitude Brothers and Sisters, for your display of maturity, integrity and patriotism, even when our constitutional human rights and democratic freedoms were violated and by extension wickedly disenfranchised our participation in the 2018 elections. We are not foreigners, and none of us here will be foreigner in Sierra Leone, I assure you. We all belong to Sierra Leone equally. The delay to issue our final political party registration certificate is due partly to the political meddling-mentality in the process. The world is watching us from afar and the cards now lie on the table for the PPRC to redeem itself instead of attacking the constitutional human rights and democratic freedoms of the PDL, our members and supporters countrywide.

    It is no secret that the new Commissioner of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) has been misinformed to toe the line of those who want to wreck havocs on our nascent democracy. What has been peddle before the Commissioner was being laced with lies and idle conspiracy theories, designed and tailored to muzzle the PDL. We will stand up against any attempt to slander PDL’s political righteousness and bow to no pressure. We will keep the peace and conduct our activities according to the 1991 multiparty Constitution of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

    When the PDL was born 35 years ago in 1986, our original objectives were:

    1. To lead the campaign for elimination of the sit-tight one party dictatorship and all forms of authoritarianism;

    2. To embark on a vigorous campaign for a new Sierra Leonean Constitution that upholds democratic principles and institutionalised democratic practices;

    3. To campaign for the restoration of multiparty democratic rule;

    4. To foster a vibrant and dynamic society based on pluralism and diversity, replace elitism with free competition and equal opportunity for all Sierra Leoneans, especially in the areas of education, healthcare delivery, housing for all, water and electricity supply, removing all policies that discriminate against women and do away with rude tribalism and regional politicking; and

    5. To restore a proper system of checks and balances in the polity, ensure the independence of the judiciary, encourage Sierra Leoneans to participate in the country’s national political process; to respect human, civil, and political rights of Sierra Leoneans; and to achieve a free flow of information in society.

    Today, the objectives of the PDL are:

    1. To register as a full-fledged political Party for Sierra Leone;

    2. To function as a grassroots based political Party, formed not only for one election and cease to exist afterwards;

    3. To function as an active political party that upholds the right of Sierra Leoneans to vote and to choose who should govern them, and their fundamental rights to decide how national policies are made;

    4. To create Party organs across Sierra Leone and for Sierra Leoneans living overseas;

    5. To act in synergy to advance Party ideals through peaceful political means;

    6. To Subscribe to the ideals of democracy and democratic good governance;

    7. To present to the people of Sierra Leone a manifesto encapsulating the philosophy, programmes of service, project proposals and modus operandi of the Party in order to lobby and earn the Sierra Leonean people’s electoral, moral and social support; this is subject to the 1991 multiparty Constitution of the Republic of Sierra Leone (as amended);

    8. To participate fully in national elections at all levels;

    9. To win power through peaceful, constitutional and democratic process;

    10. To influence the process of governance in Sierra Leone; to ultimately control, through democratic process, political power in Sierra Leone to promote the civil, political, economic, social and cultural advancement and well-being of Sierra Leoneans;

    11. To build a society where everybody is needed and where there is equal opportunity for all, where everybody has the same rights and the same values, where each child can grow up to become a free and independent adult, and where each person is free to develop as an individual and free to search for the solutions and create conditions which best serve the public good; and

    12. To restore Sierra Leone’s stolen dignity; to create a New Sierra Leone that takes care of all her sons and daughters, young and old, where the people are free and bold with a strong sense of achievement tempered by an equally fierce regard for compassion and justice; where tolerance and acceptance should be shown for the citizens regardless of tribe, religion, colour, sexual orientation or political persuasion.

    To support our vision for a New Sierra Leone, which inevitably will emerge out of the wreckage of the dysfunctional system, the PDL has proposed seven alternative policies for Sierra Leone. These include establishing a free and democratic political system; building a free-market economy driven by the people, not the government; developing a more equitable distribution of income and wealth; ensuring equal trade with partners, for valuable and economic liberty and financial freedom; freeing the media; reforming the social sectors for all-round development; and fostering a caring and pluralistic society.

    Brothers and Sisters,

    Five years ago, in May 2016 when the PDL was re-launched to start the process of becoming a full-fledged political Party for Sierra Leone, I made a statement in that event that the PDL is taller than any other democratic political organ in Sierra Leone. Some of you sitting here today became totally confused and not understanding what I was trying to project about the PDL features which hardly to see in other Parties in the country. Today, I have deemed it necessary to throw more lights on that to remove the doubts you have nurtured in the mind. To give an insight into that statement let me make it very clear that:

    1. The PDL is the most consistent, patriotic, focus and moral alternative and third opposition force in Sierra Leone;

    2. The PDL has been in the forefront of political struggle in the cause of democracy, pluralism, human rights and rule of law. It had also waged and won the fight against one party rule and other remnants of the old order. It has always stood for peace, justice and modern values;

    3. The PDL’s image with the public is one of integrity and responsibility, and is associated with: (a) the promotion of an open and fair electoral system; and (b) a forward-looking and progressive-oriented political agenda.

    4. Sierra Leoneans and other stakeholders clearly identify certain topics with the PDL, such as democratic good governance, economic stability, business environment improvement, social justice (health care, education, housing, electricity, water supply, women participation in national politics, pension system), agriculture, information technology and national identity (language, culture);

    5. The PDL has a well-developed network of patriotic members in different fields, which we can tap into regarding specific policy initiatives;

    6. The PDL’s membership administration operates in tandem with democratic principles, justice and peaceful co-existence with non-PDL members; and

    7. The PDL’s internal democratic culture has matured for others to follow; as a result of alliance with the poor masses, the PDL presents its own ideological platform, which is effectively adjusted to heal national wounds and based on public demand.

