By Amin Kef (Ranger)
In a letter dated 23rd February, 2023 signed by the Chairman of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) Abdulai M. Bangurah, to the Inspector General of Police captioned: Re: ALLEGED PHYSICAL ATTACKS ON MEMBERS/SUPPORTERS OF THE ALL PEOPLES CONGRESS PARTY INCLUDING ITS NATIONAL SECRETARY GENERAL BY SECURITY PERSONNEL it was stated that he is writing in relation to claims of physical attacks on members of the All Peoples Congress Party, allegedly by security personnel, that are abound on social media and to register the Commission’s concern, respecting those claims.
The PPRC Chairman furthered that whilst they continue to forage social media platforms for footages of the alleged attacks, they urge the Police to speedily investigate those claims and appropriate actions taken against the perpetrators if substantiated.
In another letter dated the 23rd February, 2023 written by the PPRC Chairman to the National Secretary General Elect of the All Peoples Congress Party,Lansana Dumbuya Esq captioned: Re: CONSISTENT BREACH OF SECTION OF THE POLITICAL PARTIES ACT NO.25 OF 2022.
In this letter he referred to the Commission’s letter of the 14th instant, addressed to the Secretary of the then Interim Transition Governance Committee of the APC.
He stated that by the said letter, the Commission issued a written warning to Party to desist from peddling public insults and provocation against its opponents, in the conduct of its activities.
Unfortunately, he continued, the warning was not heeded, as Supporters of the Party on the 20th February, 2023 and in the presence of its National Leader elect and Flagbearer designate Dr. Samura Kamara, again hauled public insults and provocative songs against His Excellency the President and his wife, the First Lady of the Republic.
The PPRC Chairman said as stated in the letter afore referred, His Excellency the President, as Flagbearer designate of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, in the upcoming Presidential elections, is a political opponent of the APC Party, within the meaning of Section 39(1)(c&d) of the Act aforesaid.
He said the APC Party’s conduct in the foregoing behalf, is therefore in deliberate contravention of the said Section 39(1)(c&d) of the Political Parties Act 2022 adding that persistent infringement of that provision of the Act by his Party, is extremely concerning to the Commission, as it is not only a recipe for confrontation and a breach of the public peace, but it also corrupts public morals.
According to the PPRC chairman, In the light of the foregoing and in pursuance of Section 39(2)(b) of the Political Parties Act 2022 and WITHOUT PREJUDICE to Section 39(3&4) of same, that provides for further actions under the general law by the affected persons and the right of the Party to Appeal respectively, the Party, The All Peoples Congress Party, is hereby fined the sum of NLE120,OOO/OO (One Hundred and Twenty Thousand new Leones) payable into the Consolidated Fund, within two weeks from date herein and furnish the Commission with evidence of such payment.
In a letter dated 14th February, 2023 and directed to the Secretary of the
Interim Transition Governance Committee (lTGC) of the All Peoples Congress Party, Hon Abdul Kargbo, the PPRC Chairman stated that the attention of the Commission is drawn to a video that has gone viral on social media, the contents of which are a very profane and obscene song, with vulgarity and unprintable invectives, directed at His Excellency the President and his wife, the First Lady of the Republic, that was sung and danced to, during Dr. Samura Kamara’s declaration, for the flagbearership of the APC Party in Makeni, on Sunday 12th February 2023.
The Chairman said as he may be aware, aside from being the President of the Republic, His Excellency is also the Presidential Candidate designate, for the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, in the upcoming June 24th 2023 presidential elections and thus falls within the meaning of the word “opponent”, in Section 39(1)(c&d), of the Political Parties Act,No.25 of 2022.
He continued that in view of the above, his Party is in obvious contravention of Sections 39(1)(c&d) and 40(1) of the aforementioned Act as the song does not only contravene the said provisions of the Act, but it also corrupts public morals.
He said consequently and in pursuance of Sections 39(2)(a) and 40(2)(b) and WITHOUT PREJUDICE to Section 39(3) of The Political Parties Act 2022, his Party, The All Peoples Congress Party, its Members, Supporters and Candidates are hereby WARNED, to desist from such unwholesome conduct.
The PPRC Chairman also stated that he should be reminded of the other sanctions prescribed in the Act, against such proscribed conduct and which they shall not hesitate to invoke, in the event it persists, notwithstanding the warning.
“We certainly should not by our actions or inactions, bequeath such vices to our children,” he said adding that the Commission therefore wishes to encourage Candidates and aspiring Candidates of all Political Parties, to show leadership and respect for the offices they are aspiring to, by admonishing their Supporters, to desist from such indecent and unlawful conduct.
Writing another letter dated 23rd February, 2023 to the National Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party captioned:
Re: CONTRAVENTION OF SECTION OF THE POLITICAL PARTIES ACT NO.25 OF 2022the PPRC Chairman said the attention of the Commission is drawn to the conduct of Supporters/Operatives of his Party, at an outlet called “Unity Ataya base”, Calabatown Freetown, on Wednesday 22nd February 2023.
He stated that he may recall that, the All Peoples Congress Party, had their National Delegates Conference in Makeni, from the 18th to the 20th February 2023, in which they inter alia, elected their National Leader and Flagbearer designate, for the 24th June 2023 presidential elections.
He said subsequent thereto, they applied for and obtained clearance from the Sierra Leone Police, to accompany their said Flagbearer designate to Freetown in a convoy.
According to the PPRC Chairman, cognizant of that, a number of his Party’s Supporters/Operatives, assembled at the said outlet, singing and dancing to songs complimentary to their own Party and thereby provoked skirmishes between them and the APC convoy, which culminated to a breach of the public peace.
He pointed out that their conduct amounts to a disruption of the activity of a Political opponent and thus contravenes Section 39(1)(e) of the Political Parties Act No 25 of 2023.
The PPRC Chairman stated that the institution is warning the Sierra Leone Peoples Party to refrain from such disorderly conduct forthwith and be reminded of the further sanctions prescribed in the Act, in the event of a repeat of such proscribed behaviour.