NGC responds to Petition against National Delegates Conference elections


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Email: [email protected]/ [email protected]
Mr A. M. Bangura
Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC)
OAU Drive
Tower Hill
28th December 2022
Dear Mr Bangura,


Thank you for your letter of 23rd December 2022 as referenced above, bringing to our party’s attention that the PPRC has received a petition against the outcome of the National Delegates Conference of the NGC, during which National Officers of the Party were elected. You stated in your letter that the Commission had received a petition from Messrs Joseph Maada Kpulun, Saidu Abass Dumbuya, Edward Nat Jones and Ambrose Osman Bangura who were all unsuccessful candidates for positions in the party at the Conference.

Before addressing the issues in your letter, the NGC Party wishes to remind the Commission that, its own officers were present at the Conference, not merely as observers, but were there to discharge the Commission’s function of supervising the conduct of political parties in accordance with the Constitution and Section 6 (1) of the Political Parties Act 2002. Therefore, if at any time prior to and during the National Delegates Conference, the representative of the PPRC was of the opinion that the Conference was not being conducted in accordance with the rules and regulations that the party had established for the conduct of the National Delegates Conference, including the elections of National Officers, the PPRC had the opportunity prior to, and during the conference to bring this to the attention of the Independent Elections Committee of the party, which was responsible for conducting the elections.

As you are certainly aware the National Delegates Conference and election of National Officers are the endpoint of a long, painful and challenging process involving elaborate preparations, significant financial and material resources and a huge deployment of logistics and manpower. We feel proud that thanks to the toughness and resilience of our membership at home and in the diaspora we have been able to conclude this process and can account for over 10,818 NGC executives operating today at ward, constituency, district, regional and national levels.

However, we note with great sadness that although the PPRC accompanied our party throughout this journey, supervising each activity, mediating, adjudicating disputes and giving clearance for us to proceed from one level to the other, the PPRC did not even send us a hint of congratulations; no commendation, not even a word of encouragement to this young party that has succeeded in being the first opposition party to get this far! Instead, priority and urgency were given to a complaint by four party members who competed but lost the elections.

Furthermore, we feel deeply disappointed that although the Conference was held on 13 and 14 December 2022, the PPRC representatives have not yet produced their report about the Conference. The Election Observers Network (EON), an independent observer organisation who were also present at the Conference published their report on 21st December 2022 and presented it to the PPRC. In their report, EON concluded that – The Conference and eventual elections were held in the spirit of good democratic process, and despite the heightened tension and occasional inconveniences, the elections process was free, fair and transparent.

The EON also referenced the active role of the PPRC at the Conference and it would be advisable for the PPRC to note these points in the report:

7. The preparation and publication of the delegates list was a sore point for the party. The bone of contention, as always in every party, borders around inclusion or exclusive of some member or the other. The PPRC intervened along the way and the final list was displayed at the entrance to the conference centre. A copy of the list was lodged with the PPRC. The EON team noted, that on the day, there were no objections/complaints (of significance) from any “disenfranchised” members or groups. A total of 730 delegates were eligible to vote for the contesting candidates. 596 who were present voted.

8. The elections were by secret ballot paper deposited into the ballot box bearing the candidate’s photograph, situated in a secured/secluded space. Vote counting was done openly in the presence of each candidates’ designated representatives, the PPRC and independent observers like EON-SL.

14. The EON team and other official observers namely – PPRC were present throughout the event.

Given the active role played by the PPRC throughout the Conference, it is of absolute necessity that the PPRC publishes its own report on the Conference without any more delay so that it is not unduly influenced, which might result in the outcome of the Conference being undermined.

Returning to your letter of 23 December 2022, you advised us that – Consistent with Commission’s practice of encouraging aggrieved members of Political Parties to exhaust the internal dispute resolution mechanism with their party’s structure, before having recourse to the Commission, I am remitting this petition to the National Elders and Trustees Council for resolution… While we commend the Commission for recognising the need for the internal dispute resolution mechanism to be exhausted before considering a petition, we wish to highlight that the Commission has no powers of ‘remitting’ complaints and that this is not the same thing as redirecting the petitioners to revert to the internal dispute mechanism within the party.

