Salone News

A Review of the Freetown Media

11 June 2007 at 17:30 | 238 views

Electoral Commission announces nomination dates

In the exercise of the powers conferred upon it by the Electoral Laws Act, 2002, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has announced the dates for the nomination (s) of candidates for presidential and parliamentary elections. A public notice by the Commission published in the PEEP MAGAZINE states that the date for the submission of nomination forms for presidential and vice presidential candidates would be between 3 and 7 July, while submission for parliamentary candidates would be between 2 and 6 July. All forms should be submitted to the National Electoral Commission Headquarters, 15 Industrial Estate, Wellington, Freetown and District Electoral Offices, between 10: a.m. and 6:p.m. each day. The notice adds that nomination forms for both elections are obtainable at the same venues of submission; and that completed forms shall be delivered to the Commission on or before 4:p.m. on the last day of nominations. The notice further states that any citizen who wishes to object against the nomination of any presidential candidate (s) may do so through the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone, within seven days after the official publication of the provisional list of the presidential candidates, and that any elector in the constituency in which a parliamentary candidate is contesting, who wishes to object against the nomination of any parliamentary candidate (s) may do so, after the official publication of the provisional list of parliamentary candidates to the Returning Officer of the respective districts within the nomination period.

12 docked in the aftermath of ethnic disturbances

Independent Observer reports that in the wake of the recent ethnic disturbances in Kalangba, Bombali District, north of the country, which left the police post and a cattle ranch destroyed, twelve out of the twenty-one suspects arrested by the police on Wednesday had reportedly appeared before Magistrate Sandy, at the Makeni Magistrate Court on charges of assault, felony, arson and stealing. The report adds that among those released were the Section Chief of Kalangba, Pa Alimamy Sesay and nine others on the grounds of insufficient evidence to prosecute them; but that the suspects may still be useful in providing information that might lead to the arrest of those at large. Currently, according to the paper, the police have got five names on their list of wanted persons suspected to have ignited the mayhem. The matter was adjourned to today, 11 June.

Civil Society group launches handbook on elections

Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) in collaboration with the National Electoral Commission (NEC), on Thursday 8 June 2007, launched a citizens’ handbook on the electoral process and at the same time engaged media practitioners, traditional and religious leaders at a one-day workshop on the same subject. At the ceremony held at Santano House, Howe Street, Freetown.NEC’s Deputy Commissioner, Alhaji Al-Gassimu Jah, underscored that the electoral process was a joint effort of all relevant stakeholders, including the public; and that the conduct of free, fair, transparent, credible and acceptable elections in Sierra Leone was vital to the attainment of the Commission’s mandate, New Vision, New Citizen and Awoko report. Alhaji Al-Gassimu Jah further reminded his audience about the vital role they would be expected to play in strengthening democracy and the electioneering process; and encouraging mass participation especially in the rural communities. The NEC Deputy Commissioner, according to the reports, took the opportunity to remind the media about the Media Code of Conduct that encourages all journalists and media houses to abide by professional standards for democratic and transparent elections reporting. “Assist NEC in educating the public about the electoral process in addition to informing them about important aspects of the electoral process such as boundary delimitation, voter registration, nominations and polling processes,” New Vision quotes the NEC Commissioner as admonishing.

Parliament denies circumscribing FGM

The controversial issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which was reportedly expunged from the Child Right Bill that was passed in Parliament past Friday has sparked off heated debate especially amongst child rights campaigners in the country. Though most people including the UNICEF Representative in Sierra Leone have acclaimed the efforts of Parliament in domesticating international conventions consistent with the country’s tradition, human rights campaigners on the other hand were appalled by the fact that Parliament could expunge FGM, which the former consider as an affront to human rights. In defending the action of Parliament, the Speaker, Edmond Cowan, said the issue of FGM was ambiguous and not clearly defined. He said on UN Radio that if the focal Minister were to modify the ambiguous wording dealing with the FGM on the bill, Parliament would have no alternative but to incorporate it in clearer and more explicit terms. The Chairman of the Human Rights Committee in Parliament, Dr. Alusine Fofanah, told Concord Times that FGM was not expunged from the bill, but that it was the general consensus of Parliament for it to be modified.

Opposition accuses SLPP of training armed youths ahead of elections

The opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) Party has alleged that the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) was training thousands of youths with arms in the southern and eastern provinces to victimize and intimidate the opposition ahead of the 11 August elections. A front page report in the APC We Yone alleged that the training exercise was being conducted by Nigerians and coordinated by Koidu Holdings mining company and the Sierra Leone Diamond Company. The specific mandate of the trainees according to the report was to disrupt the smooth conduct of the elections; kidnap and kill opposition hardliners that pose threat to the SLPP in return for jobs should they ensure that the SLPP wins the coming elections.

Stiff criteria for award of APC symbol

After the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has concluded the awarding of symbols to successful candidates, the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party will start giving out symbols to deserving candidates starting Friday 15 June. According to New Citizen quoting the Secretary-General of APC, Victor Foh, the Symbol Awards Committee has outlined certain criteria which prospective candidates should meet if they are to be awarded the party symbol. Among the criteria are that candidates should be educated; healthy; have good financial record; a record of contribution at constituency level and should make known his/her own personal character and public record, backed by a statement with a police clearance report.

(Compiled by PIO/UNIOSIL)