By Alhaji Haruna Sani
The Unity Party (UP) has accused the Political Parties Regulation Commission (PPRC) of unfair treatment.
Leader and Flagbearer of UP, Femi Claudius-Claudius said the party finds itself in the dragnet of the PPRC, claiming that their party has obviously been earmarked for deregistration despite fulfilling all the requirements.
The party, on 19th April held a press conference at it 4 Pandemba Road Head Office in Freetown. Reading from a press release that was issued during the conference, the party leader said the PPRC has fell short of it role to encourage multiparty democracy and to promote and nurture the country’s young and still fragile democracy.
Madam Claudius-Cole said the PPRC claimed to have had no knowledge of their lower-level elections despite numerous letters sent to inform them about those elections spanning from December 2022 to February 2023, complete with the location, dates, and time.
The UP conducted its lower-level elections, which culminated in its National Delegates’ Conference on 2nd March 2023.
“On 28th February 2023, a letter titled; “Invitation to our Lower-Level Ward, Constituencies and Districts Executive Elections” that reads in part; the party would like to inform you again on the continuation of its lower-level elections in the following districts: Kambia, Karene, Koinadugu, Falaba, Bombali, Bo, Bonthe, Moyamba, Kenema, Kono, Western Rural and Western Urban.”
She said on 25th February, the UP addressed a letter to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), informing the Police of its National Delegates’ Conference that was to be held from the 2nd to the 3rd of March 2023.
She added that on 28th February 2023, the Police approved for the UP to go ahead with its National Delegates Conference.
“We were dismayed when troops of OSD police officers swooped in and interrupted our conference, stating that it was on the directive from the PPRC. In a meeting with the PPRC on 4th April 2023 the executive secretary informed us that the UP qualifies for deregistration based on the conclusions of their investigations that the Unity Party did not conduct lower-level elections”.
She claimed that it appears that Unity Party has been singled out, creating the suspicion that the goal is to deliberately exclude UP from participating in the forthcoming general elections as no petitions or complaints have been filed with the commission.
She noted that the disenfranchisement of a political party should only be possible upon gross misconduct and violations, on irrefutable evidence, proof, and or upon a thorough examination of all the pieces of evidence provided i.e., pictures, expenditure spreadsheet, toll receipt, etc.
The up leader went on to state that party has been unable to secure an appointment with the chairman and his commissioners despite numerous requests to prove that UP lower-level, regional, and national elections were conducted democratically.
“The planned disenfranchisement of the Unity Party is unconstitutional. Dates for nominations in some districts have been published by ECSL and the Unity Party has been excluded from the list,” she concluded.