United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Dr Babatunde Ahonsi has called on political youth leaders and their entire party structures to put aside their political differences and put the country first ahead of the elections.
Delivering the keynote remarks yesterday at the start of a three-day training on negotiation and consensus building for political youth leaders at the Sierra Bay Hotel in Freetown, the UN Chief said that political deadlocks and violent conflicts hamper peace and stability.
He added that these undermine development and social cohesion and, frequently, cause unnecessary suffering among people.
Dr. Ahonsi therefore said that promoting dialogue between different political parties and social groups, particularly youth and women, is a central ingredient of democracy and conflict prevention.
“As young political leaders, we would like to encourage you to make use of the new skills and knowledge acquired during this training and work together, across party, ethnic, and regional lines, for the interest of the nation,” he emphasised.
Furthermore, the Resident Coordinator encouraged the youth leaders, as political leaders, to foster an environment for women and youth to participate peacefully and safely in the upcoming elections either as activists, candidates, or voters.
He said the UN in Sierra Leone welcomes any initiative which reinforces the message of peace and tolerance and helps to sustain a non-violent environment.
Earlier, the Political Parties Registration Commission’s Executive Secretary, Mr Olushogo David David called on the political youth leaders to be vehicles for conveying messages of peace during the elections process.
The three-day training organized by UNDP and the PPRC with representation from all the major political parties in the country aims at strengthening the negotiation and consensus building skills of the youth leaders.