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PMDC Rejects New Election Date

8 May 2007 at 15:53 | 481 views

The People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), one of Sierra Leone’s vibrant and dynamic political parties, has rejected the new election date recently announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC). Here is a letter the PMDC recently sent to NEC boss Christiana Thorpe(photo) :

Date: 7th May 2007.

The Chief Electoral Commissioner
National Electoral Commission Office
Wellington
Freetown.

Dear Madam,

RE: REVISED ELECTORAL TIMETABLE

I write on behalf of the above-named Political Party with instructions to register its concerns on the above subject matter.

Firstly, the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) views with great dismay and concern the manner in which your Commission went about revising the current electoral timetable. In a meeting summoned by your Commission on 2nd May 2007 in Freetown and attended by our Party’s Assistant Secretary-General, Mr. Abdul Param Tarawally, a memorandum dated 2nd May 2007 (which was unsigned and had no letterhead or insignia of your Commission) was reportedly distributed captioned “Revised Election Timetable”.

Though the said memorandum concluded with various “recommendations” on the subject, information obtained from your Commission by our Assistant Secretary-General as well as media broadcast on the issue are to the effect that your Commission had already taken a position to revise the current electoral timetable, and hence postpone the forthcoming Presidential and Parliamentary Elections to August 11th 2007, without any consultation with or reference to us as a registered Political Party. Our Party finds this demeaning and unacceptable, especially in view of the fact that we had in the past made several observations about your Commission taking unilateral decisions (often in tune with positions of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party) on sensitive matters touching and concerning the electoral process; a case in point being the recent delimitation of constituency boundaries.

Secondly, paragraphs 3 and 4 of your said memorandum suggest that your decision to revise the electoral timetable and consequently postpone the forthcoming elections was reached “following discussions with the Government and Parliament” and in view of indication that “Parliament will be dissolved on 25 June 2007”. Our Party fails to comprehend why the said “discussions”, which clearly excluded us as stakeholders, compromised a blatant breach of section 84(2) of the National Constitution of 1991, being an entrenched provision by virtue of section 108(3) of the said National Constitution. Section 84(2) of the National Constitution states that “there shall be a session of Parliament at least once in every year, so that a period of twelve months shall not intervene between the last sitting of Parliament in one session and the first sitting thereof in the next session: Provided that there shall be a session of Parliament not later than twenty-eight days from the holding of a general election of Members of Parliament”. Unfortunately, the current Parliament, according to your said memorandum, actually sat for the first time on 25 June 2002, instead of 11 June 2002. Our Party is of the view that your Commission was certainly aware of the foregoing constitutional provision and the date of the first sitting of Parliament after the 2002 general elections when it chose to have the elections on 28 July 2007.

Thirdly, our Party is of the further view that your rescheduling of the elections to 11th August 2007 is unrealistic considering that the country will be in the thick of torrential rains in August. Consideration should be given to the hardship the electorate would encounter trekking and queuing under rainstorms on polling day. Besides, considering the size of our country, our Party does not understand why if Presidential election was to be held on the 11th August 2007, your Commission will not make available final results of same until “on, or around, 23 August 2007”. Our party will not accept a twelve-day delay for final results to be announced after the elections.

In conclusion, the People’s Movement for Democratic Change hereby registers strong dissatisfaction with your Commission’s unilateral deferment of the 2007 elections and views the postponement as an act of sacrificing the convenience of the electorate of this country to NEC’s administrative lapses and poor judgement. The PMDC will not accept a postponement of the elections to 11th August 2007, and demands that your commission reverts to 28th July 2007 as the date for the Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

Counting on your cooperation.

Yours Faithfully,

Ansu B. Lansana Esq.
National Secretary General

CC: - The Chairman, Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC).

- The Secretary-General, All Political Parties Association (APPA).

- The Executive Representative of the Secretary General of the U.N

- The Diplomatic Corps

- The Press.

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