WANEP Celebrates 20 Years Of Peace Building

 

By Aruna Rashed Toma Bangura

The West Africa Network for Peace (WANEP) past Tuesday, 7th May 2019, celebrated twenty years of peace building practice at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Aberdeen, west of Freetown.

The National Network Coordinator for WANEP, Dr. Isata Mahoi, in her statement said that twenty years of peace practice has not been an easy one and therefore worth celebrating.

Dr. Isata Mahoi said the reason for organizing a symposium and dinner was to discuss the importance of the intervention WANEP thus far, noting that WANEP is not happy with the current state of affairs and political dynamics in the country.

She furthered that WANEP was established for direct response to the conflicts and civil wars in West Africa, adding that the institution covers 15 West African countries. WANEP, she further informed, has four thematic areas which, she said, are used to inform about happenings within the region.

She said in the area of peace education, youth, peace and security, WANEP has recommended policies, noting that the issue of electoral violence, civil war has made the hard-won peace in a fragile state, adding that youth gangs are used by politicians for mission of vendetta against their political rivals.

Currently, she said, the country is politically divided, citing the recent staged walk-out by Members of Parliament of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC); the election violence during the Tonko Limba bye-election; elections petition cases between SLPP and APC; the issue of gender violence and the APC party accusing the ruling party of indiscriminate sackings of northerners and westerners, perceived to be APC members.

WANEP, she said, commends the government for the establishment of the Commissions of Inquiry, however, it warned that it should be within the confines of the law.

According to a representative from the United Nations, Dr. Okumbor, peace building has to do with the mindset and the state of the heart. She commended WANEP for its 20 years of existence, whilst stating that peace is not a thing that one can be assigned but a value or an asset and action taken or not taken. She said peace must be a desired value of everyone.