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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Parliament Okays Peace Commission Drivers

October 22, 2021

By Alfred Koroma

The House of Parliament yesterday, 21st October, approved the Chairman and Board of Directors of the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion, following their appointment by President Julius Maada Bio.

The chairman and his Board of Directors are now task with the responsibility to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts, build, promote and maintain sustainable peace in Sierra Leone.

Their approval was welcomed by most Members of Parliament, albeit some questioned the independence of the commission and the officials appointed to serve in the commission that is set to unify the nation.

Sheka  Mansary ,who was approved as Chairman of the Commission has served in various capacities as a civil servant. 

He served as adviser to President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah , Office of National Security and  Secretary to the President and Head of Civil Service. 

Among the other nominees approved as members of the board of directors were civil society activist, Valnora Anita Christiana Edwin, Alhaji Sulaiman Bah, telecommunication specialist, former member of Parliament, Hon. PC Sheka Amadu, Tejan Pa Suluku,  Rev Olivia  Hellen Isata Fornie and Amb Haja Alimamy Cole.

Approving the nominees, Hon. Hassan Sesay noted that the nation needs the commission but noted that the nominees have so much on their head considering the underlining political issues in the country.

He cited the removal of the ten MPs by the High Court of Sierra Leone as an issue that is yet to be resolved and asked the nominees to commit themselves to correcting the issues that are dividing the country rather than serving those that appointed them.

In his statement, Leader of the National Grand Coalition, Hon. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, noted that goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals is ‘Peace Justice and Strong Institutions.’ 

He described the task of the nominees as huge and noted that their success will be determined by their impartiality and integrity.

He called on the nominees to remember President Kabbah’s legacy in bringing peace to a broken nation after a devastating civil war and to consider the ethnic audit, which, he said should be done periodically and focus on the issues that are threatening the peace of the nation.

Despite supporting the approval of the nominees, Hon Daniel Koroma questioned the independence of the commission and noted that the term ‘minister’ in the Act of the commission is already killing the independence of the commission. 

The Member of Parliament reiterated that the independence of the commission is not guaranteed, but, however advised the nominees to work for their integrity to be guaranteed.

After the eleven years rebel war, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established to look into the causes of the conflict and recommended ways to prevent future conflict and consolidate national peace.

But, some of the factors reported by the TRC to have caused the war are still lingering around.  Since the 2018 election, the political atmosphere of the country remains tense.  

Having a peace commission to unify the country is a great step to building national cohesion.

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