By Yusufu S. Bangura
Few days to elections, the Equals Sierra Leone in collaboration with General’s Entity has yesterday organized a symposium on election sensitization for youth from various universities within Freetown.
The one day symposium took place at Peace Museum, Special Court in Freetown on the topic: ‘Promoting a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence in Elections is Crucial for the Stability and Progress of any Society’.
In his keynote address, the President for Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, stated that peaceful elections are fundamental aspect of vibrant democracy.
He added that violent elections can lead to social unrest, political instability, and even armed conflicts. He highlighted instances from history where election related violence resulted in long-lasting divisions and hindered progress, noting that promoting non-violence during elections is a proactive measure to prevent conflicts and protect the well-being of citizens.
He went on to state that peaceful elections encourage all citizens, including marginalized groups to participate in the democratic process.
He concluded by admonishing political leaders to commit to peaceful elections and refrain from engaging in or inciting violence. He added that the responsibility of election management bodies and law enforcement agencies is to ensure a safe and secure electoral environment.
Commander Beresford R. Thompson, Joint Operations Command, Equals SL, applauded all Sierra Leoneans for adhering to peace and tranquility in the nation.
He added that Equals Club Sierra Leone which happens to be the biggest social institution in the country has always been a centre of attraction when it comes to fostering peace and ensuring that we enjoy a long lasting democracy.
“One will want to wonder with my earlier statement but there’s no institution that preaches peace and development in our nation that you won’t find an Equalites, therefore I am authoritatively stating here that the Equals Salone/Generals family remains committed to supporting the Organs of state in ensuring that our hard won peace is sustained and that the country and its people continue to progress and thrive”, he explained.
He went on to state that the objective of this symposium is to contribute to the creation of a peaceful electoral environment in the four corners of Sierra Leone during the upcoming elections. Seizing the opportunity of the symposium, the Equals Salone reaffirms its support to local authorities’ efforts to bring peace among communities.
“Moreover, I am particularly talking about young people because they are the ones who paid the heavy price during the recent chaos in some parts of the country. They are easily manipulated not only because of their geographical position but also because of their evident lack of peace, culture, awareness, and employment.
Commander Thomspon said youths must agree to promote non-violence and live together peacefully and they must agree to educate themselves through training and awareness-raising sessions, to practice non-violence, and to accept the results of the forthcoming election.
“Sierra Leoneans and fellow Equalites/Generals members we have a right to maintain peace and tranquility at all times if we want our nation to enjoy sustainable growth and development and it’s our responsibility to ensure that we put the interest of our country first in all circumstances because we only have one Sierra Leone. May God see us through a peaceful election come June 24, 2023,” he concluded.