Restructuring of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) is long overdue, considering it was created over sixteen years ago in 2005 when it became operable by an Act of Parliament, during the reorganization of the National Electoral Commission (NEC). At the time of its establishment very little was done to ensure that the Commission had an effective structure and systems. Although the initial Act No 3 of 2002 specified the structure and functions, it was the duty of the pioneers to have established robust systems and processes to facilitate the work of the Commission. The primary mandate of the Commission, namely, to “register and supervise the conduct of political parties in accordance with the established laws”, is a very significant issue for a country like Sierra Leone, with a fledgling democracy. The Commission seeks to re-position itself in order to be able to succeed in achieving this mandate.
The PPRC has embarked on a restructuring process, in order to improve service delivery. This management and functional review is part of the process to create an efficient and highly effective Commission in Sierra Leone. The review of the Political Parties Registration Commission focused primarily on management structures and systems, as well as an assessment of the human resource capacity. The Review team assessed the existing positions, organizational structure, activities undertaken, as well as the relationship between the Commission and other governance institutions such as the National Electoral Commission (NEC), National Commission for Democracy (NCD), Human Right Commission for Sierra Leone (HRCSL) to name but a few. One of the issues of concern that immediately came to light is the existing gaps of the statutory framework through which the Commission operates. There is an urgent need for the statutory instrument which relates to the registration and conduct of political parties to be reviewed and made effective.
Furthermore, PPRC as part of efforts to reposition itself and deliver effectively on its mandate needs to address the following issues identified: develop a comprehensive structure for both Headquarters and provincial offices, realigning its staffing nomenclature and functions to modified structure, recruit for its middle and senior cadres, and improve its financial management practices and Strategic Planning processes. The review further revealed poor conditions of service with an attendant low staff morale, lack of basic/essential equipment and accessories, especially in the regional offices, lack of mobility for regional offices and irregular/unreliable power supply.
The MFR process identified critical gaps in the Commission’s operations and its Management and Functional competence, unveils the findings and proffers recommendations that will be noted in subsequent sections. The most mentionable recommendation is the need for the Commission to establish and operationalize a new structure with additional Directorates that will enhance its ability to effectively and efficiently deliver services. The analysis revealed that though measured progressed has been made over the years, critical gaps persist due to resource constraints, which are undermining the Commission’s ability to deliver on its mandates. The Review Team recommends that the PPRC engages the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) and Ministry of Finance (MoF) on matters relating to modernisation and restructuring.
The MFR processes employed a mixed method including Key Informant Interviews (KIIs), Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) amongst others. Consistent with practice, the MFR process kicked off with an inception meeting with PPRC during which the two institutions discussed and agreed on the scope, road map, timelines and key focal person. As a core outcome of the review and deep-dive analysis done on the Commission’s management and functional competencies to deliver optimally on its mandate, the Review Team has identified the undermentioned as the most mentionable findings and recommendations.
Summary of Findings:
The 1991 Constitution and a number of laws provide the statutory framework and mandate for the Political Parties Registration Commission. Some provisions in these laws are obsolete and need revision particularly in view of recent changes in the political climate and the conducts of political parties in deepening democracy to make them relevant to the present day needs of the Commission and the country as a whole. The core mandate of the Commission does not overlap or conflict with any function of any other Ministry, Department, Agency or Commission. However, there is the need to strengthen the existing collaboration and coordination between the Commission and its relevant stakeholders to ensure a synergy. A number of critical functions which are beneficial to the work of the Commission are missing from the statutory instrument which provides the legal framework and mandate of the PPRC. Notably Policy Planning and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mediation among others. These functions are central to the operations of the Commission.