By Yusufu S. Bangura
The National Commission for Democracy (NCD) on Wednesday, 20th September, commemorated the International Democracy Day (IDD) with the theme “A Spotlight on Sierra Leone’s Democracy: Past, Present, and Future.”
The commemoration took place at the Freetown City Council Hall, Wallace Johnson Street in Freetown.
Speaking at the event, Chairperson for NCD, Marian A. Samu stated that this year’s commemoration came in the wake of the June 24, 2023, multi-tier elections with unresolved governance issues that have seen the boycott of governance by the main opposition party with far-reaching implications for consensus building, peace building, inclusivity, and political tolerance.
“Let us therefore use today’s commemoration to reflect on the issues at hand and look for common sense solutions to those issues that are plaguing our nation’s democratic destiny. In as much as it is democratically right to hold different views on the issues, it is also democratically right to work on building consensus as we unite our resources and talents to give our nation’s democracy a serious boost,” she said.
She emphasised that the nation’s democracy is at a crossroad, adding that after they have listened to expert advice through the various presentations and discussions, they didn’t forget that so many things were at stake that need urgent and serious attention.
“I am therefore calling on everyone to put aside our differences and choose to pitch tents in the best interest of our beloved motherland. At this critical juncture in the nation’s democratic history, we must choose to be on the right side of history with a desire to bequeath a befitting legacy to the next generation in light of a solid democratic foundation that will stand the test of time. Let it be our collective resolve to make a difference in fostering the democratic destiny of our beloved motherland,” she called.
NCD Chairperson further noted that the seminar on Sierra Leone’s democratic destiny promises to be educative and life-transforming as they anticipate the best from the various presenters on the various topics.
“I encourage a posture befitting a democratic destiny seminar such that our deliberations will inform best practice in the democratic aspirations of our beloved motherland. It is my humble conviction that we have what it takes to contribute meaningfully to moving the nation’s democratic destiny in the right direction. Let today marks that turning point in our quest for the answers to the many questions we have been asking about our country’s democracy,” she said.
She ended by calling on everyone to take the democratic destiny of the country nation into their hands so that it can be said by the next generation.
She added that they have made a deliberate decision not to drop the ball, but with the torch already lit in this generation in upholding the virtues of democratic good governance , let citizens ready to pass it on to the next generation with the conviction that the nation’s democracy holds tremendous potential for meaningful and sustainable development.
Also speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Public Administration and Political Affairs (MPAPA), Philip Tetema Tondoneh said as they reflect on the implication of both themes, it’s must be noted that they have come a long way in collective endeavours in entrenching the ideas of democracy in the collective psyche of the people regardless of their backgrounds, status, age, range and gender.
He said President Bio is cognisant of the need to empower the next generation by appointing greatest number of young men and women that are ready to work hard and deliver the dividends of the democracy to their compatriots.
“With this situation unfolding before our very eyes, there is hope that the many deficits in the governance of the state are going to be addressed soonest. This situation further requires that all should put their shoulders to the wheel to make Sierra Leone more democratic than it is even as we strive to address the differences that continue to put a wedge in our quest for national unity, political tolerance and social cohesion,” he said.
The commemoration was attracted by various speakers, who did presentations on three topics-youth participation in state governance as the foundation for the consolidation of democratic good governance in Sierra Leone, evaluating Sierra Leone’s democracy and overcoming the challenges to Sierra Leone’s democracy.