From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

PPRC outlines structural challenges to MPs
By Bampia Bundu
Jun 24, 2010, 17:16

The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) on Wednesday 23rd June 2010 dialogued with the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Defence and Political Affairs at their State Avenue Head Office in Freetown on diverse issues ranging from achievements to challenges faced by the institution after a recent restructuring process in preparation for the 2012 general elections.

In his presentation, the Acting Chairperson of the commission Mr. Roland Ade Caesar catalogued past achievements made by the PPRC such as the development of a strong track record in mediating and mitigating intra and inter-party disputes since it was set up by an Act of Parliament in 2005. He said the setting up of the commission was engendered by the re-organisation of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) which saw the relinquishing of its oversight for political parties in line with Sections 34 and 35 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone. He said the purpose of establishing the commission was with the objective of registering and supervising the conduct of Political Parties to ensure compliance with the Constitution as well as the Political Parties Act of 2002.

Also highlighted as part of past achievements by the Acting Chairperson were PPRCís demonstration of the ability to foster the institutionalization of a culture of peace and non-violence in pre and post electoral processes in the country, and the conduct of non-violence marches with elections stakeholders during both the 2007 presidential and the 2008 local council elections.

On challenges faced by the institution, Mr. Caesar informed the Honorable Members of Parliament that since the PPRC underwent re-structuring process with the recruitment of about 18 core managerial staff members who effectively took office on Tuesday 1st June 2010, they are faced with both financial and logistical constraints. On the financial front, he said they are yet to receive adequate funding from government to sustain effective operations since at the moment the commission depends on donor support for its activities which is grossly inadequate. "Also as a constraint is logistics as we are in dire straits for office space for staff in Freetown and the regional offices, vehicles, equipment and other working tools for use by the commission", he expressed, adding that lack of adequate capacity building opportunities for staff and the commissioners, coupled by the absence of regional commissioners as the constitution made no provision for that are added challenges.

The Acting PPRC Chair said as a result of the above, they are incapacitated to enforce certain provisions of their mandate like the effective monitoring of political parties across the country, the enforcement of registration requirements of parties as according to him out of the 29 formerly registered, only four are active; as well as the inability of the PPRC to respond to political situations when it should caused by the lack of political will to give full support to their activities. He therefore pleaded with the committee to help the commission address those numerous issues in order to enhance their activities in accordance with their mandate.

In response Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee of Defence and Political Affairs, Hon. Charles Kalawa commended the commission for their relentless work over the years even though they were working on a small cash budget. He however assured the commission that they would do all they could to empower them. He admonished the commission to submit their budgets as it would surely be approved by parliament.

He ended by impressing on the commission to name and shame parties that are not complying with PPRCís code of ethics.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.