Concord Times (Freetown)

Sierra Leone: What PPRC Told Political Parties Before Saturday Polls

The Political Parties Registration Commission on friday 16th November 2012 met with representatives of political parties ahead of the 17th November 2012 elections. The meeting was part of the commission's effort to ensure a free, fair and free from violence elections.

Addressing the meeting, PPRC Chairman Justice M.E. Tolla Thompson congratulated the political parties for a peaceful campaigning period. The exercise, he said, went on well although there were few itches.

"The campaign has ended, but there is a lot more to be done," he added. The Commission, he said, will be embarking on continuous engagement of the political parties and other stakeholders. He admonished political parties to look at the Commission as a partner in the democratic process.

"Political parties and the electorates should be mindful that you will not be casting your votes for your various parties but for Sierra Leone," he concluded.

Briefing the political parties on the recent regional tour by the Commission, the Registrar Abraham John said the Commission observed the following: intolerance between the APC and the SLPP; tearing of posters; non adherence to campaign schedule and timings; lack of voter education; and communication gap between the political parties' executives in Freetown and those in the region.

Mr. John also informed the parties that the Commission also used the tour to settle the impasse between the APC and SLPP in Mile 91, Tonkolili District.

In his statement, the Secretary General of the All People's Congress, Victor B. Foh said his party was satisfied with the conduct of non-state actors in the entire process. He cautioned other political parties to observe the rules of the game and respect the outcome of the elections.

He assured the meeting that if his party loses the elections, they will accept the results and that if they win, they will expect the losers to also accept the results. If anything went wrong, he said, his party will not take the law into their hands but will go to court. He promised that his party will ensure they bridge the gap between the executive in Freetown and the regions.

In his statement, the leader and flag-bearer of the Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP), Eldred Collins, congratulated the PPRC and NEC for a job well done. The campaign, he said, went on well as they embarked on non violence and the non use of obscenity. He assured the Commission that as a party, they will do all in their power to ensure a peaceful election and that they are prepared to accept the results.

The RUFP, he said, was not only here for the 2012 elections but to stay forever and will support the PPRC and all stakeholders for a peaceful election.

In his statement, Mohamed Osman Fornah of the United National People's Party (UNPP) expressed dissatisfaction over the poor voter registration. He said the role of the police should be monitored to ensure that they are neutral. Political parties, he said, should ensure political tolerance, non violence and free and fair democratic elections. He advised monitors to be vigilant and neutral.

In his statement, Alpha Rogers of the People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) said as a party they will want to see free and fair elections based on tolerance.

In his contribution, the Editor of the opposition SLPP 'Unity' newspaper, B.W. Bockarie commended the PPRC for the role it has played so far. He reassured the Commission and the international community that they will maintain a very peaceful and non violence election. He advised political parties to ensure that they practice what they say for the development of democracy in Sierra Leone.

In his statement, PPRC Commissioner C.C.V. Taylor said political parties should do more in communicating their policies to the grassroots people. He advised the APC and SLPP to come out with a joint statement denouncing violence as agreed in a meeting.

Speaking on behalf of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone, Berhanemeskel Nega encouraged political parties to continue to work with democratic institutions and within the confines of the law. The UN, he said, will continue to support the political process in Sierra Leone and commended the PPRC and the people of Sierra Leone for a peaceful and orderly campaign.

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