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.