Religious Leaders Share Statement on Current Situation in Sierra Leone
Representatives of the Christian community in Sierra Leone comprising the Catholic Mission, the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL), the Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone (EFSL), the Pentecostal Fellowship of Sierra Lone (PFSL), the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA), the Strategic Evangelistic Network (SEN) have been carefully following up on the spate of violence that is gradually spreading across our beloved country in recent times and has left us genuinely and seriously perturbed.
In the midst of frantically struggling to bring the corona pandemic under control, Sierra Leone is unfortunately degenerating into political chaos which we believe MUST be addressed immediately.
We note with utter disappointment the increasing level of violence currently prevailing in the country including the riot at Pademba Road Correctional Centre and the outbreak of violence at Lunsar, Falaba, Foredugu and Tombo. This is a cause for security concern to all peace loving Sierra Leoneans.
We note with grave concern that the peace of our country is threatened by many detestable hate speeches and incitement laced with obscenities and invectives both within and outside this country that have flooded the social media. Undoubtedly this is an irresponsible use of the social media. Sad to say these incitements have led to the loss of human lives and burning down of both private and public properties in some parts of the country.
We are appalled by the level of lawlessness pervading the country. There is a growing national concern that this level of lawlessness is a threat to national security and political stability.
Hence we acknowledge with gratitude the sacrifices made by our security forces including the loss of lives in the discharge of their duties.
We have observed with dismay the high-handed manner in which some members of the security forces effect arrests and call on them to perform their roles responsibly and with respect for the rule of law.
All of these we believe are as a result of the political tension primarily between the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the main opposition All People’s Congress Party (APC). This unnecessary tension is a scary reminder of the very factors that led this country into eleven years of senseless civil war, about which politicians seem to have forgotten so quickly. We seem to have thrown overboard the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and its recommendations. We are concerned that our beloved nation may once again degenerate into total chaos if we allow this circle of violence to continue unchecked. When politicians fight each other, it is the ordinary people that suffer.
Thus as moral guarantors;
• We call on His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio to do everything possible within the confines of the laws of this nation to restore law and order and protect the rights and dignity of all Sierra Leoneans
• We appeal to the leadership of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), and the main opposition party, All People’s Congress (APC) to give peace a chance and allow for the consolidation of our fragile democratic governance structure where all Sierra Leoneans will live in peace and tranquility. This country has suffered for far too long and Sierra Leoneans deserve nothing but the best.
• We unequivocally condemn all forms of violence and call on all perpetrators to immediately desist from such dangerous activities as they are not in any way in the interest of peace and stability.
• We out-rightly denounce all forms of hate speech and incitements including the use of obscene language especially in the social media.
• We call on all our youths to resist being misled and used by politicians but rather channel their energies to the good of the country. It is our joint responsibility to ensure that this country continues to grow from strength to strength.
• We call on all Sierra Leoneans both at home and abroad to be patriotic and join th·e fight against the common enemy COVID-19. Together, we can subdue this pandemic and save our country from its ravaging consequences.
• Finally, we call on all Sierra Leoneans to turn to God in prayer and allow God to reign in this nation. We draw on 2nd Chronicles 7: 14 which says “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land”.
God heal our beloved nation Sierra Leone!
Archbishop Tamba Charles (Catholic Mission)
Bishop J. Archibald Cole (PFSL)
Bishop Dr. Fredrick Adu Koroma (SEN)
Bishop John K. Yambasu (CCSL)
Rev. Dr. Usman J. Fornah (EFSL)
Pst. Dr. Daniel S. Sandy (SDA)
Bishop Arnold C. Temple (CASL)