Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana yesterday called on executive members of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), and officials from the National Telecommunications Commission and the Independent Media Commission at State House to resolve the protracted SLPP radio saga following its closure by the ministry of Information and Communication.
Speaking yesterday, the Vice President said the recent impasse between the SLPP and APC was disheartening, and that the government was able to identify the main issues that led to the problem and that as a government they were “ready to come up with good conclusions …”
He disclosed that they recently held a meeting with the President, and SLPP executive members over the issue and expressed hope that the matter would be resolved amicably.
His government, Sam Sumana said, was a strong believer in democracy and press freedom but however cautioned that there was the existence of the rule of law that must be adhered to.
Present at the meeting were Alhaji UNS Jah, John Benjamin, and Dr Sama Banya from the SLPP. They complained that the banning of the radio station by the information minister was unfair and improper in a democracy.
According to Madame Bernadette Cole of the IMC, the SLPP did register its radio station with wattage of 250 but that following its vandalisation; they resubmitted another application but this time for wattage of one thousand.
However, IMC told SLPP that the commission was still being restructured and as such the technical committee to look into their application was yet to be setup.
Dr Sesay of SLBS agreed that he failed to communicate to the ministry about the application from SLPP for them to be reconnected at Leicester Peak since the National Telecommunication Commission was said to have stated that the issue of 1000 watts to be used by SLPP in the city was outside the commission’s mandate.
Meanwhile, the Vice President has advised that Unity radio work with the IMC to get all the procedures in place.
The matter was said to have occurred as a result of technical and procedural mistakes on the part of SLPP and not a political issue as being alleged by people.
The SLPP will be meeting with the Independent Media Commission on Tuesday to settle the impasse.
By John Baimba Sesay