The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) has acted tough in resolving the ongoing constitutional row in the rank and file of the Peopleís Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), by cancelling an earlier decision to defer the leadership contest of the party till 2011 rather than in 2009 as dictated by the partyís constitution.
The PPRC move came following a petition that was filed in by three concerned members of the party, who were angry at the decision, citing constitutional and procedural flaws.
At a meeting held at the PPRC headquarters on Saturday 7th February 2009 to resolve the issue, the leadership of the party was advised to go back to the drawing board and allow unity and progress to flow.
The meeting laid aside the previous decision relating to the deferral of the leadership election, and unanimously agreed on having a national delegates conference on 6th April 2009 in Kenema, to elect officials of the party.
The meeting also recommended that all matters relating to the leadership of the party be kept on hold until a final decision is taken at the national delegates conference, which is the highest decision making body of the party.
The PPRC called for strict adherence to the partyís constitution by the leadership, saying anything short of that will not be tolerated.
Meanwhile, sources close to the party intimate that the partyís leadership flouted an earlier order by the PPRC not to hold the proposed January 31st 2009 National Council meeting in Bo, until the matter before it was resolved.
In his words, the Leader of the party, Charles Francis Margai, said the meeting was strategic to the future of the party and that there was no way it could have been cancelled.
The convening of the said meeting is said to have further widen the deep in the PMDC, with most executive members boycotting it.
Also boycotting the said meeting were the partyís representatives in the House of Parliament, who reportedly vowed in a joint communiquť that they will not attend.
The action of the parliamentarians is said to have angered the Leader, Charles Francis Margai, who reacted by personally addressing a strong worded correspondence to them, using his private letter head.
An excerpt of the said letter reads "I must express my utter disappointment, although the decision did not come as a surprise. As leader of the party, I certainly will not take it kindly should you choose to absent yourselves from this all important meeting. I would therefore urge a reconsideration of your position which is untenable".
It remains to be seen where the current standoff between the leadership and parliamentarians on the one hand, and the leadership and some heavy weights of the party on the other hand, will take the party, but reports monitored thus far indicate that the party is in a difficult situation, with the leadership being at the center of it all.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.