    You will agree with me that the cry of Sierra Leoneans is bordered on change, not change for the sake of change as it has been the norm. The change Sierra Leoneans are yearning for does not come with new wine in old bottles, or with old wine in new bottles. The change we all yearn for is a complete change of the dysfunctional system, to make the country’s national sovereign independence beneficial to all, and not as we experience today, with social vices and degeneracy abound in every corner of Sierra Leone.

    The PDL has been holding grassroots consultation talks on a wide range of political and non-political subjects for PDL members. This has been ongoing since 2018 and continuing. The format of these consultation talks focuses on mass political education and membership drive. This means that we have to adopt a marketing approach and create different products for different market segments. To attract different groups, we must have different activities to win them over. The popular taste has changed.

    Comparing our tastes today to those of yesteryear; in the past, turn tables and TV sets were a draw. Today, they are not worth a second look. Those of us who run local restaurants have to adjust all the time, from gbordor to akara, to meat pie, to fast food, because the population’s needs are changing as people become more sophisticated and better educated.

    If you look at the way younger Sierra Leoneans are spending their money, you will realise that the demand pattern has changed radically from their parents’ generation. If we want to attract these young Sierra Leoneans, we have to adjust to meet the exigency of the time and not hope that the market will adjust to us. When time changes, man must also change, that is Revolution.

    There is also a category of Sierra Leoneans who want to become members of the PDL, and its activities, but who are not prepared for the time being to become card-carrying members. This is due partly because of the delay in the issuing of the PDL’s final party registration certificate, by the PPRC. One may wonder now why the PPRC has single out the PDL for destruction. Well, to all intents and purposes, the PPRC is doing this proxy game to muzzle the independent democratic opposition, and to yield to political pressure.

    As peaceful, democratic, freedom-loving and law-abiding citizens of Sierra Leone, we, members and supporters of the PDL would never support or direct anyone to be engaged in acts inimical to the progress and wellbeing of the very people we seek to represent.

    Why the silence on the part of the United Nations, African Union, the League of Arab States, Non-Align Movement, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, European Union, ECOWAS, and other international stakeholders over the fact that people in this part of our world called Sierra Leone are working ceaseless hours to harm our hard-won democracy? The PDL is not bordered by the antics used by the enemies of Sierra Leone to meddle in our political party registration process at the PPRC.

    We will continue to prick the conscience of stakeholders in the country, such as the House of Parliament, Human Rights Commission, Legal Aid, Commission for Peace and Democracy, Organisation of National Security, Sierra Leone Police, Civil Society Groups, Inter-Religious Council, the 50-50 Women’s Group, Sierra Leone Bar Association, foreign embassies, the media and more, to intervene in the PDL’s political party registration for the sake of democracy, justice and respect of the constitutional human rights and democratic freedoms of the Sierra Leonean people.

    Why re-launched the PDL in 2016 and resolved to become a full-fledged political party for Sierra Leone? What of the future of the PDL itself? Would the PDL, which from its origins as a political organ quickly evolved into a fiery grassroots movement capable of stirring the masses, be able to sustain such national support and fervour? Or would it, over time, simply run out of steam and fizzle out, as a result of national disinterest?

    Such was the nature of these serious questions among the Sierra Leonean leaders, young and old alike. To grasp with these questions, which are so crucial to the stability of our country’s body politics, let alone the progress of the country’s nascent democracy, we have decided to add impetus to the political structure and development of the membership of the People’s Democratic League.

    Concluding, let me thank you all again for your support and want to assure you that as founder member, Leader and National Chairman, I will not disappoint you in pursuing further the laudable vision of the PDL.

    God Bless PDL!

    Read by:

    Chief Alimamy Bakarr Sankoh
    Founder, Leader and National Chairman
    People’s Democratic League (PDL)

  2. Come on let’s stop wasting time and destruction of the future of the Sierra Leonean people. Let’s have only THREE POLITICAL PARTIES in Sierra Leone: APC, SLPP a THIRD PARTY. Don’t worry about the name . Just call it “the THIRD PARTY”. Such a move will definitely sanitise our national politics forever and ever. Amen

  3. As long as that consortium has the APC among its members, it cannot be progressive. A third political force devoid of the APC/SLPP duopoly is what is required.

  4. Well cordinated and a job well done especially to Dr. Dennis Bright. Bravo to all and to me, you are true patriots and our heroes.

  5. It would have been more informative to list the parties that constitute the consortium. The cnsortium is a nice idea but in the end, these parties would have to participate in the elections independently since the constitution does not allow consortiums of coalitions to contest elections.

    I laughed when I read agreement # 10: “The parties resolve that no official of a party that is member of the consortium shall for whatever reason leak out information to non-consortium bodies or individuals or act in a deceitful manner that will negatively affect the consortium.”

    I will bet my last dollar that the ruling party will be briefed on every deliberation taking place in the consortium by deceiful and rogue consortium members. That is the Sierra Leone that we all love.

    • I would like to add that the idea of a political consortium is dubious and laughable. The consortium partners have come up with an MOU, which is not legally binding. That means the partners can do as they deem fit, or pursue other self interest, with no consequences. In the process there is the expectation that all discussions, plans, strategies, etc. of the consortium will be communicated or leaked to interested parties outside the consortium.

      Lastly, the partners will surely spy on each other as the aim of each party (partner) is to win the next election (s). In short, this batshit idea is a sign of weakness and desperation.

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