National Youth Coalition (NYC) Sierra Leone, has championed the fight against all forms of violence in Sierra Leone. Over the weekend, the coalition engaged youth leaders and civil society organization members at Mattru Jung in the Bonthe District and Fire Stone Community in Freetown respectively, on the need to abstain from all forms of violence.
NYC is a network movement of various youth organizations in the country that is working towards increasing youth’s potential, creativity and skills towards national development. The coalition aimed at transforming the mentality and attitude of young people in Sierra Leone for the better.
The coalition’s Youth Adviser, Mr. Sulaiman Suntus Kamara, condemned the act of young people forming themselves into groups with the aim of perpetrating violence and other anti-social crimes.
Addressing the youths of Fire Stone Community, the National Secretary General of the Coalition, Mr. Saliue AB Kargbo, said politicians have succeeded in dividing the entire country into regional strongholds, and that their supporters are most times using the opportunity to prevent their opponents from entering their communities.
Mr. Kargbo further condemned all political parties or individuals who are involved in political and social violence in the country.
“We totally and absolutely condemn those political parties or individuals whose main aim is to frighten investors and attempt to create unrest,” said Mr. kargbo. He went on that the coalition has identified one of the main factors responsible for political and social intolerance in Sierra Leone. This factor, according to him, most times leads to political violence emanating from the political culture of ‘political strongholds’.
Sierra Leone he said is a united and peaceful country where no political party has a stronghold, adding that there is no region, district or chiefdom belonging to any individual political party but the citizenry as a whole.
A similar meeting was held in collaboration with the Bonthe District Youth Council at Mattru Jung.
In that meeting, Civil Society Activist, Mr. Edward Kallon, called on the people of Bonthe District to be politically tolerant. He further called on them to allow all and sundry to exercise their democratic rights without any form of hindrance or intimidation.
Mr. Kallon used the forum to admonish civil society organizations to be neutral in the electoral process. He condemned those using traditional or cultural societies to scare away those exercising their political or social rights. He further used the forum to also call on political parties to encourage women and youths by awarding them symbols for the coming elections.
President of NYC, Ishmael Al-Sankoh Conteh, said preaching political strongholds can lead to regional and district violence, which according to him, has the potential to hinder the country’s hard won peace.
Mr. Al-Sankoh Conteh went on that young people have a greater role to play in community development. He said they should ensure a positive democracy and tolerance, which he said, are key factors to the development of any nation.
He maintained that young people formed the vast majority of the country’s electorates. The NYC President added that it is time for young people to prepare for a brighter future.
“We should not allow politicians to contaminate our focus with their negative ideologies of perpetrating violence or use their so-called stronghold syndrome to destroy the country. There is no other country we can call ours if we allow Sierra Leone to be destroyed by greedy politicians” Mr. Al-Sankoh cautioned, whilst calling on all Sierra Leoneans to see each other as one family. He also used the forum to encourage all political parties in the country to unite for the country’s development.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.