National Progressive Democrats
156 Bai Bureh Road, Portee, Wellington, Freetown, Republic of Sierra Leone
Dated this 23rd day of June, 2016
Continued Failure to Register the National Progressive Democrats even after 160 days:
The National Progressive Democrats“Party” (herein called “NPD”), which was hitherto a Movement called “Progressive Democrats Movement”, was granted its Provisional Certificate of Registration by the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) on the 18th January, 2016, after having applied and gone through the formalities for provisional registration in accordance with Section 16(3) of the Political Parties Registration and Regulation Commission Act, 2012. The Association is yet to be fully registered by the PPRC as a functioning Political Party in Sierra Leone since the 18th January, 2016 in spite of several sustained efforts by its members to do so as provided for by law.
Mindful of the fact that the receipt by the NPD “Party” of the said Provisional Certificate is yet to trigger effective action and participation by the Party in the political and electoral affairs of Sierra Leone because of the “gag order” already placed on its activities and interactions in media discussions by the PPRC; and aware of the serious implications that delay in the final registration of the Party has and will continue to cause the NPD as a fledgling “Party”;
WE, MEMBERS OF THE NPD “PARTY”, hereby raise the following observations and concerns for the attention of the general public and moral guarantors:
Diary of events concerning the NPD:
- That on the 10th August, 2015, we presented our meticulously prepared application to the PPRC and suggested a date for its formal submission, but we were told by the Commission that, as a policy thereof, we needed to have registered first as a Movement; even though we had already constituted ourselves into an “Association” (albeit unregistered) at the time of our first application within the meaning of Sections 35(5) and 35(8) of the 1991 National Constitution.
- On the 1st September, 2015, we nonetheless registered the Progressive Democrats Movement (PDM) in order to reflect and put into effect our aspirations and objectives, including engaging in broad community activities such as conducting adult literacy programs.
- On the 21st October, 2015, we lodged our application with the PPRC.
- On the 3rd November, 2015, we were invited by the PPRC to collect our Provisional Certificate on the 5th November, 2015.
- On the 5th November, 2015, we honoured the appointment to collect the Provisional Certificate for the temporary registration of the NPD, but we were told by the PPRC that our interim Chairman had to be present.
- On the 19th November, 2015,our interim Chairman, Mr Almami Cyllah and his team attended to collect the said Provisional Certificate but we were informed by the PPRC, via its Acting Registrar that, our type-written application was to be hand-written, in line with their practice and form.
- On the 13th January, 2016, we re-submitted the hand-written application.
- On 18th January, 2016, the PPRC Chairman presented us with our Provisional Certificate together with “a gag order” that we do nothing, other than organise our members, and say nothing as well. The Chairman then promised that our constitution/party laws will be gazetted within one week of the provisional registration; and that after due diligence had been conducted by the PPRC on the NPD over the next 60 days and upon successfully meeting the PPRC requirements, we shall be granted our Final Registration Certificate by the Commission.
- In February, 2016, the PPRC informed us that our constitution/party laws had not been gazetted as planned due to the heavy workload at the Government Printer’s office. The count for the 60-day period thus started on 20th February ending 19th April, 2016.
- February-March 2016, the PPRC performed national due diligence on us.
- In March 2016, the PPRC Registrar informed us that we have to pay five years’ rent on each of the four office leases that we had. She, however, failed to put this in writing. The PPRC Chairman eventually dismissed it.
- On the 19th April, 2016, the day that the 60-day count-down for our full and final registration ended without objection, our “Party” was not granted full registration status within the provisions of Section 17(1) of the Political Parties Registration and Regulation Commission Act, 2012.
- On the 22nd April, 2016, we called on the PPRC Chairman and he told us that he had not had time to process our application due to lack of funds as well as a heavy workload, including mediating the SLPP intra-party dispute, but he would endeavour to do so by the week ending 30th
- On the 28th April, 2016, we sent a reminder to the PPRC Chairman.
- On the 6th May, 2016, the PPRC Chairman invited our Interim Chairman, Mr. Almami Cyllah, to his office and informed him about a meeting to be held at his office on the 11th May, 2016.
- On the 11th May, 2016, Mr. Cyllah attended the meeting as requested and received assurances that the Certificate will be issued.
- On the 27th May, 2016, we met with the PPRC Chairman at his office but he raised the issue of a quorum. He, however, re-assured us that this would not be a problem, considering that the process had already started before the two other Commissioners resigned/ retired.
- On the 31st May, 2016, we met with the PPRC’s Acting Registrar, Madam Zainab Moseray, who listed a series of issues with our NPD offices, including the location of the Kenema office in a market place; the latter issue was, however, dismissed by the PPRC Chairman.
- On the 1st June, 2016, we again met with the PPRC Chairman and discussed the above issues with him. Madam Moseray then raised the issue about the PPRC’s lack of a quorum to sign the Final Certificate. The Chairman promised to check the PPRC records and minutes on quorum.
- On 7th June, 2016, we met with the PPRC Chairman but he confirmed that in accordance with legislation and set precedence, a quorum is indeed required for meetings and decisions of the Commission.
As things stand, there are two vacancies to be filled by the Sierra Leone Bar Association and the Sierra Leone Labour Congress. Upon receipt of their respective nominations, the President will then forward the names of the nominees to Parliament for their approval.The approved Commissioners will then meet to deliberate on the Commission’s work. Demarche
In the light of the foregoing, the NPD is gravely concerned that it may remain unregistered as a “Political Party” at law, even though we are quite capable of efficiently participating in Sierra Leone’s electoral and political process. We therefore call on the PPRC, which has also tirelessly worked to set the stage for the forthcoming elections, to act timeously in ensuring and enhancing our right to associate and participate as well-meaning Sierra Leoneans in mapping and shaping the destiny of our glorious nation, SIERRA LEONE.
Long live Democracy! Long live Sierra Leone!
Dated this 23rdday of June, 2016
Almami Cyllah – Interim Chairman/Leader, NPD “Party”.
Tel: 076 814 597
Susan Williams –
Interim Secretary-General, NPD “Party”.
Tel: 030 989 771