By maintaining that the Commission is ‘remitting’ the complaint, the Commission has not redirected the petitioners to approach the NETC, but it has acted beyond its legal powers and has instructed the party on the composition of the NETC, mandating that the NETC, should comprise of two members recommended by the National Chairman and Leader, Dennis Bright and two members recommended by the Petitioners and one member, recommended by the National Executive Committee. The Commission has no powers under the Political Parties Act 2022, to mandate the composition of the party’s NETC which is a statutory body created by our Constitution and any attempt to do so, will be met with a legal challenge in the Supreme Court.

In dictating the Composition of the NETC, to be two representatives of the National Chairman and Leader and two representatives of the Petitioners, the Commission has assumed that the party’s NETC members lack the required clout and integrity, and are incapable of rising above the two camps which emerged for the contest of the National Chairman and Leader.

Section 45 (1) (National Elders and Trustee Council) of the NGC Constitution sets out the composition of the NETC, as follows:

(1) There shall be established a National Elders and Trustees Council which shall be the moral conscience of the party and shall be composed as follows:
(a) Members of the party who are Past Presidents and Vice Presidents
(b)Members of the party who are Past Speakers, Majority and Minority Leaders of Parliament.
(c) Members of the party who are present District Council Chairmen and Mayors.
(d)Members of the party who are past National Chairpersons and Leaders of the Party.
(e) Current Chairperson and Leader of the Party.
(f) Present and past Presidential Candidates who are still members of the party.
(g) Present and past Presidential Candidates Running Mates who are still members of the Party.
(h) Five founding members of the Party appointed by NEC on the recommendation of the Chairperson and Leader.

The Commission does not have the legal power under the Political Parties Act 2002 to dispose of any part of the Constitution of the party, which has been fully gazetted. Therefore, any complaint about the outcome of the Conference brought to the attention of the NETC, will be addressed by the NETC constituted in accordance with the NGC Constitution.

We therefore ask the Commission to act in accordance with its own practice and encourage the petitioners to approach the party’s NETC directly with their grievances and to refrain from dictating the composition of the NETC or a timetable for NETC’s hearing and release of its report.

We wish to remind the Commission that its function is not limited to Sections 6 (2) (d) of the Political Parties Act 2002, and the Commission cannot give undue emphasis to its role in mediating conflicts or disputes between or among the leadership of any political party. A major function of the Commission is Section 6 (2) (c), to promote political pluralism and the spirit of constitutionalism among political parties. NGC is concerned that instead of recognising the fact that the party is the second party and the only opposition party to complete its Lower-Level Elections and National Delegates Conference, with six months to the Multi-Tier Elections in 2023, the Commission seems determined to undermine the party’s National Delegates Conference which it supervised, after giving the party the go-ahead to proceed with the Conference in its letter of 7 December 2022 by which it imposed a decision following petitions from the same group of petitioners.

Furthermore, the electorate will be concerned that while in 2018, thirteen political parties contested the General Elections, under the Commission’s watch, the 2023 Multi-Tier Elections are likely to be contested by not more than three political parties. This is not evidence of the promotion of political pluralism. Political pluralism is an important national imperative for Sierra Leone to safeguard its fledgling democracy following the civil war.

The Commission should note that any attempt to undermine the outcome of the National Delegates Conference which it supervised will not be acceptable to NGC and we reserve the right to seek redress in the Supreme Court, because it is important that the electorate of Sierra Leone are offered the choice of an alternative to the current government.

We wish to use this opportunity to convey the wishes of our membership at home and abroad for success in the Commission’s activities in the coming year, while hoping for continued collaboration with you in the service of the citizens of our beloved Sierra Leone.

Nyamacoro Sillah,

Deputy National Secretary General, NGC

Cc:​Commissioners, PPRC
​Resident U.N. Coordinator
​The Head of Delegation, European Union
​The British High Commissioner
​The United States Ambassador, Sierra Leone
​The Irish Ambassador
The ECOWAS Representative
The Secretary General, Mano River Union
The Press

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