On the re-opening of SLPP Office … “We would never encourage violence” John Benjamin...

Sierra Leone News: Eminent emissaries to aid PPRC

Five prominent Sierra Leoneans of “good moral stature” were introduced by the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), as members of an Eminent Persons Group (EPG) to aid the Commission in the mediation and settlement of political parties disputes, if or when they arise.
The members are: Ibrahim Kamara the deputy Imam Freetown Central Mosque; Kelvin Lewis, President of Sierra Leone Association of Journalists; Rev. Canon Emerson-Thomas, Dean of the Cathedral of the dioceses of Freetown, Olainka Laga, Commissioner National Children’s Commission; and Haja Marie Bob Kandeh, President Market Women’s Association.
The PPRC Acting Registrar, Zainab Moseray, explained that the criteria for selection was they must be mature citizens of high moral standing not necessary as individuals but as a collective group. “They must have experience or committed to preventive diplomacy, dialogue and consensus building as approaches to conflict prevention.” She stressed that the members are rendering national service and they are not paid to work in the EPG.
Kelvin Lewis said, “It is an honour to be chosen and I’m proud that the Association of Journalists was considered. It’s also a testament to the integrity I’ve earned over the years and it’s nice to be recognized. Lewis added the knowledge and experience he’s gained at SLAJ has equipped him with mediation skills that will hopefully be helpful to the Commission.
Olainka Laga said it is a privilege to serve the country. “I look forward to contributing my own bit towards the sustenance of peace in this country.”
PPRC Chairperson, Patrick O. Hamilton, explained, “The reason why we have decided to have the EPG, is because of the fact that the capacity of the Commission is not large enough to meet the growing political parties that are being registered within our political system.”
“We’ve decided to have this group because of the fact that we are now into election campaigns and at the end of the day after elections there might be disputes brought to the Commission for mediation and settlement. It is our mandate to mediate disputes within parties and disputes among parties.”
“Considering the fact that there is now an increase of parties in our political system we have come to realize that the Commission on its own cannot handle most of the disputes on its own. Therefore, we decided to have this Eminent Persons Group to assist the Commission in the mediation process.”
Originally, he explained, we were going to have seven members but “we discovered it was a little bit too large for what we call mediation.”
The EPG is an idea which exists in other parts of Africa. Zainab Moseray explained that the rational for the setting up of the EPG is because “we’ve witnessed an increase in political parties since the last elections. In the 2012 elections we have 10 political parties, as we speak we have 17 political parties and two are awaiting registration. Another application was received yesterday and we are awaiting more to join the league.”
She also added that “there is an increase in both intra and inter political party disputes.”
The Registrar pointed out, “regional divides… tribal campaigns” pose a serious problem that “we need to focus on as Sierra Leoneans if we must forge ahead.”
The PPRC Registrar also stressed the high level of intimidation and threats especially as we move towards the 2018 elections. “This is a serious concern and we need to address it as Sierra Leoneans irrespective of our political colours political beliefs or ideologies … ”
Another issue she highlighted was the dissemination of hate speech, songs and slogans. “Political parties in July 2017, signed a declaration against hate speech but we’ve notice that some are breaking away and we are hoping that the EPG members would help us in ensuring that political parties owned up to what they have signed to.”
The Commission has realized, “youths are mainly involved in misusing drugs and it is a very serious concern especially as rallies are ongoing political parties have a responsibility to keep their youths in order. It is their responsibility to ensure that they conform to the rules of the land.” OG/6/2/18
By Ophaniel Gooding
Wednesday February 07, 2018.

Comments are closed.