February 7, 2018 By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) has yesterday commenced the Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) induction meeting at Brookfield’s Hotel Conference Hall in Freetown.
Speaking during the meeting, Chairperson of PPRC, Justice Patrick O. Hamilton, said the EPG will work with the commission and help them settle certain disputes between and among political parties.
The PPRC boss said it is their mandate to mediate especially between and amongst political parties, adding that considering the fact that there was now an increase in the number of political parties, the commission cannot handle most of the dispute on its own, therefore, they decided to have the eminent person group to assist in the mediation process.
“It is this five eminent people that we shall today induct, to handle this process to assist us, so that the work of PPRC will be a bit reduced,” he said.
Justice Hamilton said the reason they decided to have the EPG was that the capacity of the commission is not that large to meet the growing demand of political parties registered in the country.
He said the commission was faced with challenges and that he will make sure that after the elections, he will champion the review of the PPRC Act of 2002, stating that there were serious flaws in the said Act.
“EPG is an idea which exists in other parts of Africa and Sierra Leone is no exception. They are five in number,” Justice Hamilton said.
Acting Registrar of PPRC, Zainab Moseray, whilst speaking on the purpose and objectives of the induction, said the establishment of the EPG was necessitated by an increase in the number of political parties since the last elections in 2012 ,increased in the number of political disputes , regional divide –tribal campaigns ,high level intimidation and threats , dissemination of hate speeches ,songs and slogans, amongst others.
She said the EPG will be using preventive and mediation approaches in the PPRC effort to mediate between and among political parties and political activities in the country.
“The objectives of the EPG is in two folds:to provide preventive action support to the PPRC in regards engaging top political leadership and other key actors to ensuring a peaceful and violence -free elections,” she said ,adding that they will mediate high-level conflicts as requested by and in support to the PPRC .
The PPRC Acting Registrar said the five EPG members were drawn from different walks of life and have contributed to the consolidation of peace in the country, adding that they believed that they will work well with them in the mediation process.
The five EPG members include, Marie Bob-Kandeh-President Sierra Leone Market Women Association, and the very Reverend Canon Emerson Thomas- Dean of Cathedral Diocese of Freetown, Sheik Ibrahim Kolleya Kamara- Imam, Freetown Central Mosque, Kelvin Lewis- President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists,and Olayinka Laggah- Chairperson for the Children’s Commission