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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

13 political parties distance APPA

August 10, 2021

By Alhaji Haruna Sani

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                         Cross section of members of COPPP

The Consortium of Progressive Political Parties (COPPP)  has  yesterday  dissociated themselves from the All-Political Party Association (APPA),and  as well lamented what they described as the ‘ills and maladministration’ of President Bio’s Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP)’s  New Direction  administration.

The consortium explained in their release that APPA was formed for the restoration of democratic rule in 1990s during the regime of the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC)-a military junta headed then by young military officers including the current President, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio.

“Unfortunately, APPA has completely lost focus as a responsible forum for political engagement. After many years of manipulation by one individual at the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) who incidentally has recently been rewarded with elevation and promotion to another State Institution, APPA became a complete stooge of the Government, funded and housed within the PPRC. Thirteen political parties therefore left APPA but the remaining four continue to posture as representatives of all political parties. Rather than being representatives of the people, the remnant elements of the diminished APPA have become the predictable voice of Government and a boring echo chamber of congratulations and praises to His Excellency and his Government. This is not serious for democracy and COPPP therefore publicly denounces this tendency by some political and civil society organizations of systematically seeking inducement and the good graces of the Government in power instead of holding them accountable,” they charged.

The consortium claimed that there was a recording of the current Chairman of APPA, boasting about his skills in obtaining money from Governments in power by singing their praises and supporting their policies in public and the media.

The Consortium accused the PPRC of wrongly promoting APPA,  as representative of all parties while most political parties have written to the PPRC  denouncing their membership with APPA  whose membership has dramatically dwindled to only four.

 “But the Registrar of the PPRC has been giving them the podium and projecting them as representing the views of ALL political parties. APPA is just about four parties out of seventeen and they are easy to recognize by their letters of support to Government when appointments are made or when Government makes controversial decisions.”

The Acting Chairman of the consortium, who doubles as the Chairman and Leader of the National Government Coalition (NGC), Dr. Denis Bright, said the membership of the consortium has seen the need to create a platform for the expression of their collective opinion, to defend and safeguard democracy, accountability, human rights and the rule of law in Sierra Leone. 

“In COPPP, we are harnessing the power of our numbers and our combined materials and human resources to hold the Government in check and prevent our country, under this administration, from sliding down into the dark waters of unbridled corruption, maladministration and civil strife,” he stated.

The consortium charged that the SLPP government in the past three years has been systematically closing the democratic space, marginalizing and destroying opposition members, recklessly committing human rights abuses and installing a climate of fear and terror in the people.

They accused the New Direction administration of playing to the gallery of the international community with one or two governance tokens such as the decriminalization of the Libel laws and the abolition of the death penalty.

They further accused government of reducing the Constitution to triviality, the Legislature and the Judiciary to a laughing stock and the Treasury to a piggy bank for reckless spending on projects and schemes that bear very little relation to the desperate condition of the majority of Sierra Leoneans.

COPPP expresses concern over the casual way in which top Government officials through their travel habits have been exposing themselves to risks that may have national security implications. They also stated that it was at the height of the civil crisis in Lebanon that President Bio and First Lady made the now famous visit to that country, the purpose of which is still clouded in mystery due to the conflicting official reasons given at the time State official or medical or honeymoon.

“We have also learnt that the Inspector General of Police is currently in Lebanon at a time when foreign Governments have declared the situation there as “unpredictable” with risks of “civil protests, heightened sectarian tensions, sporadic terror attacks such as a 2019 attack against security forces in Tripoli, and security force counter-terror operations…” What is so important in Lebanon that senior State officials feel compelled to go there when bullets may be flying, risking their lives, the lives of their colleagues and the stability of the State?”, the release questioned.

In conclusion the consortium made the following recommendation among others; that COPPP is an association of political parties like APPA and must now be given due recognition by the PPRC, and that the laws governing political parties be reviewed and revised so that parties are treated in a manner that is comparable to other public institutions.

The also recommend that travels of top State officials abroad be curtailed as they cost too much money at a time when our country is cash strapped and there may be high risks also that in these travels we could easily lose the precious lives of our leaders.

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