By Amin Kef (Ranger)
The Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion (ICPNC) in a Press Release dated 21st June, 2023 and signed by,
Rev. Shodankeh Johnson, Board Chairman, has stated that it stands firm in its commitment to promoting a peaceful and harmonious democratic process in Sierra Leone further maintaining that with the upcoming elections scheduled for June 24th, 2023, the ICPNC strongly condemns all acts of violence and urges all citizens to maintain a peaceful atmosphere throughout the electoral period.
With regards the recent incidents of violence, the ICPNC said it is deeply concerned about particularly the burning of houses and party offices, which have taken place in various parts of the country.
It says such actions not only undermine the democratic process but also pose a threat to the stability and unity of Sierra Leone maintaining how it firmly denounces such acts and call upon all political parties, candidates, and citizens to reject violence and embrace dialogue as a means of resolving differences.
The ICPNC maintains that as an independent body entrusted with fostering national cohesion it recognizes the importance of free and fair elections as a cornerstone of democracy adding how it is imperative that all stakeholders, including political leaders, supporters, and the general public, abide by the principles of peaceful coexistence, respect for the rule of law, and the democratic values upon which Sierra Leone is built.
In that regard the peace brokering institution urges political parties and their supporters to engage in constructive and inclusive dialogue, focusing on policies, ideas, and solutions that will contribute to the overall development and progress of Sierra Leone and also call upon all political parties to prioritize the welfare and interests of the citizens over partisan ambitions.
It also appealed to the Sierra Leone Police and other relevant authorities to ensure the safety and security of all citizens during the election period encouraging them to carry out their duties with utmost professionalism, impartiality, and in accordance with the law.
The ICPNC says it believes that a peaceful and inclusive electoral process is essential for the future of Sierra Leone and said it stands ready to provide support, guidance, and mediation to facilitate peaceful dialogue and resolve any disputes that may arise during the elections.
The Commission ended by calling upon all Sierra Leoneans to embrace the spirit of unity, tolerance, respect for diversity and to work together to ensure a peaceful, transparent, and credible electoral process that will strengthen the democratic foundations of the nation and contribute to the continued progress and prosperity of Sierra Leone.