A recent outburst of dissatisfaction by the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) has left tongues wrangling over the actual intention of the All People’s Congress (APC) led Government of Sierra Leone.
“The Political Parties Registration Commission wishes to register its utmost dissatisfaction over the amount allocated to the Commission by the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development,” said the Acting Chairperson of the PPRC, Roland Ade Caesar on the 15th November 2010 at a news conference.
“In the Appropriation Act of 2011, being an Act to authorize expenditure from the consolidated fund for the services of Sierra Leone for the year 2011, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development allocated to the PPRC the sum of one hundred and fifty three million and forty two thousand leones (Le153,042,327.00) out of the seven billion nine hundred and twenty million five hundred and thirty seven thousand three hundred and twenty seven cents (7,929,537,327) the Commission budgeted for 2011,” he pointed out.
According to him, this amount allocated to the Commission for 2011 is far below the 2010 budget of two hundred and forty seven million leones (Le247,000,000) when the Commission had only six core staff. “As of June 2010, the number of staff has increased from six to thirty and the operations of the Commission expanded as outlined in the Strategic Plan,” he intimated.
Following this revelations, it is now widely believed that the budget cut the PPRC suffered was a deliberate move to disable the Commission.
A particular school of thought has described the act as ‘Kukujumuku’.
‘Kukujumuku’ is a saying commonly used among Sierra Leoneans, and it can be translated as ‘a well orchestrated ploy to destroy the plans of a person or institution for selfish gains’.
If the aforementioned description suits this case in point, then it would be safe to say that the APC government has deliberately deprived the PPRC of much needed resources so that the Commission, tasked with the responsibility of regulating the activities of political parties in Sierra Leone, would not be able to perform its duties.
“At first it was Ojukokoro and it has now graduated to Kukujumuku,” a supporter of the main opposition party provoked.
“With lack of funds, the PPRC would not be able to visit places like Kono to investigate serious allegations that APC supporters splashed buckets of human feaces (raw kaka) at the SLPP Headquarters and rained stones and other dangerous missiles on SLPP executive members, intending flagbearers and supporters,” a political analyst said in Freetown.
The citizens are demanding an explanation from the APC government as to why it has decided to treat the all-important PPRC with levity.
“It is unimaginable for the APC to allocate less funds to the PRRC at this point in time when the Commission has more staff and spreading it tentacles across the country,” a civil society activist, Victor Minah, pointed out.
Another political commentator, who preferred not to be named, said the APC should have allocated more funds to the PPRC, especially at a time like this, when people are bent on using violence in political campaigns, if only the APC is committed to preserve peace and political tolerance in the country.
It has now been learnt that with this ‘Kukujumuku’ budget cut, the PPRC’s statutory mandate especially mediation in the intra party dialogue will be limited to only Freetown, Bo, Kenema and Makeni for 2011; the regional offices will not be adequately serviced to carry out their activities; and where the Commission is able to secure external grants, its activities would have to be determined to carry out its mandate in 2011 based on the allocated budget.
Whilst calling on President Koroma and his government to have a rethink so that the Commission will be spared the expression of being referred to as toothless bull dog, the PPRC has made public the possibility of shutting down its offices if funds are not provided to undertake its crucial role towards the furtherance of democracy in Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, the government is yet to respond to the aforementioned grave concern.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.