As Peace And Reconciliation Commission Set To Start… Bio To Meet With SLPP Big Guns

 

In furtherance to his ongoing national peace and reconciliation project, reports reaching this press indicate that President Bio will soon meet with elders of his party, the Sierra Leone People’s Party.

Sources said the purpose of the planed dialogue session with SLPP elders is to extend the olive branch to one and all; given that the party was thrown into discord, breaking of ranks and desertion by some members during the pre 2018 intra party elections that saw now President Bio emerge as the party’s presidential candidate.

The SLPP peace and reconciliation meeting with SLPP elders to be hosted by President Bio which will include the likes of Chief Somano Kapen, John Oponjo Benjamin, Dr John Karimu, Mrs. I.J. Kabba, Dr Manyeh, Dr Joe Demby, Solomon Berewa and others will come in the wake of the president’s recent meeting with the leadership of the country’s 17 registered political parties at State House. In the meeting, President Bio impressed on his colleague politicians the need to put party politics behind them and come together to work with him and his government in quest of the common goal of unity, peace and development.

Eager to see all Sierra Leoneans on deck and rowing in the same direction, Bio’s government has, in the interim period, come up with the Green Paper of the proposed Independent Commission for Peace and National Reconciliation that has been presented to him by Chief Minister, Professor David Francis.

The intent of the Green Paper and the commission that it will establish is to eventually achieve inclusive governance and improve the infrastructure for peace and democracy in the country.

It could be recalled that on the 10th of May, 2018, in his address to Parliament, President Bio promised to build the blocks of unity and national cohesion. The Green Paper is a significant step towards achieving that dream and consolidation of a nationwide consultation process that will lead to a cabinet White Paper that will be tabled in Parliament for approval to establish the Commission.

At the presentation ceremony of the document to President Bio at State House, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Sunil Saigal thanked the government for the initiative, adding that the United Nations supports the Green Paper and its content. He called it an important step by this government that will build on the country’s democratic principles, as well as aid the mid-term National Development Plan launched recently by the government and guide the process of human capital which is at the center of the Government’s ‘New Direction’ agenda.

Sunil Saigal noted that there can be no development where there is no peace. Also, there cannot be peace without development. He assured government that the initiative is integral to all programmes of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council.

Project Consultant, Hawa Samai thanked the President for pushing the process which document, she said, looked at the causes of violence, with special attention to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report and discovered that lack of justice, corruption, greed, tension during political periods and lack of basic social amenities were major causes of violence in the country. Done with the highest sincerity, she said, the investigation answered all questions related to violence.

Receiving the document, Bio thanked all the participants, adding that “it is timely for the country to come together for the better so that we do not self destruct due to bad politics, bad governance, corruption and other social ills.” Stating that some people do not value peace, he said, “We cannot overemphasize the importance of peace in this country.”

“We have gone through an 11-year long civil war and never again should that happen. There should be collective effort in the eradication of corruption and all other elements that have the tendency to put us apart as a nation. We must put this country together; it is our individual and collective responsibility as a nation. We have to agree on where we want to go,” President Bio admonished.

Chief Minister Professor Francis said the Bintumani III national peace and reconciliation dialogue process which will be led and driven by the Ministry of Political Affairs will take in the role of women, traditional leaders and civil society.