SLPP, PMDC, NDA boycott ABC’s political tolerance sensitization
The main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) party and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) party where conspicuously absent at the Attitudinal and Behavioral Change (ABC) Secretariat’s one day sensitization workshop on the relevance of political tolerance in democratic dispensation that ended in Bo yesterday October 19th , 2011. These deliberate absences according to political critics who witnessed the fruitful session demonstrate a show of pettiness and unpatriotic tendencies as political tolerance is a vital tenet of democracy. However the absence of the three political parties people say is in connection to a ban their alliance had slammed against participating in any ruling APC party functions. (Photo: Executive Director and National Coordinator)
Welcoming participants the Mayor of Bo city, Dr. Wusu Sannoh described the occasion as timely because the recent political violence that erupted among supporters of the two major political parties is still influencing the thoughts of inhabitants. The Mayor of the township said the political violence which left one dead, scores wounded and million Leones worth of properties destroyed justifies why all political parties should have been present so that reasons based on the attitude and behavior of their supposed supporters could have been celebrated on.
Mayor Sannoh claimed that political violence resulted simply because members of political parties lack the correct attitudes and behaviors that are required to foster democracy.
He lamented that despite the plenty evidential drawbacks of political violence in the country, Sierra Leoneans especially political parties from whom much is expected, are still stifling efforts of well meaning organizations like the ABC secretariat in addressing this crucial problem. He commended the ABC Secretariat for conducting the workshop which he highlighted will help sensitize party members on how to behave among themselves. He pleaded with the ABC to be courageous in their work since it is a national cause and called on them to endeavor to reach all especially the absent parties in this sensitization drive.
He assured them that if participants properly utilize the sensitization workshop, political violence will be a thing for the past.
In his opening remarks, the chairman of the ceremony who is also the Bo District Council Chairman, Mathew M. Margao observed that it is because Sierra Leoneans put partisan politics, tribal and regional sentiments above national interest, citizens are always at each other’s throats in the guise of politicking.
He furthered stated that political tolerance which is the backbone of democracy must be constitutionally observed by all. Although Sierra Leone is endowed with valuable resources and a small population, it will not develop if politicians see themselves as enemies instead of partners in development.
While making an introduction of ABC concept and its relevance to political tolerance, the Executive Director of ABC Ssecretariat Dr. Ivan Ajibola Thomas informed participants that his institution aims at addressing the problems of negative attitudes and behaviors that are responsible of making Sierra Leone a failed state. This he said cannot be achieved in an environment of political unrest. It is against this backdrop Dr. Thomas disclosed his secretariat initiated sensitizing nationals on the ills of political violence. He classed political violence as an event that emanates from bad attitudes and behaviors among members of opposing political parties. Dr. Thomas schooled participants that in democracy they should not perceive others as enemies because they are members or sympathizers of different political parties. According to him democratic politicians must accept oppositions adding that opposition parties equally must avoid disassociating themselves from vital government functions. He noted that the opposition must endeavor to advance objective criticism and feasible solutions. The Executive Director pointed out that violence has no place in modern democracy and called on political parties to desist from such act. He stressed that the electorates must not allow themselves to be marginalized by politicians because they have constitutional right to choose who they think should lead them.
Sierra Leone, Dr. Thomas said, was founded on the core values of democracy, freedom and justice. On this note, leaders, he said, are obliged to equitably dispense justice and distribute national wealth. He therefore called on participants to start voting for candidates they believe possess leadership qualities rather than on tribal, partisan and regional basis.
In her presentation on the theme “Attitude and Behavior is Everything,” the national coordinator and second in command of ABC, Nanette Thomas admonished parents to raise up their children in an upright manner. This she said is vital because children are vulnerable during their formative years and could be affected while living in dysfunctional homes. Madam Thomas emphasized that during their formative stage parents must teach children to be grateful, remorseful, respectful, God fearing and law abiding. These virtues when instilled in children she claimed will empower them having positive behaviors and attitudes in their older years. Talking on the issue of political violence Madam Thomas said youth are always at the fore front of it. She said the class of such youths is those who heed to peer-group pressure because their parent(s) failed to empower them with the required attitudes and behavior. “Positive Attitude and Behavior is Everything,” Madam Thomas stressed, because according to her the lack of it renders life individually miserable and nationally underdeveloped. She therefore called on participants to change their odd attitudes and behaviors since this is what will give them the true meaning of life. Although the process of change she said is difficult, Madam Thomas encouraged them to explore the five pillars of attraction which must be worked on to demonstrate the willingness to change. These five pillars she pointed out include the management of their finances, well handling of relationships, choice of environment, spirituality and concern over health.
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