SLPP and APC Unite Against Hate Speech, Call for Peace and Unity

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By Amin Kef (Ranger)

In a rare show of unity, Sierra Leone’s two major political parties, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the All People’s Congress (APC) on Monday June 3, 2024, jointly condemned the rise in hate speech and called for peace and unity in the nation.

The call for unity was formalized in a statement signed by Umaru Napoleon Koroma, National Secretary of the SLPP and Lansana Dumbuya, National Secretary General of the APC. That announcement underscores both parties’ commitment to the Agreement for National Unity, an initiative aimed at fostering a more collaborative and respectful political environment.

Key Points of the Agreement for National Unity:

-Peaceful Resolution of Political Differences: Both parties emphasize resolving conflicts without resorting to hostility.
-Strengthening Democratic Institutions: A collective effort to bolster the structures that support democracy in Sierra Leone.
-Regular Cross-Party Dialogue: Resuming consistent and constructive conversations between the parties.
-National Unity: Bridging divides and promoting cohesion among all Sierra Leoneans.
-Commitment to Responsible Free Speech

The SLPP and APC reaffirmed their dedication to free speech and a free press, noting that those rights come with the responsibility to avoid inciting violence or spreading hatred. They assert that:

– Free speech should not be a tool for inciting violence.
– Individuals should not face disparagement based on ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, or political affiliation.
– Hatred against any ethnic or religious group must be condemned.
– Denouncing Hate Speech

The parties expressed deep concern over recent instances of hate speech by some political commentators within Sierra Leone and its diaspora. They called on all Sierra Leoneans to reject such rhetoric, emphasizing that it has no place in the nation’s political discourse.

The SLPP and APC support the investigation and prosecution of those who incite violence, while ensuring that such actions adhere to legal and human rights standards. Protecting the rights of all members and supporters during these proceedings is paramount.

The joint statement also called on international partners to support Sierra Leone’s efforts to ensure justice is served fairly and thoroughly, stressing the importance of maintaining a just and peaceful society.

With the Electoral Review Committee’s final report deadline approaching, both parties anticipate intensified political dialogue. They urged all Sierra Leoneans to engage respectfully, avoiding personal attacks and threats of violence.

“Hate speech has no place in our country, and those who spread it have no place in our political parties,” the statement declared.

Both the SLPP and APC are committed to ongoing efforts to monitor and address hate speech and violence. They will collaborate with civil society organizations and international partners to maintain a safe and respectful political environment.

In closing, the SLPP and APC reaffirmed their dedication to building a peaceful and respectful Sierra Leone. “Together, let us create a future where political discourse is conducted with respect and our democratic values are upheld,” they urged.

This unprecedented joint effort marks a significant step towards fostering a more harmonious political climate in Sierra Leone.


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