A Communiqué signed by eight opposition parties at the PPRC Secretariat, on Friday 3rd August 2012 has informed that the SLPP, PMDC, NDA, UNPP, PDP, CDP, UDM and PLP roundly condemned the recent increment of Nomination Fees announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Monday 30th July 2012 as unconscionable, exorbitant and one that bears no connection with the present deplorable state of our economy and the grinding poverty that is apparent throughout the country.
“Even more amazing is the fact that Sierra Leone where the least paid of West Africans are resident, is attempting to impose the highest Nomination Fee for both Presidential and Parliamentary Candidates for elections in the ECOWAS region” the communiqué states adding that research indicates that “contrary to the categorical statement made by the Chairperson of NEC”, the announced Fees bears no resemblance to international best practice”.
The parties cited the fees paid by certain African, European and American countries to all be less than the ones now imposed for Sierra Leone.
According to the 8 parties, “The Nomination Fee announced by the National Electoral Commission has no legal force under the laws of Sierra Leone” as “the power to prescribe Nomination Fee is vested in Parliament”
The parties therefore unanimously want NEC, Parliamentarians and the Government to cancel the increment and revert to old fees. They also want the International Donor Community and Civil Society Organizations to exact pressure on their behalf.
One of the parties, the UDM however had a disclaimer that they their concern is limited only to the Nomination Fee for Parliamentary and Local Council Candidates as they are comfortable with the one hundred million leones prescribed for presidential candidates.
The UDM presidential candidate had also opined that landed property ownership should be added to the requirement for presidential contestants. It is a fact that the main opposition SLPP candidate Mr. Maada Bio is reported to not be a house owner. Bio bought a lot of houses and properties whilst he was a military junta leader in the nineties but has sold them all off over the years to sustain himself.
Mr. Maada Bio is currently without a house of his own and lives in rented premises in Freetown suburbs thus making him a source of scorn amongst his presidential candidate peers. However, supporters of Bio have stated that he recently made down-deposit for a low-income NASSIT house at the Goderich NASSIT housing complex.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.