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Kailahun women denounce political violence

July 21, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Kailahun Women in Governance Network (KWIGN) has expressed fear that the level of political violence they experienced in the run up to the 9 July parliamentary bye-election posed unnecessary risk to the hard-earned peace enjoyed in the country after 11 years of war.

“These are warning signs and symptoms that the government, the United Nations, development partners and civil society actors must start acting now to mitigate, contain and disrupt any triggers of violence and political intolerance,” says Lucy C.F. Gondor, President of KWIGN.

She says the conduct of political parties and their supporters prior to the bye-election in Constituency 001 in Kailahun district was a cause for concern.

According to her, the tone of language of representatives of political parties and the manner of organisation of political activities, brought fear to the electorate, especially women and the aged.

Madam Gondor accused political parties of relying on the use of words that add no value to the country’s desire to become a middle income country by 2035, instead of embracing a contest of ideas on how to promote good governance across the board.

She urged for efforts to be made to increase dialogue between citizens and political actors, while encouraging actors of political parties to see themselves as Sierra Leoneans and promote patriotism necessary and sufficient for the cultural, social and economic transformation needed for attitudinal change.

“We call on all local and national authorities to continue to engage communities and the government on political tolerance, elections, peace, civic education and good governance to bring about successful local and national elections in 2018,” Madam Gondor urged.

She also called on all political parties to preserve tolerance and unity in the country by encouraging their supporters to remain responsive and responsible citizens, committed to the patriotic ideals of the state.

Activities of political parties in the run up to the conduct of bye-elections in Kailahun and Port Loko districts were marred by political violence, a development that warranted the invocation of Military Aid to Civil Power, which cause armed soldiers to be deplored in the constituency.

The bye-election in Constituency 001 was eventually won by Hon. Navo Kaikai of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), pulling a total of votes of 10, 177 as against the 4,493 votes registered by Haja Nasaratu Jalloh Nee Gogbeh of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC). In Constituency 050 in Port Loko district, Osman K. Conteh of APC polled 10,103 votes to defeat Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray of the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), who secured 4,287 votes.

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