Only Dialogue Will Bring Peace To Sierra Leone Crisis – ITUC-Africa, OTUWA

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By Obioma A.

Dialogue is the best pathway to quelling the raging crisis and entrenching peace in Sierra Leone, the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (lTUC-Africa) and the Organisation of Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA) have said.

The due, also posited that dialogue is the key ingredients to resolving all the problems confronting the people of Sierra Leone.

Conspicuously stated in a press statement signed by the leadership due, Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, ITUC-Africa General Secretary and John E. Odah, OTUWA General Secretary, express deep concerns about reports of several casualties and fatalities that occurred in Sierra Leone‘s capital Freetown and other towns following the people’s anti-inflation protests. 

The statement said; “It is our understanding that the cost of living, comprising of food and non-food items, has risen by more than 40% within the last few months in Sierra Leone and that the protests were part of the expression of discontent by the citizenry in the face of the rising and biting cost of living. 

“Nevertheless, we strongly condemn how the supposed legitimate and peaceful protests degenerated into violent and deadly ones across the country. Videos depicting gory sights of killings of civilians and security agents during the demonstrations are awash on the Internet and on different social media platforms. These developments are regrettable and unacceptable. 

“The ITUC-Africa and OTUWA, therefore, call on the government to conduct an inclusive and genuine investigation to address the protests’ root causes. Through the transparent application of the rule of law, the inquiry should also identify, prosecute and sanction persons, groups and entities that encouraged and perpetrated violence during the protest. We urge the government to ensure that the investigation is devoid of vendetta and medium to settle political scores.”

The scribes further said; “Trauma runs deep in Sierra Leone. The memories of the past 11-year ravages of war that left more than 50,000 people dead are still fresh in people’s minds, and the ordinary citizenry has no wish whatsoever to return to that dark past. However, it is also important to highlight that corruption, poverty, and unemployment remain rampant as Sierra Leoneans try to rebuild their lives-and country. These concerns need to be dealt with. 

“lTUC-Africa urges Sierra Leoneans to remain faithful to the tenets of a democratic dispensation by, among other things, respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. The government and security institutions shouid remain steadfast in ensuring that people who wish to hold demonstrations do so peacefully. The authorities should facilitate rather than seek to prevent peaceful protests and desist from unnecessary and disproportionate responses to the DIALOGUE IS KEY TO THE PROBLEMS CONFRONTING THE PEOPLE OF SIERRA LEONE. 

“The African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (lTUC-Africa) and the Organisation of Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA) express deep concerns about reports of several casualties and fatalities that occurred in Sierra Leone‘s capital Freetown and other towns following the people’s anti-inflation protests. 

“It is our understanding that the cost of living, comprising of food and non-food items, has risen by more than 40% within the last few months in Sierra Leone and that the protests were part of the expression of discontent by the citizenry in the face of the rising and biting cost of living. 

“Nevertheless, we strongly condemn how the supposed legitimate and peaceful protests degenerated into violent and deadly ones across the country. Videos depicting gory sights of killings of civilians and security agents during the demonstrations are awash on the Internet and on different social media platforms. These developments are regrettable and unacceptable. 

“The ITUC-Africa and OTUWA, therefore, call on the government to conduct an inclusive and genuine investigation to address the protests’ root causes. Through the transparent application of the rule of law, the inquiry should also identify, prosecute and sanction persons, groups and entities that encouraged and perpetrated violence during the protest. We urge the government to ensure that the investigation is devoid of vendetta and medium to settle political scores. 

“Trauma runs deep in Sierra Leone. The memories of the past 11-year ravages of war that left more than 50,000 people dead are still fresh in people’s minds, and the ordinary citizenry has no wish whatsoever to return to that dark past. However, it is also important to highlight that corruption, poverty, and unemployment remain rampant as Sierra Leoneans try to rebuild their lives-and country. These concerns need to be dealt with. 

“lTUC-Africa urges Sierra Leoneans to remain faithful to the tenets of a democratic dispensation by, among other things, respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. The government and security institutions shouid remain steadfast in ensuring that people who wish to hold demonstrations do so peacefully. The authorities should facilitate rather than seek to prevent peaceful protests and desist from unnecessary and disproportionate responses to the demonstrations, such as shutting down the Internet and imposing arbitrary curfews. Peaceful protests contribute to engendering and consolidating participatory democracy. 

“Lastly, as trade union organisations, we strongly believe in the tenet of social dialogue as a time-tested and effective means of resolving knotty and difficult situations. We urge the government tq bring all concerned parties and stakeholders, including the trade unions and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), to genuinely and openly discuss the issues bedevilling the country. The lasting solution for the country can be discerned and fostered through such a consultative and inclusive process.”

End.

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