Desmond Pessima or Mohamed Bah?
In short, the PPRC letter still recognizes the previous executive led by Chairman Mohamed Bah.
The tone and directive of the PPRC letter are clear. The facts in the North America Regional Petition are strong to warrant further immediate and appropriate action. As such, all pending regional Party activities must cease awaiting the outcome of any investigations. However, a few people are bent on disregarding the PPRC letter and moving with plans to inaugurate an executive with a pending investigation swirling over its head. It is further evidence that those harboring disunity in the region are now nurturing confusion even at this crucial time when unity and harmony are needed to prepare for national elections in 2023. Overall, it is eerily quiet in SLPP North America Region.
If you have been wondering why this is so, you are in good company.
Can the Party act now or later?
The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) has sent a letter to the Secretary-General of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party at Unity House, Wallace Johnson Street in Freetown, connected with “Petitions From SLPP North America Region… ”
SLPP NA Official Petition Against March 27 Regional Elections and March 20 Chapter Elections
…Yet several candidates, including the current Chairman-Elect Mr. Desmond Pessima, who was elected Secretary-General of the Delaware Valley Chapter, and current Vice-Chairman Mr. Mohamed Daboh, who was also elected Treasurer of the DC Metro Chapter, were both allowed to run for and win regional positions despite having won Chapter positions in the same election.
The SLPPNA Petition to the PPRC is calling for a full re-run of the North America Regional Elections under the 2021 NEC approved PPRC gazetted Rules and Regulations for the following reasons:
- Article 20 Clause 2 (E) provides for the inclusion of Elections Rules and Regulations in NEC approved Party Rules and Regulations under which elections must be. The current Rules and Regulations of the SLPP were published under Gazette on March 24th, 2021. Chapter elections in North America were conducted on March 20th against the advice of the Regional Executive before the current Rules and Regulations took effect under the PPRC gazette. The finalized rules and regulations of 2021 were significantly different from the previous party published Rules and Regulations that were in effect for the Chapter elections, so no elections should have been conducted until they took effect, and it was ONLY done in North America, which was discriminatory. This is unconstitutional as none of the provisions under the previous Rules and Regulations were followed, used, or published for the Chapter elections conducted on March 20th, 2021. The draft 2021 Rules and Regulations were used.
- Also, NEC approved the published schedule from the emergency SLPP NEC meeting on Thursday 25th February 2021, which said Chapter elections were to be held on the 17th April 2021, and regional elections on 24th April 2021 were not complied with. Chapter elections were conducted on March 20th, 2021, with the regional elections held on March 27th, 2021 that led to the issue raised in point (1) above.
- Next, Clause 2(14) in the Rules and Regulations 2021 says, “no person shall hold two positions in the party at the same time.” Yet several candidates, including the current Chairman-Elect Mr. Desmond Pessima, who was elected Secretary-General of the Delaware Valley Chapter, and current Vice-Chairman Mr. Mohamed Daboh, who was also elected Treasurer of the DC Metro Chapter, were both allowed to run for and win regional positions despite having won Chapter positions in the same election. A petition filed challenging the eligibility of those candidates to Mr. Victor Tarmoh, head of the Diaspora Independent Elections Monitoring And Oversight Committee (DIEMOC) prior to the regional election, was not addressed.
PPRC On Petitions From SLPP North America Region And Its Dallas Chapter
The PPRC letter might be the reason why all is quiet. The July 27, 2021 letter was addressed to the Secretary-General and stated:
“I forward herewith, self-explanatory Petitions filed at the Commission, by members of the SLPPNA Region and its Dallas Chapter, relative to the conduct of the Party’s Executive elections in their Region and Chapter respectively.”
The PPRC letter further states [PPRC letter to the SLPP Secretary-General on the Petition from SLPPNA Region and Dallas Chapter on 27th July 2021]:
“The petitioners cited a plethora of instances of non-compliance, with the Party’s Electoral Rules and Regulations, on the conduct of its executive elections.”
Consistent and within its mandate, the PPRC further clarified its initial position on the SLPPNA and Dallas Chapter petitions. The Commission, among other things, observed that the Petitioners did not avail themselves of the Party’s internal electoral disputes resolution structures.
However, it was not so.
With all available facts, the PPRC went on to say that, “We also note that this failure on the part of the Petitioners was not deliberate or a willful oversight. Rather, it is informed on the nonavailability of these Structures in their Regions.
The structures that the PPRC is alluding to are the grievance mechanisms now in the 2020 Pary Constitution but were unavailable to the Region to address grievance procedures. The PPRC points out the flaw:
“One of their grounds of [the] petition is that the SLPPNA Executive did not constitute their Regional Elections Complaints Committee (RECC).”
The absence of the RECC deprived aggrieved Party members of SLPPNA of an authorized venue to channel electoral complaints thus, depriving them of their right to challenge such outcomes.
Aggrieved persons are advised to explore and exhaust all available conflict resolution processes within the Party before bringing it to the PPRC. For this reason, the PPRC has referred the SLPPNA matter to the Party national office for immediate and appropriate action.
These actions may include, but are not limited to, the Party leadership, “causing the SLPPNA Region to constitute its Electoral Complaints Committee and redirecting these petitions to the said Committee, to look into them speedily.”
Conclusively, the PPRC anticipates the cooperation of the SLPP national office to act on the SLPPNA grievance petitions promptly.
After the publication of the PPRC response to SLPPNA members in the USA, one is left wondering who is in charge of the Region?
It is also clear once a complaint has been filed against the elections, all elections are automatically on hold.
The speculation is members of the national executive – specifically, the National Secretary-General, Napoleon Koroma, are also involved in this matter.
After several months of communications between SLPP members in the USA and the Party’s national officials in Sierra Leone on the conduct of the SLPPNA elections, the PPRC is taking action to rectify the problems.
It is now evident there were several violations of rules and regulations governing the conduct of SLPP North America (SLPP NA) elections. Evidence of collaboration by a cross-section of national executives abound.
Regardless, the ongoing PPRC action with expectations from the majority of SLPPNA membership for a transparent resolution is ground for hope to bring the Region together again. As one SLPPNA observer, writing on regional matters notes ” to stress that peace, unity, and tranquility are prerequisites for Regional growth and cohesion for the ultimate goal of SLPP success at every level.”