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As January 6th Invasion commemorated

As January 6th Invasion commemorated

Social Welfare Minister Urged all to Embrace Peace

The Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Madam Isata Kabia has urged all Sierra Leoneans to embrace peace, coexistence and development as they commemorate January 6th, 1999 Invasion, with the theme ‘Never Again: Let Peace Reign’.

The colorful ceremony started with a float parade from Up-Gun and Aberdeen Road respectively *climaxing in a Public Advocacy and Launch of the Community Action Day at the precinct of the Law Court building in Freetown.  The commemoration was graced by Civil Society Organizations, Women’s Groups, Children, Ministers of Government, Heads of Parastatals and members of the Media.

Explaining the rationale for the commemoration, Madam Isata Kabia expressed that January 6 presents a unique opportunity to reflect on the unfortunate events of 6 January 1999 and renew our individual and collective commitments to sustainable peace and development.

Madam Isata Kabia furthered that the events of January 6 1999 should not be allowed to repeat itself in the history of Sierra Leone, and that all should use this day as a day of mourning and reflection, a day that should not be celebrated rather a day that should be used to offer special prayers for all those that lost their lives during that period and pray to God for such incident not to occur in the country,

She revealed that, with the adoption of the SDGs by UN, her ministry is working assiduously to ensure that jan 6 is regarded as a positive day of national service with the aim of improving communities through collective actions.

Madam Kabia described community action day as an initiative which aimed at rebranding Jan 6 from the painful memories of horror and carnage to improved peaceful co-existence that the country has enjoyed under good leadership and the attained inclusive national development process that have characterized that period.
However, she explained that the intending support action of her ministry was to capture the horror and pain encountered, bringing about a new sense of collective action in soliciting community support to achieve the SDGs. “We aimed at promoting citizens responsibilities in key areas. Whether it is painting a school (goal 4) tree planting (Goal 15) gender focus (goal 5,10) local business donations (17), their community actions will be clearly tied to the goals, to ensure they give more visibility and understanding to the SDGs within communities.

Speaking on behalf of Civil Society Organizations Madam Juliet Anderson commended the minister of Social Welfare and her team for initiating the commemoration of Jan 6 in a colorful manner. She maintained that that the atrocities that occurred within that period cannot be overemphasized, as thousands of people lost their lives and millions of properties were destroyed. She urged political leaders and all Sierra Leoneans to be peaceful and embrace peace for the betterment of the country.

The Inspector General of Police Richard Moigbe assured all Sierra Leonean of their commitment in ensuring that the March 2018 general election be manned professionally as there will be no course for alarm. “We have enough personnel across the country to ensure that we maintain the peace and stability we are enjoying across the country”, he said.

Chief of Defense Staff Ltd General Bureh Sesay pledge their support to ensure that the country maintain peace and reiterates the fact that Sierra Leone will never return to those dark days. He assured that they are always ready and determined to serve whenever they are called upon.

Minister of Political and Public Affairs Madam Nanette Thomas pledge her ministry support towards the commemoration of Jan 6 particularly the theme around which the commemoration is being observed. She urged all as the country heads to general elections let their actions be guided with the theme: Never again, let peace reign. She urged all to work towards peaceful, transparent, and credible election, remembering that election is not a matter of life and death but a means to national unity.

Delivering the keynote address on behalf of the president, the Minister of Defense Rtd Major Palo Conteh commends the Social Welfare Minister for mobilizing Sierra Leonean from different sphere in commemorating this day. He maintained that Sierra Leone have come a long way in building peace and development and “we should not allow ourselves to go back to those dark days, Jan 6, 1999 was a horrific day in the history of this country and we should always reflect on the incident that occurred on that day and use those reflection as lesson as we move forward, he said. Adding that the government is committed to peace and will do everything in it powers to ensure that the March 2018 Elections end peacefully. He maintained that the government had done a lot to ensure that they maintain peace in the country, by the amount of legislation that has been enacted plus the institutions that has been crated to cater for Youth, Persons with Disability, women’s group, and children among others. He officially launched the Community Action Day and assured of the government commitment to peace.

By Bampia James Bundu

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