Sierra Leone News: Citizens Bemoan Dormant Political Parties

By Stephen V. Lansana

Citizens across the country have decried opposition parties in the country that are not contributing meaningfully to national development.

Some of the political parties that contested the 2012 elections that have been accused of being dormant include, the Grand Alliance Party (GAP), Peace and Liberation Party (PLP), People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP), United National People’s Party (UNPP), Young People’s Party (YPP), and National Democratic Party (NDA).

Out of the 10 political parties that contested the 2012 election, only the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) Party that are actively contributing to issues of national interest. The Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), a newly formed party, has been vibrant in championing the interest of the masses.

Mr. Sallu Ngombulango, a political scientist, disclosed that most political parties that contested the 2012 elections are not participating in public discourse any longer. “It seems like they are dead,” he said. “Fuel price moves from Le3,750 to Le 6000 per litre; electricity bill tariff was increased with an introduction of 15 percent goods and services tax; and austerity measures were also introduced by the government, but majority of the political parties that contested the 2012 elections did not make any statement on any of these issues.”

He stated that opposition political parties are supposed to be the month piece of the people. “Currently, University of Sierra Leone has made an 100 percent increment in the price of university application form for applicants,” he said, adding that this is a serious concern that stakeholders, including opposition parties need to discuss.

Mr. Ngombulango alleged that most politicians registering their parties for the incentive which political parties are benefiting from during the electioneering process.

The political scientist explained that bye-elections in the country are not competitive because many of the parties that contested the general election hardly participate in bye-elections. “Had it not being for democracy, which makes room for plurality and gives equal opportunity to all and sundry, most of these dormant parties should not be allowed to contest the forthcoming elections,” said Ngombulango

Mr. Vandy Kanneh, a resident in Bo City, said a lot of things are unfolding in the country that need the critical views of all political parties, but none of these parties are contributing to the policy debate. He said that even the provincial offices of the dormant parties are hardly opened.

Mr. Kanneh added that majority of the political parties only become more visible and audible few months to elections. He praised PMDC for being vibrant in articulating issues of public interest in the country after the 2012 elections.

Ms. Mary S. Kamara, a resident in Freetown, explained that credible and purposeful political parties should champion the views of the masses, but this is not the case with most of the registered political parties in the country.

“Even in opposition, political parties should match government toe-to-toe, critiquing where necessary, and submitting policy alternatives to government. In viable democracies, political parties are called ‘a government in waiting’,” she said.

“It is no secret that many of these parties exist either in name, or maintain offices only in Freetown, the capital. Some do not even have offices, instead homes of executives serving as party offices,” she said.