To Consolidate Peace and National Cohesion…  SLPP Leadership & Opposition Parties Must Engage in Meaningful Dialogue

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By Foday Moriba Conteh

Peace is very key towards the development of any nation. In Sierra Leone as a nation it is no secret that there have been political tensions among our politicians in the country which many have described as not good for the development of the nation and in winning soon the fight against Covid-19.

It against such a backdrop that I want to urge President Bio, his administration and  the SLPP leadership to engage in meaningful dialogue with the opposition parties especially the leadership of the Main Opposition  All Peoples Congress (APC) Party,  in order to consolidate peace and enhance national cohesion in our beloved nation.

 It could be recalled that on Friday 13th September, 2019 His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio and the leadership of the All People’s Congress party signed a Joint Communiqué in order to consolidate peace and enhance national cohesion in the country.

The signing of the Joint Communiqué came after President Bio met with the leadership of the All People’s Congress (APC) party including the Chairman and Leader of the party, former President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House on the 12th September, 2019 during which they deliberated on issues relating to peace, good governance, national cohesion, the rule of law, human rights, the economy and State Security.

During their meeting they both agreed that democratic institutions, including the Judiciary, National Electoral Commission, the Police, Anti-Corruption Commission and the Political Parties’ Registration Commission should assist in promoting peace, stability and democracy by dealing with all parties fairly and transparently. They also recognized that because Parliament is the foundation of our democracy, all stakeholders should revisit grey areas in its standing orders procedures.

They further agreed that further dialogue and engagements should continue as they build trust and deepen mutual confidence between the Government and the opposition parties. They agreed to resume and refocus the work of the Post-Election Cross-Party Committee on sustaining heightened engagements and resolving the triggers of conflict.

Regrettably, it is now over nine (9) months since both parties signed that joint communiqué but we are yet to see the sincere implementation of the communiqué. On the contrary, things are getting worse every day creating the tendency to destabilize the progress so far made by our beloved nation and also undermine the fight against Covid-19.

After the recent unfortunate incident at the Pademba Road Maximum Security Male Correctional Centre we saw press releases coming from both parties casting blame on each other and making negative and inciting statements that are not in the best interest of promoting peace and stability in the country. I believe at a moment like this what should be our priority is how to join hands together in order to defeat the global pandemic that is ravaging our nation.

In that regard I want to plead to His Excellency President Maada Bio and the leadership of the All People’s Congress (APC) party including the Chainman and Leader of the party, former President Ernest Bai Koroma and their followers to stop the attacks on each other for peace and stability to hold.

I will also want to use this opportunity to call on Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora to stop spreading inciting and hate messages but rather preach peace among Sierra Leoneans because as the saying goes “United we stand divided we fall”.

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