By Alhaji Haruna Sani
With funding from the European Union, the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), National Commission for Democracy (NCD) and the National Council for Civic Education and Democracy (NaCCED) have engaged stakeholders on a dialogue on proportional representation system, peace and reconciliation.
The event was held on June 19th at the New Brookfields Hotel on the theme ‘Understanding the Proportional Representation System for Peaceful Elections.
In his opening statement, the Head of Programe, IDEA, Dr. Idrissa Tarawallie said it was but very timely to have such a dialogue organized by NCD and NaCCED at a time when tensions are heightened.
He said democracy is not just about elections but also about other national and civic responsibilities as preached by NaCCED and NCD.
Dr. Tarawallie said democracy is also about disagreement and argument as long as it does not involve violence and citizens speak on the same grounds at the national level. “Democracy has to be nurtured, like crop, when planted, it must be weeded, irrigated and pruned,” he said.
On behalf NCD Chairperson, Benjamin Macfoy emphasized on the importance of such engagement on peaceful elections and PR System especially at a time when a lot of people are challenged with the new system.
Chairperson, ICPNC, Hawa Samai said the commission has been doing a lot in terms of promoting peace and national cohesion. She said the commission has deployed over 25 peace monitors in every district, established a national peace situation room, engaged parliamentarians, youth groups, CSOs, paramount chiefs and the media on national cohesion, especially during this electioneering process.
Kalilu Totangi, Chairman NaCCED said his institution has been working with youth at risk (clique), disclosing that according to a researched they conducted neighbors are the largest source of income.
He concluded that NaCCED had conducted sentitization by creating animation on the PR system to avoid void votes.
Chairman Political Parties Regulation Commission (PPRC) said peace is not about any particular person or institution, it is about everyone and the peace has to come from within.
He said the PPRC have been engaging political parties to ensure peace because peace has no alternative. He said the newly instituted a commendable because the 2023 elections campaign is largely peaceful as compare to others.
Representatives from the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone, Office of the National Security delivered messages of peace. The event was climaxed by panel discussions of various Elections Management Bodies.