Assessing SLPP’s Progress in Strengthening Democratic Institutions
By the Sierra Leone Live Team
In the 2018 SLPP Manifesto, Part IV focuses on “Improving Governance – Strengthening Democratic Institutions.” As we approach the June 24, 2023 elections, Sierra Leone Live will investigate whether the SLPP has achieved its aims as set forth in its manifesto.
The manifesto acknowledges that at the end of the Civil War, the SLPP established several democratic institutions, including the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), the Political Party Registration Commission (PPRC), the National Electoral Commission (NEC), the Independent Media Commission (IMC), and the National Commission for Democracy (NCD). However, it notes that these institutions have been weakened due to government interference and patronage.
The challenges faced by these institutions include a lack of competent human capital, politicization that undermines their operational focus and independence, and the failure to create new vital national institutions to support the deepening of Sierra Leone’s democratic culture. For instance, the Independent Media Commission and the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) have been criticized for failing to fulfil their mandates as neutral and objective entities, resulting in a loss of public trust and confidence.
To address these issues, the SLPP outlined a “New Direction” in its manifesto, which includes the following specific actions:
- Review laws and policies guiding the functioning of democratic institutions to restore their autonomy and independence.
- Increase the role of non-state actors in the management of democratic institutions.
- Enhance the transparency of the operations of democratic institutions.
- Develop the capacities of democratic institutions through adequate funding, qualified and competent human resources, and efficient and effective systems and procedures.
- Support the budgetary needs of democratic institutions without seeking to control their operations.
In the coming weeks, Sierra Leone Live will investigate the SLPP’s progress in implementing these measures, providing a comprehensive assessment of the party’s achievements and shortcomings in strengthening democratic institutions. This evaluation will cover:
- Reforms and policy changes implemented to restore the autonomy and independence of democratic institutions.
- The extent of non-state actor involvement in managing democratic institutions and the impact of this involvement.
- Transparency improvements in the operations of democratic institutions, and the resulting increase in public trust and confidence.
- Capacity building efforts, including funding, human resources, and procedural enhancements in democratic institutions.
- Changes in the financial support provided to democratic institutions without compromising their autonomy.
By examining these areas, Sierra Leone Live aims to offer an unbiased and in-depth analysis of the SLPP’s performance in improving governance and strengthening democratic institutions. This investigation will provide valuable insights for the electorate, enabling them to make informed decisions at the ballot box on June 24, 2023.
As Sierra Leone continues to navigate the complexities of democracy, the success of the SLPP in reinforcing these institutions will play a critical role in shaping the nation’s political landscape and fostering a more inclusive, transparent, and accountable governance system.