By Amin Kef (Ranger)
In a Press Release issued by the Political Parties Regulation Commission it was disclosed that on Monday the 27th March 2023, the Commission convened a meeting of all registered Political Parties, Electoral Management Bodies, Security Sector Actors, Civil Society Organisations and the Press, with an invitation extended to its development partners in attendance.
Purpose of holding the meeting was said to be twofold: To evaluate the essence of Street Rallies and to discuss the requirements Political Parties are to meet, to enable them effectively execute the third limb of the purpose for their establishment, as encapsulated in Section 35(1) of the 1991 Constitution, which is to sponsor candidates for Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council elections.
According to PPRC, the Public may recall that, over the years, Street Rallies have occasioned immeasurable hardship on the peace loving people of this country as they threatened public safety, public peace, public morality and infringed on fundamental rights of others, inclusive of the primary right, which is the right to life.
The Commission furthered that the unfortunate death in Tonko Limba, the attack on the person and property of a Political opponent in Constituency 110, the debasing obscenities in Koinadugu and Kono and the affray in Samaya Bendugu and Koya, are some of the disturbing disquiet the public is made to endure, in the course of Street Rallies.
Also instructive to note, in the estimation of the Commission, is the fact that, the ethno regional rhetoric, tribal slurs, hate speech and intemperate languages peddled by some politicians and their attack dogs on social media, have rendered politics in the country very toxic adding how tensions are rife and it is thus imperative for all to adopt appropriate measures to defuse them.
Strongly underscored was that electioneering periods are no time for dancing and merriment but rather are times for deep reflections and evaluation of politicians.
Also stated was that cognizant of that fact and freeloading on the gullibility of people, Politicians have over the years, effectively used those Street circuses, to blur the thought process of the electorates, particularly the young ones, by the use of narcotics and other intoxicants.
According to the PPRC, the young ones get to the campaign designations in drunken stupor, completely devoid of any intellect, to comprehend the messages (if any), from their candidates.
The PPRC said, consequent upon the above, the Commission is of the view that people deserve better from their Political Parties maintaining that nobody deserves to die or suffer incalculable loss, because of the political aspirations of another.
It stated the need for a National discourse on street Rallies, with a view to according Political Parties the opportunity, to critically examine their effects on Public safety, public peace and public morality and the observance of the fundamental rights of others.
The PPRC disclosed how the question was therefore put to all in attendance, whether to maintain them and own up to their outcome, in line with the sanctions now prescribed in the Political Parties Act No.25 of 2022,against those conducts complained of or in the alternative, we ban them and rally in designated areas.
After extensive deliberations, the Political Parties in pursuit of public safety, public peace and public morality, in protection of the Rights of others and the preservation of the State, as envisioned in Section 26(2)(a)(i&ii) of the 1991 Constitution, unanimously resolved as follows: That Street Rallies be banned in the forthcoming elections, that Political Parties assemble and conduct their campaigns in designated areas, with appropriate security coverage, that the Electoral Management Bodies and the Security Sector Actors develop guidelines on the enforcement of the ban, with a view to ensuring fairness and parity of interest, that Government evenly makes available appropriate State infrastructure to all Political Parties and at no cost, for the conduct of their campaigns and that Political Parties adopt appropriate actions geared towards the fulfillment of the nomination criteria.