NCD Concerned Over SLPP’s Lack of Internal Democracy
NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR DEMOCRACY (NCD): PRESS RELEASE ON PROMOTING POLITICAL TOLERANCE AND INTERNAL DEMOCRACY AMONG POLITICAL PARTIES IN SIERRA LEONE
Over five decades ago Sierra Leone gained its independence and had since been struggling to consolidate its democratic gains. The country has over the years created the necessary structures and institutions that will promote a democratic good governance environment. In this consolidation process, the role of political parties remains very crucial as they represent the means through which the governance process is promoted and enhanced.
The incident that occurred at the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) headquarters on August 24, 2015 however, undermines what should be the proper role of political parties in democratic consolidation. This incident also took place against the backdrop of not only the forthcoming 2018 General Elections but also characterized by intolerance on the part of a section of SLPP Party supporters against another segment within the same Party. This incident could be seen without any doubt as representing an early warning sign that must be nipped in the bud if the country is to enjoy the next elections peacefully.
Democratic consolidation must be anchored on respect for good governance principles such as, respect for the rule of law, mutual tolerance, participation, transparency and accountability. Political parties must ensure the strict promotion of internal democracy aimed at giving political space to members within their respective parties.
The fact remains that political parties must be above tribal considerations since they are expected, in our context, to be a collection of individuals from all the 17 tribes of Sierra Leone that must be treated equally, having access to participate in the decision making process of their respective political parties without any discrimination as to region, tribe, sex etc.
In fact, Parties can only become powerful when they are able to manage their respective differences with the aim of enhancing unity and cohesion.
The contribution of such a scenario to peace and stability of the state of Sierra Leone cannot be overemphasized in this regard, even to its socio-economic and political development.
As a Moral Guarantor to the Peace of Sierra Leone, the National Commission for Democracy (NCD) therefore, observes with grave concern the recent development at the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) headquarters. The Commission is calling on members of SLPP to ensure access to all in the name of democracy and the respect for the rule of law. It should be noted that such a trend and tendency is a manifestation of political intolerance which does not augur well for peace and stability in the state of Sierra Leone. It constitutes an anathema to democratic consolidation and to say the least could become a building block for chaos and anarchy not only within parties but the body politic as a whole.
Good democratic practice clearly dictates that political party leadership cannot be achieved through demagogy and anarcho-syndicalist methods. It could only be achieved through open debate, reconciliation and political consensus. Politics is not the threat or the use of force against others within and without the political party environment. It is the process of persuading members of political parties to accept programmes from the various shades of opinion represented.
The National Commission for Democracy (NCD) is therefore urging all political parties to strictly adhere to democratic good governance principles and other best practices of civilized nations. This is the only option that will promote the socio-economic and political development of the state of Sierra Leone.
Long Live Democracy
Long Live Political Tolerance
Long Live Sierra Leone
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.