Sierra Leone: Political Parties Validate a Dispute Resolution Guide
The purpose of this gathering was to review and validate the Intra-Party Dispute Resolution Guide, developed by the Political Parties Regulation Commission (PPRC), with technical and financial support from the International IDEA’s EU-funded Sierra Leone Democracy Strengthening Programme.
The primary objective of the guide's development was to empower political parties with the necessary tools to prevent and resolve inter and intra-party disputes. Moreover, in instances where conflicts have already surfaced, the guide provides a step-by-step process for the resolution of disputes within political parties.
Speaking at the event, Dr Idrissa Mahmoud Tarawallie, International IDEA's Head of Country Programme for Sierra Leone, highlighted the country's democratic journey since 1996, acknowledging the inherent challenges faced by political parties as critical actors in the democratic space. Emphasizing the importance of acknowledging and actively addressing these challenges, he highlighted the pivotal role of institutions like the Political Parties Regulation Commission (PPRC) in supporting political parties. "The existence of institutions such as ours is dedicated to aiding bodies like the PPRC in effectively fulfilling their mandates", he said.
"Political parties are critical to the peace process of any country, and for me, you are the most important actors in democracy," stated Dr Tarawallie. He underscored International IDEA's commitment to promoting democracy and governance, emphasizing that the dispute resolution guide will substantially contribute to enhancing Sierra Leone's democratic processes.
Speaking on the timeliness of the guide, PPRC Chairman Abdulai Bangurah Esq. remarked: "As the chairman of the PPRC, one of the challenges I had is the issue of getting the APC and the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPPP) to the table. So, it is timely to get a guide on dispute resolution. A guide like this will help political parties resolve their matters internally."
Sidi Yaya Tunis, an All Peoples Congress Party (APC) representative, commended the PPRC and International IDEA for taking a significant step towards internal party dispute resolution. He emphasized the importance of responsible individuals within political parties, ensuring harmony and cohesiveness, aspects vital for the sustenance of democracy.
Reflecting on the two-day workshop, Desmond Pessima, Chairman of the SLPP, Northern America Region Chapter, expressed satisfaction with the productive discussions. He noted that while political parties presented diverse views, a consensus emerged on critical aspects guiding dispute resolution.
The event concluded with a focus on approaches to settling conflicts, defining processes, and recommending the establishment of dispute resolution committees at all levels. Discussions delved into committee composition, terms of reference, and tenure, among other essential elements. The culmination of this collaborative effort marks a significant stride towards fostering a more robust and harmonious political landscape in Sierra Leone.