Officials of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) and the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) last Thursday pledged their support and commitment to work with the restructured Political Parties Registration Commission. These pledges were made at the start of the Commission’s month long visit to Political Parties and Development Partners. Both meetings were held at the APC headquarters at Old Railway Line in Freetown and at the SLPP Headquarters at Wallace Johnson Street in Freetown.
In his statement the Deputy National Secretary General of the All Peoples Congress Frank Kargbo assured the Commission of his party’s commitment and support towards the enhancement of the work of the PPRC. Mr. Kargbo said his party is satisfied with the work done by the Commission even though there are gaps in the Political Parties Act of 2002 which do not prescribe punitive actions against defaulters of the act and the Political Parties Code of Conduct. In his conclusion, Mr. Kargbo said the APC is fully committed to the implementation of the joint communiqué signed by the APC and the SLPP in 2009.
Underscoring the role played by the PPRC in settling dispute in the APC before the 2007 elections, the Administrative Chairman of the APC Dr. Birch Conteh said his party is optimistic that the PPRC will play an important role in ensuring a peaceful election in 2012.
In her brief remarks, the Social Secretary of the APC Women’s Congress Kadija Sesay raised the issue of the Commission not being equipped to monitor Political Parties especially in the regions.
Making his statement, the Chairman and Leader of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party John Oponjo Benjamin also expressed his party’s commitment to supporting and working with the PPRC. While expressing his satisfaction on the restructured PPRC, Mr. Benjamin said the Commission should not allow people in authority who may want to derail their credibility.
He said the Commission should discourage party operatives from misinforming the general populace on what constitutes a Political Party. Mr. Benjamin also spoke about the gaps in the Political Parties Act of 2002 and underscored the need for the Commission to be given powers to take punitive measures against defaulters of the Political Parties Act and the Political Parties Code of Conduct.
In his brief remarks, the National Secretary General of the SLPP, Jacob Jusu Saffa said his party wants clarifications on the monitoring arrangement for the joint communiqué signed by the APC and SLPP in 2009 and the establishment of the Independent Police Board.
The visits were climaxed by the handing over of the draft recommendations on the Political Parties Act of 2002 and the 1991 Constitution to the Deputy National Secretary General of the All Peoples Congress Frank Kargbo and Chairman and Leader of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party John Oponjo Benjamin.
The month long activities will also serve as a platform to strengthen the collaboration between PPRC and its Development Partners will continue on Friday with a meeting to Irish Aid one of the commissions Development Partners.