July 25, 2017
Former Chief of Staff, Office of National Security (ONS) and Principal Founder, Campaign for National Unity (CNU), Dr. Jonathan PJ Sandy, popularly known as JPJ, has cautiously welcomed the 2017 Global Peace Index report released recently which ranked Sierra Leone in first position, as the most peaceful country in West Africa and third in the African continent.
Dr. Sandy who was speaking as one of two guests on AYV TV’s late evening “Sunday Show”, 23rd July, 2017, centered on the question of whether Sierra Leone would have a peaceful elections next year, banking on the Global Peace Index report.
He observed that going by the report itself, the elections might be successfully held, but expressed fears that the youth might be prone to manipulation by selfish politicians or individuals.
Issues such as poverty, unemployed youth and their ties to cliques and gangs are challenges which he said must not be overlooked.
The seasoned security expert who is presently on international consultancy for the United Nations in the Lake Chad basin comprising Niger, Cameroun, Nigeria and Chad, said there should be public trust in the country’s security system, especially those forces that will be entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the entire electoral process.
Dr. Sandy noted that economic issues like diversifying the economy, high productivity, job and wealth creation, realistic consumer price indices are what the electorate would looking at, going into the polls, and which they will expect any emerging government to address.
Presidential Spokesman, Abdulai Bayraytay as the other guest on the programme hosted by Dwight Neale, said the favourable Global Peace rating of Sierra Leone would serve as an impetus for the country to do more.
Sierra Leone, he affirmed, has been exporting peace to other countries through peace keeping missions by the security forces and that large scale foreign investments over the years, was indicative that the country remain “one hundred percent safe”.
Mr. Bayraytay said credence should be given to President Ernest Bai Koroma for supporting the creation of the Legal Aid Board and that as a nation, contentious issues in the past, have been resolved peacefully.
He acknowledged that challenges are there, but that the country is prepared for the elections and expressed optimism that contentious issues would be overcome peacefully, as he believed; Sierra Leoneans are “resilient people”.
CNU Media and Communications Unit