By Amin Kef Sesay
More than any other time, what Sierra Leone needs desperately to move from a divisive political past that dates back to just after the Lancaster House meeting in London that gave Mama Salone independence in 1961 and the formation of the All People’s Congress is for tolerance, mutual understanding and genuine political dialogue to exist on a sustainable and durable basis between the country’s two political giants – SLPP and APC.
In an attempt to serve as a bridge between these two political juggernauts, whose intolerance and belligerence towards each other has held the country’s development hostage since the 1960s, the leader of the National Grand Coalition Hon. Kandeh Yumkella in an end of Ramadan message called for President Bio to eat the humble pie and invite the APC Chairman and Leader, former President Koroma, who whatever we say commands a formidable national political constituency to dialogue that will eventually pave the way to peace and national reconciliation.
Significantly and notably, Hon. KKY in his message prayed that the Almighty answer our sacrifices and prayers and grant us the courage and fortitude to rise above our frailties and put Salone Fos and that the Day Eid ul Fitr will bring peace and goodwill onto all on Earth and protect our families and loved ones.
Allow me to share with you, he said, a short prayer I recited some nights during this holy month of Ramadan. It is a supplication of Prophet Musa (Prophet Moses) Alaihi Salam which says: “Rabbi shrah lii sadri, wa yassir lii amrii wahlul updatam mil-lisaanii yafgahuu qawlii” which he said the Sierra Leone National Da’awa Committee has translated as follows: “O my Lord, open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness). Ease my task for me and loose the knot (the defect from tongue that they understand my speech (20:25,28).”
The NGC Leader said he chose this supplication because he worries that they politicians are not bold enough to speak out for justice and peace and have chosen a path of silence in the face of the onslaught of fringe and radical groups calling for tit-for-tat, and strong arm tactics to settle complex societal problems rather than statesmanship, reconciliation, and accommodation.
He prayed that the Almighty grants us the courage to stand for what is right even when it concerns people or groups who have gravely wronged us in the past, noting that, as Nelson Mandela once said “reconciliation does not mean forgetting or trying to bury the pain of conflict. Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice.”
I want to use this occasion of Eid Mubarak, Hon. KKY said, to make a clarion call on the Leadership of all Political Parties and Civil Society Organizations in the country to join the NGC in a sustained effort to bring about peace and stability in our country by de-escalating the ongoing tensions and promoting rapprochement and Reconciliation in the coming weeks so that we, as a united nation, can work together to defeat COVID-19 and save the lives of people.
It is on that basis that at the end of his message the NGC leader said: “Mr. President should also heed the call by civil society groups and myself for an invitation to His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma to join the COVID-19 fight.”