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Saturday, January 29, 2022

As Election Draws Closer… 10 Political Parties Form a consortium

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By Foday Moriba Conteh

During a well-attended press conference held on Monday 13th September 2021 at the New Brookfields Hotel in New England in Freetown, 10 political parties, which include the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) Party, the National Grand Coalition (NGC) Party, the Coalition for Change (C4C) Party, the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) etc decided to sign a Memorandum of Understanding in order to constitute what they referred to as the Consortium of Progressive Political Parties (COPPP).

In his statement, Chairman of the National Grand Coalition (NGC), Dr Dennis Bright noted that they the undersigned political leaders, representing their respective political parties commit themselves to harness the collective strength of their political parties and use available resources to oppose, reject and condemn bad governance, all violations of the Rule of Law and of the rights of citizens by the current Government of Sierra Leone and to eventually put an end to the suffering of the people of this country by using democratic and lawful means, adding that based on their reconcilable goals, aspirations and opportunities, they agreed to explore every opportunity to further tighten their collaboration as opposition political parties into a union that will generate a common electoral agenda.

He maintained that in their defence of democracy and good governance in the country, they shall be guided by the basic principles of justice, integrity, respect for the law and human rights and also guarantee for the people of Sierra Leone their freedoms of association, expression and movement.

Dennis Bright further revealed that they have agreed on the following which includes firstly that they constitute themselves into a consortium of opposition political parties under the nomenclature of “Consortium of Progressive Political Parties” referred to as “The Consortium”.

Secondly, that the Consortium is composed of individual opposition parties that have agreed to work together to defend and fortify democracy in the country and to that end shall collaborate in joint peaceful actions whenever there is a perceived or definite threat to their democratic rights to represent their members or to function individually or collectively as political parties.

Thirdly, that the Consortium shall identify controversial policies or decisions taken by the Government that are inimical to the interest of the people, educate the citizenry on such issues and take appropriate actions to reverse them.

Fourthly, that the Consortium shall develop a strategic plan as a tool that will comprehensively define its goals, strategic objectives, activities and action plans, and provide a roadmap for the emergence of a collective electoral agenda.

The Chairman of NGC continued to state that the Consortium shall actively pursue the unification of the people of Sierra Leone through robust public education initiatives and by challenging tribalism and sectionalism and promoting respect for diversity and national cohesion. He added that the Consortium commits itself to use every available means including social media to educate its members and supporters on the benefits of the collaboration so as to prevent misunderstandings that could frustrate the joint determination of parties to protect democracy and foster national development.

Dr Dennis Bright pointed out that the Consortium commits itself to the principle of harmonious co-existence and to resolve all inter-party conflicts and disagreements away from the glare of media and public scrutiny and that in cases of intra-party conflicts, the Consortium resolves to intervene and mediate as best as possible to ensure that every constituent party is sufficiently stable to contribute meaningfully to the Consortium.

He furthered that being a union of opposition parties, the Consortium will be steadfast in its role as watchdogs and critics of the Government and shall consistently criticize and condemn Government and its related agencies, expose public officials for all actions and policies that are against the interests of the struggling people of this country.

Dr Dennis Bright stated that in the spirit of the Consortium, members have agreed to do the following which includes engaging and organizing their respective memberships at the local level to hold inter-party meetings, consult on important issues and undertake collective and unified action thereby creating a foundation of trust and common purpose for members of the Consortium and to instruct their representatives in Parliament (for Consortium members with representation in Parliament) to hold regular meetings, consult and agree on common positions to be taken on items listed on the Order Paper and related matters furthering that it is important that the Consortium is working and is seen to be working as a united front in Parliament and as political parties generally.

“In the event of part of or the whole Consortium evolving into an alliance or a coalition, the willing members of the Consortium will enter into a separate agreement that will spell out the nature of their union and the terms of their engagement,” he disclosed.

Statements were also made by representatives of political parties present at the ceremony including the National Secretary General of the All People’s Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh, the Chairman and Leader of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), Charles Margai, the Chairperson of the Consortium of Progressive Political Parties (COPPP), Femi Claudius Cole etc. of which they endorsed their support to the Consortium.

Climaxing the event was the official signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by representatives of the various political parties present at the ceremony.

(C) The Calabash Newspaper

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