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As part of the National Commission for Democracy (NCD) efforts are being made ahead of November 17th to ensure violence free elections, the Commissioner-East, Alhaji Sheku Kamara has appealed to the people in the Eastern Region to be law abiding and tolerant with one another during the course of politicking so that the conduct of elections shall be peaceful, transparent, free from all forms of intimidation, violence and be credible.
In his usual radio discussions with the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), Kenema, City Radio (103.3 FM) and Eastern Radio (101.9 FM) respectively in Kenema, Commissioner Kamara sensitized his audience on the need to accept one another in the spirit of peace, unity, democracy and good governance for Sierra Leone. He highlighted that politics is not about war, violence or intimidation but described it as an exercise conferred on citizens to participate in governance to ensure that power, authority and legitimacy referred is given to a group of people to man the affairs of state.
Commissioner Kamara maintained that through participation in governance both government and the citizens become conscious of their mutual responsibilities adding that people participate in governance to monitor and provide checks and balances on the activities of government so that government does not abuse or misuse the power and authority delegated to it. Alhaji Sheku Kamara underscored coating the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone which states that sovereignty belongs to the people of Sierra Leone from whom government through the constitution derives all its powers, authority and legitimacy.
Mr. Mohamed Sheshu Sheriff, Research & Monitoring Officer-East, in his address explained that political tolerance is an act of forbearance, acceptance, patience and demonstration of understanding by a person or group of persons to another in the quest for power or authority position. He stated that even though Sierra Leone has people with different socio-economic, political and cultural backgrounds, but that all these should not be considered most but Sierra Leone as a nation. Sierra Leoneans he went on should note that they have certain things that will bind them together, give them the same identity and make them feel belonging as a nation. These he dilated include the Coat of Arms, the National flag, the National Anthem, and many other symbols of identity. In the animal kingdom for instance, domestic animals live together in peace and harmony, so why do we as humans treat each other with aggression? The Research and Monitoring Officer stated that patriotism and nationalism are the most important culture and traditions that are paramount and that aggression and intolerance breeds violence, hence leading to instability of a nation.
For his part, Mr. Momoh Bockarie the Programme Officer-East, described violence as any action, behavior or attitude that causes physical, psychological, social or environmental damage that prevents people from reaching their full potential. Speaking on the forms of violence, the Programme Officer noted that there are several forms of violence ranging from domestic, physical, cultural, psychological and structural violence. These he underscored can be visible and invisible. He said visible takes the form of beating, burning, destruction of property, killing, intimidating to name but a few. Invisible violence on the other hand also includes hatred, grudge, provocation, threat of use of force, etc.
Mr. Augustine Sannoh a Civil Society activist encouraged citizens in the Eastern region to be patriotic, and inculcate the virtues of tolerance, nationalism and Patriotism which are the hallmarks of democratic good governance.
Mr. Aruna Sengbe Feika, one of the moderators of the civic education campaign at SLBC Kenema called on the youths to be leaders of tomorrow and disengage themselves from all forms of violence ahead of the November elections. He said, gone are the days when politicians will come around to use, abuse, and misuse their potential for political gains.
Mr. Alex T. Benia a journalist working for City Radio in Kenema emphasized on the need for Sierra Leoneans to embrace themselves and be tolerant with one another in the spirit of democratic good governance, unity, and sustainable peace in Sierra Leone.
As a Commission responsible for providing Civic Education to the Citizens, through awareness raising on the tenets of democracy, and good governance, the National Commission for Democracy (NCD) is of the firm conviction that the elections shall be conducted without political violence as happened in Ghana, South Africa, and neighboring Liberia as opposed to Ivory Coast, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Guinea amongst others.
Commissioner Alhaji Kamara appealed to all Sierra Leoneans to maintain peace, unity, tolerance, love for one another, and to be law abiding in order to achieve sustainable peace and development, hence promoting good governance.
By Mohamed Koroma (Public Education Officer-East)
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