“What we have is ethnic politicisation not tribalism” -IDEA Country rep

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By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

Dr. Idriss Mamoud Tarawallie, Head of Sierra Leone Country Programme/Chef de Mission of International IDEA, emphasized that Sierra Leone faces ethnic politicisation rather than tribalism.

He made the remark during a two-day citizen’s dialogue conference themed ‘Consolidating Democracy by Promoting Inclusive Participation’, organized by the National Commission for Peace (NCD) and the National Council for Civic Education and Democracy (NaCCED) at the Atlantic Lumley Hotel in Freetown.

Tarawallie clarified that while tribalism denotes hatred based on tribal differences, Sierra Leone exhibits a context of ethnic politicisation where politicians exploit tribal affiliations for divisive purposes. He urged citizens not to succumb to such divisive narratives and emphasized the importance of unity for national security.

European Union Representative Julius Foday reiterated the EU’s commitment to supporting human rights and democracy in Sierra Leone, highlighting their role in critical reforms.

Kalilu Totangi, Chairman of NaCCED, stressed the significance of citizen engagement in reviewing and enhancing democratic processes, advocating for broader participation beyond political party dominance.

The dialogue aimed to foster peace, unity, and democratic governance in Sierra Leone, addressing critical electoral issues and promoting inclusive electoral participation, including women and persons with disabilities.

Moses Margo, Deputy Executive Secretary of ICPNC, underscored the dialogue’s timeliness in the context of efforts to strengthen peace and governance following the election of President Julius Maada Bio.

Chief Electoral Commissioner Mohamed Kenewui Konneh emphasized the importance of inclusive electoral processes, outlining principles and strategies to enhance accessibility, voter education, and fair representation.

The Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone’s strategic plan for 2024 prioritizes inclusivity and equity based on lessons from past elections, aiming to ensure comprehensive participation of all eligible citizens.

The dialogue concluded with a call for continued citizen involvement in shaping democratic practices and fostering national unity amidst political diversity.

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