POLITICAL PARTIES REGISTRATION COMMISSION
OAU Drive, Tower Hill, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Press Release Monday 5th November, 2012
The Political Parties Registration Commission has continued to carry out its Constitutional and Statutory mandates to monitor the conduct of political parties. This mandate by extension covers conduct of political parties in campaigns and rallies which commenced effective Wednesday 17th October, 2012. The conduct of political parties especially the All Peoples Congress (APC) Party and the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) raised serious concerns to the Commission. In a bid to address this anomaly, the PPRC convened an emergency meeting of all political parties with a view to discuss the concerns and find a way out.
The peaceful nature of first week of the campaigns and rallies country wide
To enhance effective monitoring of rallies and campaigns, the PPRC recruited, trained and deployed monitors in eight strategic locations outside its Regional Headquarter Offices where its personnel are limited. The deployment areas include Kambia, Port Loko, Koinadugu, Kailahun, Moyamba, Pujehun and Bonthe. The campaigns as monitored by the PPRC in the week of 17th October countrywide were peaceful and without major politically related violent incidents that undermined the campaign process.
Disobey of campaign rules, regulations and Code of Conduct and Declaration on the 2012 Elections
i. The PPRC is disturbed and gravely concerned over the high incidences of campaign infractions by mainly members and supporters of the All Peoples Congress (APC) Party and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) countrywide. These include disregard for the end of campaigns times, intimidation, defacing and tearing of posters/portraits/banners of the flag bearers of the SLPP and APC, infringement on the campaign time and days of other political parties and the use of obscene languages in rallies, processions and campaigns.
These actions by supporters and or members of political parties can be described as primordial in the least and has the potential to degenerate into violence.
ii. Breach of campaign date and on Friday 26th October, 2012
Friday 26th October 2012 was the scheduled rally date for the Peace and Liberation Party (PLP). However, the Police issued licences to Paddle to process the streets of Freetown. The Police should have confirmed that the date was not assigned to any political party before the issuance of licences to Paddle and other mask Devils to process. The PPRC observed large crowds of people clad in red designed dresses giving the impression that it was a political rally.
iii. Violent confrontation in Kono
The Commission is in receipt of a report from its field staff in Kono on the violent clash at Bottom Mango, Koquiama Kono on Saturday 27th October between supporters and members of the APC on one hand and those of the SLPP on the other during the latter’s rally. The Commission was informed that the matter is now a subject of police investigation. However, the Commission is of the view that no form of violence can be justified and therefore wholeheartedly condemn the political violence in Kono on the 27th October, 2012;
iv. Condemnation of violence by the APC and SLPP
As a follow-up to a meeting held with representatives of political parties and the Sierra Leone Police on Thursday 1st November, 2012 the PPRC on Sunday 4th November 2012, convened a meeting of representatives of the APC and SLPP with a view to discuss anomalies and or campaign infractions as observed by the Commission countrywide. In the main, both the APC and the SLPP representatives were unanimous in their condemnation of all forms of violence during the campaign period. Furthermore, the representatives of the two political parties committed their parties to issue a joint statement in condemnation of all forms of violence. This singular commitment by the APC and SLPP will send a strong message to their respective members and supporters that violence is not tolerable in the electioneering process.
v. Vigilance of the Sierra Leone Police.
The meeting called on the Sierra Leone Police to increase its vigilance during all rallies, processions or campaigns. The Police were urged in particular to:
a. Increase its numbers at all rallies and discourage any disorderly behaviour during all rallies and clamp down on all perpetrators;
b. Disallow any form of organised or spontaneous jogging by groups or associations during the electioneering period;
c. Disallow any pre-campaign celebration, vigil, procession or any form of gathering aimed at any pre-campaign procession;
d. Discourage public use of alcoholic drinks, narcotics or any form of intoxicating substance during rallies or processions;
e. Increase its level of communication with the public and political parties on politically related cases under their jurisdiction;
f. Expeditiously and in a fair manner, investigate all politically related matters in Kono, Freetown and other parts of the country and prosecute all such perpetrators;
g. Clearly demarcate routes for all rallies and to ensure that these are followed strictly;
All Political Parties
The PPRC calls on all Political Parties especially the APC and SLPP to control the conduct of their members and supporters during rallies and processions. Campaign periods are meant to disseminate political ideas and not for obscenities and use of vulgar languages. The Leadership of the APC and SLPP in particular are urged to set good examples as the oldest political parties and to stand tall by showing discipline, maturity and sense of purpose in the democratic dispensation.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.