By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The Conflict Prevention Group has engaged religious leaders and tribal heads to discuss steps that will promote social cohesion and community dialogue on post elections issues in the country.
The Conflict Prevention Group, which was set up by the current Chairman and National Returning Officer of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (EC-SL), Mohamed K. Konneh,comprises of three organisations, including the Campaign for Human Rights and Development International CHRDI, the Inter-Religious Council and Eminent Women Peace Mediators.
Speaking during the event held yesterday, Wednesday, August 2nd , at the Freetown City Council Conference Hall in Freetown, Executive Director of CHRDI, Abdul Fatorma, said they thought around how to choose the first batch of people they should engage after the elections and that they came to the conclusion that they should engage religious leaders and tribal heads.
He explained that before the elections, they engaged market women, people living with disabilities, youth and the security sector, and that the engagement contributed to the peaceful conduct of the June 24 general elections.
He said it is clear that there is tension among citizens after the elections, which is why they have decided to engage the religious and traditional leaders to see how they can engage their constituents for the purpose of peace and cohesion in the country.
He observed that there will be no promotion of peace and cohesion without the involvement of those two groups.
He said over the years, the powers of the chiefs have declined but that they are working hard to ensure that their powers are restored.
Chairman of the National Council for Civic Education and Democracy (NaCCED), Kalilu Totangi, said his office was established to help people know their rights and responsibilities, adding that in governance every political party is important because they all work for the development of the state.
He said tribal heads and religious leaders are needed to help restore peace in their various communities and that they were currently having engagement with people across the country.
Representative of Eminent Women, Ebun James-Dekam, said the country is too small to be fighting each other and that everybody should be working now to promote peace and cohesion.
She said they also work together to promote peace and cohesion between former President Ernest Bai Koroma and current President Julius Maada Bio in 2012.
Also speaking, the Chairman for the Tribal Heads, Sahr Gbekie, said such kind of meeting was timely and very important for the promotion of peace and cohesion in the country and called on every Sierra Leonean to have trust and respect state institutions.
He said civic education is very important because it helps to let people know their customs and traditions and also help them especially the children to know their responsibilities.