By Amin Kef (Ranger)
In a significant step towards fostering sustainable peace and national cohesion, the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion (ICPNC) is set to conclude its 5-day Annual Staff and Stakeholders Retreat today, January 12, 2023. The retreat, held at the Galliness Paradise Hotel in Bo, featured active participation from forty-one individuals, including staff from across the country and members of the Board.
The retreat’s overarching theme, “Repositioning ICPNC-SL for sustainable Peace and National Cohesion,” underscores the commitment of the Commission to adapt and strengthen its efforts in promoting enduring peace and unity within the nation.
Funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receiving technical support from the Public Sector Reform Unit (PSRU), the retreat aimed to provide a platform for both staff and stakeholders to conduct a comprehensive review of the Commission’s activities over the past two years. The participants actively engaged in identifying challenges, formulating strategies to overcome them, and outlining an Annual Work Plan for the year 2024.
During the opening ceremony, Rev Shodankeh Johnson, Chairman of the Board, characterized the retreat as a crucial exercise to enhance the Commission’s effectiveness in promoting peace and national cohesion. He highlighted the significant strides made by the Commission, including mediated talks between the government and the All People’s Congress (APC) Party.
Chief Minister Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, delivering a keynote address via Zoom, expressed gratitude for the ICPNC’s pivotal role in facilitating dialogue between the Government of Sierra Leone and the APC.
He commended the Commission for achieving national unity through the Agreement for National Unity, emphasizing its enduring impact on future generations.
Dr. Sengeh acknowledged the ICPNC’s role as a moral guarantor and urged the Commission to prioritize this function in the coming year. He emphasized the importance of maintaining cohesion, particularly in light of recent events on November 26, 2023 underscoring the ICPNC’s responsibility in ensuring peace.
Sulaiman Phoray-Musa, Head of Programmes at the Public Sector Reform Unit, commended the ICPNC’s transformation and highlighted the alignment of the retreat’s theme with the government’s commitment to professionalism, accountability, and transparency in public service.
In his presentation, the Chairman of the ICPNC, Rev Shodankeh Johnson, discussed the importance of team building. He stressed the need for cohesiveness, strong foundations, and a supportive environment within teams for effective functioning.
The second day of the retreat focused on reviewing the 2022-2024 Strategic Plan, facilitated by the Public Sector Reform Unit. The aim was to align the Commission’s priorities with pressing national needs and evaluate internal organization structures and external communication systems. The review was preceded by the presentation of the Commission’s two-year report, outlining activities and challenges faced by various directorates.
The opening session was chaired by Executive Secretary Hawa Samai, with Deputy Executive Secretary Moses Margao moderating the presentations. The retreat continues with a strong emphasis on fostering sustainable peace and national cohesion in Sierra Leone.