CSOs Call for Openness and Inclusiveness in Governance

Position on threat to Peace…

By Foday Moriba Conteh

During a well-attended one-day National CSOs Consultation Meeting held on Thursday 29th June, 2023 at the Freetown City Auditorium on Wallace Johnson Street in Freetown organized by the Center for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL-SL), the Campaign for Human Rights and Development International-CHRDI and the Institute of Governance Reform (IGR) and other civil society organizations, a consortium of Civil Society Organisations in Sierra Leone urged members of the public to remain calm and called for openness and inclusiveness in governance as they work with various actors to address certain challenges which they believe could threaten the peace and stability of the nation.

Reading the press statement on behalf of the consortium, to members of the press, the Chairperson for Civil Society Organization Eastern Region, Augustine Sannoh,  said following the announcement of the June 24th, 2023, Presidential election results and rejection of same by the main opposition All People’s Congress, they as Civil Society Organizations drawn from districts across Sierra Leone met to discuss the implications of the current situation for peace and stability of which CSOs presented eight major challenges facing the country and urged state institutions, political parties, and development partners to work cooperatively and address them.

He continued by saying that the issues highlighted include misuse of social media by political actors and their surrogates through which hate and inciting messages are disseminated, including making calls for illegal demonstrations which they underscored constitutes a big threat to stability adding that the fear that resources may not be fairly distributed by the incoming Government continues to fuel election denial, hate, and suspicion.

The consortium noted that Sierra Leone has become increasingly polarized over state resources, denial of election results by political parties, even where there is limited, or no evidence of widespread election fraud creating the wrong impression to supporters about elections outcome and contributes to division and instability in the post-election context.

It also disclosed intolerance among party supporters in households, offices, and communities stating how such is contributing to widespread safety and security concerns, unhealthy confrontation and community instability and disputes, complaints and concerns by political parties of unfairness and non- independence of democratic institutions, especially the police.

According to them, those complaints continue to deepen the atmosphere of suspicion before, during and after election, delays by the ECSL in responding to opposition demands for transparency in the electoral process contributing to deepening mistrust and chaos in the electoral process and results, insightful utterances by political leaders promoting hate and division among citizens etc.

These CSOs concluded by urging members of the public to remain calm and called for openness and inclusiveness in governance as they work with various actors to address those challenges.



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