The Head of the United Nations in Sierra Leone, Dr Babatunde Ahonsi, yesterday in Freetown, used a ceremony marking International Day of Peace to call on the SLPP Government and the APC to dialogue without delay to resolve the current political stalemate resulting from the outcome of the June 24 elections.
In his keynote address at an event attended by the new US Ambassador Bryan David Hunt, Ambassador Manuel Muller of the European Union, the Manu River Union Secretary-General Maria G Harrison and political party representatives from the SLPP, UDM and the RUFP and other stakeholders, Dr Ahonsi expressed hopes for a genuine and honest commitment by all stakeholders to resolve the impasse.
Dr Ahonsi said that political deadlocks and conflicts that descend into violence hamper peace and stability and, consequently, undermine development and social cohesion and frequently cause unnecessary suffering among people.
The Resident Coordinator stated that political tensions are perhaps natural at a time of elections, but if they are not addressed quickly in the appropriate manner once the elections are over, they risk becoming an obstacle to national development and cohesion, creating an atmosphere of instability in the country.
He therefore welcomes the initiative of the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, to facilitate a dialogue process with the support of ECOWAS, AU, and the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion (ICPNC).
According to Dr Ahonsi, Government and social actors at all levels, including political parties, have a shared responsibility for ensuring that multiple grievances are addressed in the appropriate manner and that conflicts are resolved peacefully. “We must never forget that conflict prevention is always far better than peacebuilding,” he emphasised.
He also commended President Bio and the APC leaders for their steadfast commitment to peace and called for inclusion and respect for the rule of law and human rights at all levels.