By: James Kamara-Manneh

In a pivotal national address, President Julius Maada Bio called for continued peace and cohesion in Sierra Leone, highlighting the steps his administration has taken to foster unity and democracy in the wake of the June 2023 elections. Speaking ahead of Eid celebrations, President Bio extended greetings to the nation and wished safe travels for Hajj pilgrims.

He began by expressing gratitude for the support and patience of Sierra Leoneans as the country navigates significant political changes. He emphasized the importance of the June 2023 elections, which granted him a second mandate, and outlined the collaborative efforts with the main opposition and other stakeholders to review and improve the electoral process.

Key Initiatives and Progress

In his address, President Bio detailed several initiatives undertaken to strengthen Sierra Leone’s democratic framework. Central to these efforts is the Agreement for National Unity, which has led to the establishment of the Tripartite Committee on Electoral Systems Review and the operationalization of the Inter-Party Dialogue. The government has also invited institutions to form a team of Moral Guarantors and is working on a framework to review legal cases.

President Bio highlighted the ongoing support of international partners, which he deemed crucial for the success of the Agreement for National Unity. He urged these partners to continue their involvement to ensure the effective implementation of necessary reforms.

Nation-Building and Citizen Participation

Addressing the broader context of nation-building, President Bio called on all Sierra Leoneans to actively engage in the development of the country. He acknowledged the nation’s rich history and diverse culture as strengths but also recognized the challenges that have tested its unity.

“Elections everywhere are often critical moments of contention due to the obvious divides created by party affiliations, ideologies, and opposing views. This is the beauty of democracy — the minority will have their say, but the majority will have their way,” Bio remarked.

Tripartite Committee’s Role and Challenges

President Bio provided updates on the Tripartite Committee on Electoral Systems Review, praising the steady progress made since January 2024. He noted that the bulk of the work has been completed and that the committee is close to finalizing its findings and recommendations. The President expressed hope that the committee would submit its report by the due date of June 19, 2024, despite acknowledging challenges faced along the way.

However, Bio warned against individuals attempting to exploit the committee’s platform to incite trouble, emphasizing that such actions would be met with the full weight of the law.

Call for Unity and Future Steps

The President reiterated the need for unity and the rejection of divisive rhetoric, stressing that peace is essential for progress. He called for a commitment to “politics without bitterness,” encouraging respectful and empathetic political discourse focused on the collective welfare.

Bio thanked diplomatic and development partners, as well as the leadership of both the APC and SLPP, for their continued support and commitment to peace. He expressed gratitude to the citizens of Sierra Leone for their patience and hope, urging everyone to embrace the values of tolerance, respect, and solidarity.

Vision for Sierra Leone’s Future

President Bio concluded his address by reaffirming his administration’s dedication to inclusivity, transparency, and good governance. He outlined the government’s focus on economic growth, improved education, healthcare, agricultural productivity, and infrastructure development. Bio called on all Sierra Leoneans to work together towards a national agenda that ensures food security, job creation, women’s empowerment, and the country’s advancement to a middle-income economy.

“Together, our vision of an inclusive, peaceful, and thriving Sierra Leone is possible. It is a vision we all deserve,” Bio declared.

The President’s address emphasized a collective responsibility to safeguard democratic values and strengthen national cohesion, setting a hopeful tone for Sierra Leone’s future as a united and prosperous nation.


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