APPA urges government to dialogue with political parties

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January 16, 2019

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

APPA
APA Chairperson, Dr. Jonathan Tengbeh, flanked by his PRO

The All Political Parties Association (APPA) has in a press statement issued on Monday 14th, January, urged  government to engage in an effective and constructive dialogue with all political parties, especially the main opposition party-All Peoples Congress(APC), as a way forward to addressing  concerns about political intimidation and electoral –related violence among others.

They observed that the current political climate in Sierra Leone was achingly tense and constrained to the emergence of a number of complex challenges after the national elections and transfer of political power in April 2018, adding that they were convinced that if the trend continues, it might have serious implications on democratic consolidation, peace and economic stability in the near future.

“Therefore, APPA is calling on the Government of Sierra Leone  (GoSL) , regional organizations and international development partners to seek apolitical solution through mediation and dialogue , help build national consensus on issues of common concern that have been or continues to be raised by various interest and pressure groups about the increase spate of political intimidation and electoral violence, level of distrust amongst political parties ,and the attempt to disenfranchise some members of parliament through electoral court, and the setting up of the commissions of Inquiry,’’ the release noted.

They called on President Bio to appoint a Chairperson and Commissioners of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC).

“The members of APPA envisage that the appointment of a chair and commissioners of PPRC will assist in building synergies and effective partnership with political parties as well as serve as a mechanism for regulating the conduct of political parties and conflict resolution between political parties, central government and the security sector,” they called.

The association registered their fullest support for the Commission of Inquiry, bearing in mind that they will be conducted in an impartial, objective, independent, fair, and transparent manner for the benefit of all citizens, irrespective of political party affiliations.

They further observed that there was a complete lack of sufficient information on the mandate of the Commissions of Inquiry, thus  calling on government to embark  on public education ,awareness and sensitization campaigns to increase public trust and confidence and alleviate that the fear that exercise would not be  ‘’Witch-Hunt’’.

They joined the inter-religious Council and the Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) in calling on the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Chief Justice and Chairman of the Rules of Court Committee to convene a meeting of the committee for  the purpose of carrying out its mandate under sections 145 and 15- of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.

The association further urged the security sector institutions, especially the Sierra Leone Police, to desist from political intimidation based on ‘orders from the above’, and to respect the leadership of political parties in Sierra Leone.
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“APPA believes that the institution that has the mandate to summon the leadership of political parties in relation to their conduct is PPRC. We believe that this institution will work with the security sector to constructively dialogue and amicably resolve issues that have the tendency to undermine the peaceful co-existence of the citizenry.”

‘’Finally, the members of APPA believe that it is only by coming together that we can make a better Sierra Leone. In our view, 2019 must be about political parties working together to advance the principles of democratic governance as a foundation for economic prosperity in Sierra Leone,’’ the release ended.

Chairperson of APPA, Dr. Jonathan Sandy, in his statement disclosed that the association has been transformed from an ad hoc to a legal and functional entity with their headquarters at Pademba Road, adding that the institution now has a constitution and a registered certificate in the country.