From the Editor’s Keyboard

Sierra Leone Elections: A Plea For Calm

12 July 2007 at 06:23 | 598 views

"The ordinary Sierra Leonean has suffered for too long.
The campaign period should be used by political
aspirants to think of how and what they will do after
the elections to alleviate the plight of the poor.
Instead of pulling each other down, this should be a
time of sober reflection."

By Sarah A. Davies, Guest Writer.

Elections in Africa are always marred by violence. This
is prevalent mostly in the West African sub-region
where political aspirants see politics as a do-or-die
affair or a win at all costs affair.

From a democratic perspective, politics is supposed to
be a game of tolerance. A game where each party sees
the other as a political opponent rather than a
political enemy.

For our beloved country to be firmly grounded on the
tenets of democracy and for rapid development we should
and must be able to tolerate each other irrespective
of our political differences. It is time we realize
that our strength lies in our destiny.

Now that the ban on campaigns has been lifted it is
hoped that the process of campaigning will be done in a
peaceful and responsible manner free of any form of
violence. Our experience during the civil war should
serve as a lesson to all those who mean well for our
beloved country.

As well meaning Sierra Leoneans, we must all imbibe
the culture of peace which can only come about when we
are able to tolerate each other’s political views.
With educational institutions scattered all over the
country it is time political tolerance is taught in
tertiary institutions. That will breed
responsible future leaders and will also wipe out the
system of political thuggery that had existed over the
years. When the youths are enlightened they become
aware of their rights. They will be able to realize
that using them for thuggery is an abuse of their
right.

The ordinary Sierra Leonean has suffered for too long.
The campaign period should be used by political
aspirants to think of how and what they will do after
the elections to alleviate the plight of the poor.
Instead of pulling each other down, this should be a
time of sober reflection.

Now that the war is over the expectations of the electorate must not be ignored. A good number of people have been out of employment as a result of the war. The incoming government should be able to provide jobs for its citizens.

The days when people hold back their ID cards instead of using them for voting are gone. Instead of staying away from the polls and criticizing government, people should come out and vote.

Elections if conducted in a free and fair
atmosphere, will attract the international
community who will be willing to invest in a
politically stable country.

Stability brings about development. We need a change of attitude towards elections. Lets all imbibe the culture of tolerance.This brings about progress.

*Sarah Davies, was a reporter at Concord Times
newspaper in Freetown.

Photo: NEC boss Christiana Thorpe.

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