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Sierra Leone News: Watch out Freetown, the political parties are coming

There will be dancing, singing, whistle-blowing and rallying in the streets of Freetown throughout February and early March. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has released the political party campaign schedule and each of the 17 parties will be allowed four days of rallying in Freetown.
Campaign rallies have become popular with political parties and represent a significant aspect of election campaigns. But, rallies are not the only element of a campaign. Each of the political parties will also be making promises, highlighting manifesto ideas and trying to recruit supporters.
Julius Spencer, Spokesperson for the National Grand Coalition NGC Party disclosed that his Party is very well prepared to implement their campaign strategy. But, he wouldn’t specifically discuss their strategy.
The campaigns are not just about rallies, dancing and merry-making. They are also about conveying ideas and discussing issues with voters.
The campaign schedule is in consonance with the National Elections Act of 2012. In accordance with Section 148, Subsection 1 of the Elections Act 2012, the NEC, after the consultations with political parties and candidates contesting for the election, declare the period Sunday 4 February to 5 March 2018, as campaign period for candidates contesting the presidential, ordinary Member of Parliament and local council elections in Sierra Leone.
On most campaign days, there are two political parties scheduled. For example, on 10 February 2018, the SLPP will campaign with the NURP. However, on 13 February 2018, three parties are scheduled; PMCD, RUFP and the UP parties will be campaigning. NEC has allowed time for all parties; from the two traditional parties, SLPP and APC to the smaller parties like ReNIP and NURP.
Fatmata Jah, a Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) supporter expressed excitement over the campaign period. She is looking forward to the days when SLPP rallies in the streets. She wants to come out and shows her loyalty to her Party.
For some Freetonians, a political campaign is somewhat frightening. Rallies have been associated with violence, drunkenness, theft and unruly behaviour.
Mary Margai said she will stock up on food and be prepared to stay indoors when some of the rallying is going on. She is not looking forward to the crowds, traffic, thefts and trouble on the streets. She wants to stay quietly in her home.
By Sylvia Villa
Monday February 05, 2018.

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