Chairpersons and Representatives from various Political Parties including SLPP, APC, NGC, PDP, C4C and PLP, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) on Monday 8th July 2019 engaged the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Sidie M. Tunis in Committee Room One at Parliament Building, Freetown.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss various issues ranging from Electoral Observation Report and Recommendations from both International and Local observers relative to the 2018 General Elections including the need for the reduction of nomination fees for electoral purposes.
Speaking on behalf of Political Parties, Mr. Bamidele Thompson, representing the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) highlighted the importance of the reduction of nomination fees for Political Parties during elections. He said the fees were very high and it could disenfranchise many political parties from participating in elections. He appealed to the Leader of Government Business on behalf of all political parties in the country to see the need for a review of the nomination fees through a “Statutory Instrument” to be brought by NEC to Parliament for enactment.
On his part, Dr. Denis Bright of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) supported the idea and applauded the Leader of Government Business for his continued consultative meetings with political parties with the aim of finding a common ground to address issues relating to elections.
Commissioner Miatta French from NEC outlined the progress of the Electoral Observation Report relative to the activities that had been implemented. Commissioner French said it was an initiative by Commonwealth Observation Team, ECOWAS, National Elections Watch and other electoral observation teams who suggested the idea of reviewing the electoral laws of Sierra Leone in order to meet international best practices. She said, in line with that, several consultative meetings were held by International and Local Election Observers and Political Parties. According to her, they were able to adopt 103 out of 111 recommendations in the report.
Youth Affairs Officer from PPRC, Ibrahim Amara Kamara, said as a Commission they are in total support of the reduction of nomination fees and also called on the Leader of Government Business to support them in the process.
Reacting to the political parties, the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Sidie M. Tunis on behalf of the Leadership of Parliament welcomed and commended them for engaging him on the issue. On his part, he said “it is part of President Bio’s inclusive governance strategy to engage political parties in a dialogue to move the country forward”. He also said that he would not assure them but he could present their proposal to the President for consideration.
The Leader further pleaded with them to bring to Parliament any other issue relating to electoral laws for review and subsequent enactment by Parliament. He encouraged them to work as a team to address issues affecting the electoral processes in the country.
Department of Public Relations
Parliament of Sierra Leone