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  • Thursday, 08 June 2023

Sierra Leone Bans Political Mass Rallies

Sierra Leone Bans Political Mass Rallies

By Abu Bakarr Tarawally

The Political Parties Regulations Commission (PPRC), has in a Press Release issued Monday, April 3rd, communicated political parties’ unanimous decision to ban all political street mass rallies leading up to the upcoming June elections.


The decision is reached after the Commission convened a meeting on the 27th, of March, of all registered Political Parties, Electoral Management Bodies, Security Sector Actors, Civil Society Organisations and the Press, with an invitation extended to development partners who were in attendance.


The essence of street rallies and the requirements of political parties to put control measures in tandem with the laws were the subject of discussion for which an evaluation was done to determine the value addition or lack of, street rally might have, to impact the June 2023 elections.


“The public may recall that, over the years, Street Rallies have occasioned immeasurable hardship for the peace-loving people of this Country.” The public notice reads in part, as a mention of the impact of such, the PPRC state, “…threatened public safety, public peace, and public morality and infringed on the fundamental rights of others, inclusive of the primary right, which is the right to life.”


Instances, the PPRC gave include: the unfortunate death in Tonko Limba of a citizen during the conduct of a bye-election, the attack on the person and property of a Political opponent in Constituency 110, the debasing obscenities in Koinadugu and Kono and the affray in Samaya Bendugu and Koya, are some of the disturbing disquiet the public is made to endure, in the course of these Street Rallies.


The PPRC is particularly coy at the aspect of the ethno-regional rhetorics, tribal slurs, hate speech and intemperate languages peddled by some Politicians and their attack dogs on social media, which the Commission noted, have rendered the politics very toxic.


There are indications of an atmosphere with blossoming tensions which in the opinion of the PPRC is imperative for all citizens to adopt appropriate measures to defuse them. “Further, electioneering periods are no time for dancing and merriment,” the Commission opined. Rather are times for deep reflections and evaluation of the country’s Politicians.


“Cognisant of that fact and freeloading on the gullibility of our people, Politicians have over the years, effectively used those Street circuses, to blur the thought process of the electorates, particularly the young ones, by the use of narcotics and other intoxicants. They get to the campaign designations in a drunken stupor, completely devoid of any intellect, to comprehend the messages (if any), from their candidates,” the PPRC rules.


Consequent upon the above, the Commission is of the view that, the people of Sierra Leone are deserving better from their Political Parties. So therefore, the registered political parties concluded that “Nobody deserves to die or suffer incalculable loss, because of the Political aspirations of another.”


The Political Parties utilized the opportunity, to critically examine the effects of street rallies on Public safety, public peace and public morality and the observance of the fundamental rights of others. The question was therefore put to all in attendance, whether the country maintains them and own up to their outcome, in line with the sanctions now prescribed in the Political Parties Act No.25 of 2022, against those conducts complained of or in the alternative, place a ban and instead rally in designated areas.


After extensive deliberations, the Political Parties in pursuit of public safety, public peace and public morality, in the protection of the Rights of others and the preservation of the State, as envisioned in Section 26(2)(a) (I & ii) of the 1991 Constitution, unanimously resolved as follows:

  • That Street Rallies be banned in the forthcoming elections.
  • That Political Parties assemble and conduct their campaigns in designated areas, with appropriate security coverage.
  • That the Electoral Management Bodies and the security Sector Actors develop guidelines on the enforcement of the ban, with a view to ensuring fairness and parity of interest.
  • That Government evenly makes available appropriate State infrastructure to all Political Parties and at no cost, for the conduct of their campaigns.
  • That Political Parties adopt appropriate actions geared towards the fulfilment of the nomination criteria

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