SLAJ iVerify has found that Epic Radio’s claim that PPRC has banned rallies is inaccurate. According to the PPRC, they have not banned political party rallies for the upcoming general elections.
Epic Radio: “PPRC bans political party rallies. Is this action necessary”
The SLAJ iVerify has found out that Epic Radio’s claim: “”PPRC bans political party rallies. Is this action necessary”? Is inaccurate.
The PPRC Outreach Officer, Eugene Momoh, said they have not banned political party rallies for the upcoming general elections in June 2023.
Eugene explained that during a meeting with the 17 political parties, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the Sierra Leone Police at the PPRC Headquarters on March 27, 2023, they reached a consensus that political parties’ supporters would not hold street rallies to prevent public disturbances or violence. Instead, they will hold such rallies at designated venues, which will be communicated in due course.
It has been confirmed that other registered political parties, including NCG, ADP, and the ruling SLPP, have supported the PPRC’s decision and have agreed not to hold any street rallies, except for the main opposition party, APC, which has expressed its disagreement on the matter.
George Mustapha, the Deputy Director of the Society for Democratic Initiative, have argued that the PPRC’s ban on street rallies violates the right to freedom of assembly and association of political parties’ members.
However, the PPRC has denied breaching the 1991 constitutional provision and has stated that they are trying to prevent violence and potential threats to the peace and security of the state.
Further fact checks reveal that the Public Elections Act 2022 prohibits political parties and their supporters from tolerating any kind of violent activity.
Additionally, the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone mandates that the internal organization of a political party should conform to democratic principles, and its aims, objectives, purposes, and programs should not contravene or be inconsistent with any provisions of the constitution.
Section 26 (2a) (i) and (ii) of the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone direct that nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes provision that is reasonably required “in the interests of defense, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, or provision for the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community; or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedoms of other persons.”
Furthermore, section 35(2) states that “The internal organisation of a political party shall conform to democratic principles, and its aims, objectives, purposes and programmes shall not contravene, or be inconsistent with, any provisions of this Constitution.”
Therefore, while Epic Radio’s claim is found to be misleading, it has been verified that the PPRC has not breached any established state regulations. The proposal to ban street rallies was a consensus between the PPRC and political parties, with plans for further engagement on the mode of holding political rallies.
The Public Elections Act, 2022
The Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991