The Sierra Leone Legal Aid Board yesterday, April 12, engaged community stakeholders in both the Western Rural and Urban areas on post-elections anti-violence campaign.
Speaking at the well-attended dialogue event which took place at Atlantic Hall, Stadium Hostels in Freetown, chairman of event, Francis Gabbidon, said that the Legal Aid Board works to maintain peace and give justice to every Sierra Leonean.
He noted that during the electioneering period, they worked tirelessly to ensure that the country conducts peaceful elections and that the elections started well but ended with violence after the final run-off presidential results were announced.
He said the Board was somehow disappointed to hear that people were fighting one another, destroying properties in the name of jubilation, a situation he said was very wrong.
He said that people should know that the Legal Aid Board was not happy about the ongoing political violence in the country.
In her statement, Executive Director of the Board, Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles, applauded civil society and non-governmental organisations who worked tirelessly before and during the elections to ensure the conduct of peaceful elections.
She said the March 7 general election was peaceful, but noted that the March 31 run-off presidential election was occasioned by some tension and violence and that they thought it fit to engage community stakeholders and organisations in the Western Rural and Urban to chart the way forward on how to restore peace in the country.
"We shouldn't be blaming political parties for the violence in the country, but we should rather be blaming ourselves as people. We need to be tolerant with one and other because that is the only way we can achieve development for our nation," he said.
She urged that Sierra Leoneans emulate the country's religious tolerance and apply it to politics, disclosing that on April 24 they would be officially launching the post anti-election violence campaign at the Miatta Conference Centre.
President of the Sierra Leone Labour Congress, Jennings A.B. Wright, said when there was violence in the country his constituents suffered the most because works and businesses were always affected, thus calling on Sierra Leoneans to reunite as elections are over.
He applauded the Legal Aid Board for organising such a meeting for stakeholders in both the Western Rural and Urban Areas, to discuss the way forward to put an end to the reported political violence in the country and pleaded that the Board replicates the meeting in the provinces.
Also speaking, Assistant Inspector General of Police Gloria Tarawallie, said the meeting was attended by the targeted stakeholders, and noted that the work of the Legal Aid Board complemented that of the Sierra Leone Police, especially in the area of maintaining peace.
She accused some police officers of allegedly being behind the ongoing violence in the country, noting that some officers were too partisan during the elections hence supporters retaliated after the final run-off elections results were announced.