November 13, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) has expressed grave concern over the spate of political violence and intolerance, especially between and amongst supporters of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) and the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).
There is a growing concern and fear over the high spate of political violence and hate messages as the March 7, 2018 multitier elections draw closer.
Despite commitment made by heads of various political parties not to engage in violence or preach hate messages during campaigning, they are yet to put it into practice.
On Monday, 6 November, supporters of the two main political parties clashed in the central business district of Freetown amid accusations and acounter-accusations of tearing posters of their presidential candidates. The clash resulted in many injuries with officers of the Sierra Leone Police making some arrest of alleged perpetrators.
In a press release dated 10 November, the PPRC strongly condemned tearing of posters, use of hate messages in all forms, use of alcohol, drugs and abusive languages during political activities.
According to the commission which regulates the activities of political parties, such dastardly actions by political party supporters and members have the tendency of undermining growth of democracy and the country as whole.
It urged political parties to replace posters bearing the word ‘vote for’ as campaign has not been declared by the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
“Such conducts by party members or supporters are superfluous, unacceptable and very much against the tenet of good governance and democracy. Politics should be devoid of violence, thuggery and unpatriotic activities,” the release stated.
The leadership of all registered political parties was advised to ensure that their members and supporters conduct their activities in line with the 1991 Constitution, the PPRC act of 2002, the 1965 Public Order Act, Political Parties Code of Conduct and Public Elections Act of 2010, while the police were also urged to investigate and bring to book those involved in the recent incidents in Freetown.