Following our previous publications in which we posed several questions to the leadership aspirants of SLPP Germany Chapter, the current executive led by cardiologist Dr. Musa Ben Sannoh has so far refused to speak directly to Critique Echo. What we can now confirm to our readers however, is the fact that most of our questions are being strenuously answered indirectly. Even though the answers are not sent directly to Critique Echo, but I wish to take this moment to congratulate and thank Dr. Musa Ben Sannoh and his executive for publishing a proposed agenda of the upcoming meeting in Frankfurt Am Main, constitution and registration certificate of SLPP Germany Branch e.V. Critique Echo never needed those information in order to furnish its own premises, but to keep the current and future members of SLPP Germany Chapter out of information darkness.
Meanwhile, for the interest of those who might not read and properly understand German texts, let me roughly translate some important parts of the attached constitution:
§1. Name, address and description
- Name of the organization: Sierra Leone Peoples Party, Germany Branch e.V. shortly called SLPP Germany Branch
- Slogan: One Country, One People.
- Logo: A green coloured palm tree with white back ground and the abbreviation of SLPP
- Address: the organization is resident in Dortmund and could be relocated to other parts of Germany
- Aims and objectives: the organization exclusively pursues humanitarian and charitable purposes in the sense of the law of taxation.
§2. The organization works selflessly; it does not pursue any self-enrichment goal
§3. The organizations finances shouldn’t be used for any other purpose rather than those spelt out in the constitution.
§4. Members of the organization are not allowed to receive any payment from its funds.
§5. Objective of the organizations is the nonviolent support and funding of the parent body, Sierra Leone People Party (SLPP) in Sierra Leone, West Africa, as well as funding and supporting the development of Sierra Leone through national cohesion and unity.
- Membership of the organization is open to every human being who supports its goals
- Application for membership shall be addressed to the Secretary and acceptance shall be decided by the board.
- Resignation is allowed at any time after a written explanation to the board
- A member who acts against the goal and interest of the organization can be expelled. The expulsion shall be decided by the general assembly.
§7. Finances and Calendar Year
- The organization funds itself from the following sources:
- Membership contribution
- Project funds from public institutions
- Other funding possibilities
- The calendar year begins from June and ends in May of the following year
- 8/9/10. Long texts that are not relevant to this piece
§11. The executive
1. The executive shall comprise the following:
- Vice chairman
- Assistant Secretary
- Social Secretary
- Representative of the Advisory committee
- Public Relations Officer
- The executive shall be elected by the general assembly for a period of three years. Reelection of executive for more than two times is allowed.
13/14. Long text that are not relevant to this piece
The general assembly shall select two non-executive members every year to serve as Auditors. Their responsibility is to audit the authenticity and correctness of the yearly financial records and submit their findings to the general assembly.
We at Critique Echo believe that the first principle of a free society is an untrammelled follow of words in an open forum. We don’t believe in ethnicity, favouritism or self-enrichment. We stand for the truth because we know that nothing can accelerate the development drive of Sierra Leone but true and honest leadership.
We therefore feel obliged to make the following point clear for everyone before going to Frankfurt Am Main on November 7:
The registration in Dortmund
Don’t be doubtful about SLPP Germany e.V. and SLPP Germany chapter. It’s the same organization. According to the constitution published herein, Dr. Ben Sannoh didn’t initiate any registration or transformation of SLPP Germany Chapter into another organization as it’s being speculated by some concerned members. The decision to name SLPP Germany chapter after SLPP Germany Branch e.V. was initiated in August 1998, perhaps that was the first time they decided to formally register SLPP in Germany. Dr. Sannoh may have been member of the initiation committee but he was not the leader at that time.
According to the registration certificate issued by the Administrative Court in Dortmund, Mr. Ibrahim Sheriff was the Chairman at the time of registration. Exact date is not stated.
According to organizational law, therefore, Ibrahim Sheriff remained Chairman of SLPP Germany Branch e.V. till 13.11.2014, because subsequent executives were never submitted to the court. As far as the German government concerned, Ibrahim Sheriff and his executive were in charged, whether re-elected or not.
