By Mohamed J Kargbo
Talking Drum Studio in collaboration with Independent Radio Network (IRN), and the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, has on the 16th June 2023, held a National Conference on Peace and Social Cohesion, at the New Brookfields Hotel, Jomo Kenyatta Road, Freetown.
In his keynote address, the National Director, Talking Drum Studio, Alpha Kamara, explained that over the past months they have been travelling all over the country with the British High Commissioner, Lisa Chesney, and other officials of the Commission Peace Consolidation and support elections preparedness.
He said the upcoming elections will be the 5th Democratic election and that they are striving to ensure that it’s peaceful and democratic.
He further stated that although Sierra Leone’s improved ranking on the Peace Index Table was welcoming, yet electoral violence undermines and threatens the country’s peace standing on the Index.
He went on to state that as the country approaches the June 24th elections, “we should leverage our good reputation and standing on inner faith relations and translate that into dialogue as a means of addressing our indifferences.”
He concluded that TDS and partners therefore call on political parties, the government, traditional and religious leaders, CSOs, development partners, researchers, women and youth groups and the local media to end all forms of tribalism, hate speech and collectively build peace in the communities.
“There is no way we can make progress as a nation if we use violence as a means of to solve our problems”, he climaxed.
Mohamed Konneh, Commissioner EC-SL, stated that the sentiment of regionalism and tribalism has been rife as the election come up, noting that the conference organised by TDS is significant and very timely.
He added that in order to promote peace and fairness, he will ensure that a free fair and impartial election is conducted, and urging all Sierra Leoneans to maintain peace and national cohesion in the upcoming elections.
A representative from the Office of National Security, Francis Lagumba Kellie, mentioned that their constitutional responsibility is to ensure that the peace and security of Sierra Leone is upheld, as well as to protect lives and property.
He added that their primary responsibility is to provide conducive environment for the holding of a democratic election.
He also clarified that there will be a vehicular movement, however, there heavy check points on the streets to closely monitor their movements.