By Sylvester Samba.
A one day forum known as ‘New Direction Community Engagement Forum’ has on Tuesday 10th April, 2018 ended at Kona Lodge in Freetown which brought together Tribal Heads and Religious leaders in the capital city of Freetown.
The purpose of the forum was to find ways as to how those leaders can immediately start to preach peace and unity in their respective communities now that the election is over.
During the discussions, participants were given the opportunity to talk freely, openly and frankly particularly on problematic issues which occurred before, during and after the elections as well as to find possible solutions to them.
Making a statement, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Ernest Ndomahina said the forum will also look at ways to what needs to be done now that the election is over.
Chief Ndomahina added that they are mindful of the fact that the country cannot move forward without community support. He told the Tribal Heads and Religious leaders present that without them His Excellency Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio will not achieve his objectives. The Chairman informed the gathering that all of them have important roles to play to move the country forward.
Before explaining in detail about the concept of the New Direction, a member of the Transition Team who also doubles as the National Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), Mr. Umaru Napoleon Koroma said they do recognize all the good things they met in as much as much need to be done to move the country forward.
He pleaded with the gathering together with all meaningful Sierra Leoneans to be part of the process in moving the country forward. “We must all be part of the process”, Mr. Koroma noted.
The SLPP Secretary General further explained that their government will be working on three (3) core principles which are: Discipline Leadership, Professionalism and Delivery. He assured that once they get these three principles right the country will move forward. He promised that their government hopes to not only deliver on education but to also revamp the country’s economy and infrastructural development.
Dr. Memunatu Pratt, a senior lecturer and Head of Department for Peace and Conflict Studies at FBC spoke extensively about the critical challenges to peace and inclusive governance in the country. In her opening remarks she described President Bio as a listening President. She said the ‘New Direction Community Engagement Forum’ was a family meeting more especially when the election has tore communities apart. “Let come together and reconcile…You need to forgive each other in the interest of peace…We need to be tolerant to each other and work as one family since political tolerant is very important”, Dr. Pratt noted.
Statements were also made by representatives from the SLPP, APC, NGC and C4C together with the Chairman, Council of Tribal Heads, Chief Sahr O. Gbekie, Kono Tribal head and the General Secretary, Inter-Religious Council, Rev. Dr. James Fornah.