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Inter-Religious Council calls for credible, free, fair, non-violent elections

HomeNewsInter-Religious Council calls for credible, free, fair, non-violent elections

Inter-Religious Council calls for credible, free, fair, non-violent elections

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The Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRCSL) has called on all stakeholders to adhere to credible, free, fair and non-violent elections.

General Secretary of the Council, Rev. Dr. Usman Jesse Fornah said the Communiqué came after a three-day deliberation of the inter-faith partners held at the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone in Freetown.

Below is the full communiqué by IRCSL which was ready and signed by the General Secretary, Dr. Usman Jesse Fornah:

 

PREAMBLE

In the Name of The Almighty God/Allah, who created the world, and under whose divine direction we operate.

The Inter-religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRCSL) is a Faith based organization comprising the two main religions in the country, Christianity and Islam.

IRCSL’s mandate is to promote respect, love for one another and tolerance of different religious communities, allowing the expression of the various traditions, principles, and values to build a peaceful and just society in Sierra Leone (cf. IRCSL Constitution 2014, page 2). The main focus of the IRCSL is peace, reconciliation and social stability.

The IRCSL is committed to engaging the populace on all matters of national development, peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and social cohesion.

We the religious leaders of Sierra Leone, therefore, consider election as one of the key components in ensuring democracy, national development, and social cohesion because it enhances citizens’ participation in governance, ensures government accountability, and encourages political competition. A transparent, Free, fair and credible election is one of the basic and crucial prerequisites and elements of democratic government and governance.

As Moral Guarantors of Peace in Sierra Leone, the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRCSL) feels convinced and persuaded to play a proactive role in preparation for the forthcoming 2023 General Elections. The environment in which the respective key players will carry out their mandates to ensure free, fair, transparent, and violent free elections, of which the results will be accepted by all should be free from anything that has the potential that might lead to conflict and chaos.

As religious leaders of Sierra Leone, we have given thoughtful consideration to the value of having a free, fair, transparent, credible and peaceful election and therefore we would like to make the following calls:

  1. The electorate (all people of voting age and have registered) should know that carrying out an election is God/Allah’s design for raising leaders for His people; this helps them to conduct themselves properly.
  2. Candidates and political leaders should recognize that God/Allah is the Supreme Leader and He alone chooses leaders to lead His people. This inspires trust in the electoral process.
  3. The electoral staff should realize that conducting an election is a sacred responsibility and an exercise of trust. Therefore, they should respect God’s/Allah’s principles (honesty, integrity, justice) and ensure free, fair, and credible elections that reflect the will of God/Allah and His people.
  4. The media landscape should engage in responsible and balanced media coverage and reporting on the electoral process. They should make decent commentaries that are informative and educative and avoid character assassinations, unsubstantiated allegations, ethnocentrism and misrepresentation of the fact for political advantage. We particularly urge all citizens to use social media responsibly.
  5. Political parties and their candidates should demonstrate the right attitude of respecting the rules of the game, demonstrate political tolerance, denounce hate messages or indecent language and exhibit the important values of faithfulness, humility, accountability, and authentic role models
  6. The security apparatus should ensure that justice is not selective, rather they should be impartial and not be seen to favor any group or political party against the other.
  7. The IRCSL urges government and political parties to ensure women’s political and civic participation by adhering to the minimum 30 percent quota, and providing security, technical and financial support for female aspirants and candidates.
  8. The IRCSL urges the government, political parties, and the electorate to denounce election violence such as intimidations, destruction and damage of electoral properties, assault, death threat, even murder, forceful dispersion of peaceful political rallies, violent street protests and hooliganism, arbitrary arrest and detention without warrant, etc
  9. The IRCSL urges paramount chiefs in their respective chiefdoms to provide guidance to the electoral process and accommodate all political parties, support efforts to ensure that all political parties can campaign freely, ensure political tolerance, conflict prevention, mediation, and resolutions
  10. Finally, it is prudent that we, Religious Leaders, and CSOs maintain political self-discipline throughout the electioneering period. Political self-discipline in this context is to maintain neutrality, impartiality, and non-partisan.

As we conclude this statement, our greatest desire and prayers is to have a transparent, free, fair, credible and violence-free election come June 24th, 2023.

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