The Political Parties Registration Commission of Sierra Leone (PPRC) has officially announced the ban on political rallies ahead of the 24 June general elections.

PPRC made this announcement in a press release issued today, 3 April 2023.

The Commissions said the decision to ban rallies came after meetings on Monday the 27th March 2023, with all registered Political Parties, Electoral Management Bodies, Security Sector Actors, Civil Society Organisations and the Press, and with an invitation extended to their development partners who were in attendance.

According to PPRC, the purpose of the meeting was twofold: to evaluate the essence of Street Rallies; and to discuss the requirements Political Parties are to meet, to enable them effectively execute the third limb of the purpose for their establishment, as encapsulated in Section 35(1) of the 1991 Constitution, which is to sponsor candidates for presidential, parliamentary and local council elections.

The Public may recall that, over the years, Street Rallies have occasioned immeasurable hardship on the peace loving people of this Country. They threatened public safety, public peace, public morality and infringed on fundamental rights of others, inclusive of the primary right, which is the right to life,” the Commission stated.

The unfortunate death in Tonko Limba, the attack on the person and property of a Political opponent in Constituency 110, the debasing obscenities in Koinadugu and Kono and the affray in Samaya Bendugu and Koya, are some of the disturbing disquiet the public is made to endure, in the course of these Street Rallies.”

PPRC noted that, the ethno regional rhetorics, tribal slurs, hatespeech and intemperate languages peddled by some Politicians and their attackdogs on social media, have rendered the country’s politics very toxic. They added that tensions are rife and thus imperative on them to adopt appropriate measures to defuse them.

According to them, electioneering periods are no time for dancing and merriment, but they are times for deep reflections and evaluation of nation’s Politicians.

Cognisant of that fact and freeloading on the gullibility of our people, Politicians have over the years, effectively used those Street circuses, to blur the thought process of the electorates, particularly the young ones, by the use of narcotics and other intoxicants. They get to the campaign designations in drunken stupor, completely devoid of any intellect, to comprehend the messages (if any), from their candidates,” PPRC stated.

Consequent upon the above, the Commission is of the view that, our people are deserving better from their Political Parties. Nobody deserves to die or suffer incalculable loss, because of the Political aspirations of another. Thus the need for a National discourse on street Rallies, with a view to according Political Parties the opportunity, to critically examine their effects on Public safety, public peace and public morality and the observance of the fundamental rights of others.”

The Commission added that question was therefore put to all in attendance, whether they maintain them and own up to their outcome, in line with the sanctions now prescribed in the Political Parties Act No.25 of 2022, against those conducts complained of or in the alternative, they ban them and rally in designated areas.

After extensive deliberations, the Political Parties in pursuit of public safety, public peace and public morality, in protection of the Rights of others and the preservation of the State, as envisioned in Section 26(2)(a)(i&ii) of the 1991 Constitution, unanimously resolved as follows:

That Street Rallies be banned in the forthcoming elections.

That Political Parties assemble and conduct their campaigns in designated areas, with appropriate security coverage.

That the Electoral Management Bodies and the security Sector Actors develop guidelines on the enforcement of the ban, with a view to ensuring fairness and parity of interest.

That Government evenly makes available appropriate State infrastructure to all Political Parties and at no cost, for the conduct of their campaigns. That Political Parties adopt appropriate actions geared towards the fulfilment of the nomination criteria,” PPRC concluded.