By Alagie Manneh
The Independent Electoral Commission has said it will engage the ruling NPP and other political parties that have so far failed to hold congress to do so.
The electoral law requires parties to hold a congress at least every two years. However, since its formation more than two years ago, the NPP has failed to organise any.
This has led to calls for the IEC to take action by deregistering parties like the NPP, but the IEC’s director of communications said that would be the last option.
“If they don’t hold a congress, we try to engage them, making sure that they comply,” Pa Makan Khan told The Standard yesterday. “[It is] not only the NPP; it’s all the political parties. You don’t just jump and deregister a political party. Normally, we engage them to ensure they comply. That is why we are sending a reminder to all the political parties that those who are due for congress let them hold a congress.
He added: “You know, there’s one thing we have to know; deregistering I think, it’s the last measure. We cannot just deregister a political party like that, having known all the difficulties they have gone through to build their political parties. That is why we try to engage them to make sure they comply. This time around we hope they will all do their congress accordingly, NPP or any other party.”
Mr Khan said the issue regarding congress is only one of the many electoral law requirements.
“They should also submit their budget accounts. The congress is only one aspect of it. Even their executives should all be within the country. Of course, we know some of the parties are not fully complying. That is why we try to remind them to comply with the law,” he said.
He said there is no specific deadline as far as the IEC is concerned regarding the holding of a congress. “The parties, they all know, like if you hold your congress last year, this year you don’t have to go for congress, you have to go next year. So, it depends on the various parties as and when they did their last congress.”