What is attention-grabbing however, is the fact that SLPP Germany Branch e.V. is sandwiched between politics and charity. The constitution was formulated in such a way that it could support both SLPP and other development initiatives in Sierra Leone. Even though this is approved by the Administrative court, but the Finance Department (Finanzamt) can hardly grant charitable (Gemeinützigkeit) status in this case. Because the organization has a political motive.
The new registration and membership fees
We can categorically state her that the fees mentioned in the agenda above is illegal. Dr. Sannoh and his executives do not have the constitutional right to request registration fees plus 60 Euro membership fees from anyone, because the constitution did not stipulate that.
According to article (§6) of the constitution (see above), membership of SLPP Germany Branch e.V. is open to every human being with legal entity, including even European and Arabs. The constitution did not mention any membership fees.
However, customarily law (Gewohnheitsrecht) can be considered in this case. For example, if Mr. X and Y were fined the sum of Le 1000 each for beating their wives, the community should accept the sum of Le 1000 as fine for whosoever beats his wife in future.
Therefore, if existing members of SLPP Germany Branch e.V. paid €20.00 membership application fees and €5.00 monthly contribution in the past, these amounts should be paid by every new member before endorsement, because it has become a law even though unwritten in the constitution. Except otherwise there is enough evidence to prove that new members have been paying backlogs in the past, the whopping sum of €60.00 mentioned in the agenda which was only adopted by few people during a telephone conversation few weeks ahead of executive elections, is unconstitutional and should be treated as such.
In addition to the above, even if Dr. Sannoh and his executives were basing this amount on the SLPP Germany Branch’s yearly calendar, they have no legitimate aground to request the sum of €60.00. Because according to the constitution, the organization’s business calendar begins from June to May of the following year (see §7 above). So technically, Dr. Sannoh and his executives are requesting backlog payments from new members for the 3rd and 4th quarters of the year 2015 and advance payment for 1st and 2nd quarters of the year 2016. Where is the logic here?
According to article §15 of the constitution, the financial report should be audited by two independent (nonexecutive) members every year. One would like to know when last was the SLPP Germany Branch’s account audited and by whom? This audit report could tell new members how many old members have been paying backlogs or in advance.
It must be noted that documents available in Critique Echo’s possession dated back in early 2000 shows that certain members have been using the chapter’s finances unconstitutionally even though article §3 of the constitution says: “the organizations finances shouldn’t be used for any other purpose rather than those spelt out in the constitution”.
The irony of democracy
Are Dr. Sannoh and his executive aware of the fact that the teleconference, during which November 7th was stipulated for executive elections, was a mere vote of non-confidence in their leadership?
The cardiologist described himself in his declaration letter as a “democratic” leader. But ironically, he is vying for a third term leadership simply because the constitution didn’t prohibit that. When I see the SLPP leadership in Sierra Leone vociferously campaigning against what they called a purported third term bid of President Koroma, I ask myself: where is the difference between Dr. Sannoh and President Koroma?
Many people believe that the ongoing constitutional amendment in Sierra Leone was instituted in bid to grant President Koroma a third term right. Similarly, Dr. Sannoh and his executives have planned to amend SLPP Germany’s constitution on election date. Why? The cardiologist has stipulated a whopping sum of €80.00 for new members before participating in an election that does not seem to be in his favour and he is proposing again constitutional amendment on the same day? Why he never thought it necessary to amend the constitution throughout his leadership?
The amendment proposal, if accepted, might enable the current executive to create compensatory positions for their own supporters. And the €80.00 membership fees is requested in order to disenfranchise as many people as possible, hence to retain power. We there view the entire plans as a vote-rigging drive.
Warning to new members
We encourage those who are enthusiastic to join SLPP Germany chapter to do so without any hesitation. Please don’t be afraid of going to Frankfurt because of the €80.00 fees. As already discussed above, Dr. Sannoh and his executives are not allowed to compel that money on you.
However, if you have been invited by one of the leadership aspirants to go vote for him at once and that you have no intention to remain member of SLPP Germany chapter after the election, please don’t go to Frankfurt. Because your participation would be unpatriotic and undemocratic. The SLPP as an opposition party is currently riddled of personality grudges and intraparty abhorrence. Please don’t go and contribute to the same in Germany