Koinadugu District Embraces President Koroma’s Vision
The inhabitants of Koinadugu, the largest and sparsely populated District in Sierra Leone, have overwhelmingly embraced President Koroma’s hatched vision of rebranding his nation by changing the poor attitudes and behaviours of his compatriots. (Photo: National Coordinator and Second-in-Command of ABC Secretariat, Nanette Thomas)
This novel decision was taken at the end of a one-day workshop that was organized by the Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat on May 28th 2012 in the district’s headquarter town of Kabala on the theme ‘ABC Concept, Political Tolerance and Political Motivated Violence’.
Welcoming participants at the well graced occasion that attracted people from all walks of life, Paramount Chief Gbawunu Mansaray 111 thanked President Koroma for his expediency in attaching importance to the molding of citizens’ negative ways of doing things. He stressed the backwardness the prevalence of bad attitudes and behaviours keep plunging the nation into; something plenty of President Koroma’s predecessors noted, but deliberately failed to tackle. He described the theme of the workshop as timely and prudent as according to him political violence which is the commonest practiced negative behaviour should not be given chance to manifest itself in the coming November 17 Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council elections. In this light he registered his delight over the ABC Secretariat’s visit and called on his people to effectively participate in the forum and make good use of the sensitization exercise.
The Chairman-of-Ceremony, Mr. Sarjor .A .M. Bah in his opening remarks reechoed the points advanced by P.C. Gbawuru Mansaray 111 and added that, though not renowned for political motivated violence, Koinadugu is not an exceptional community for the prevalence of repulsive deeds. He therefore termed the presence of the Secretariat in the district as a success story and assured that at the end of their one week tour of the district’s institutional and community establishment the people of that part of the country would have come to terms with President Koroma’s desire in witnessing Sierra Leoneans behaving positively.
Making a statement the Regional Chairman of Council of Paramount Chiefs in Koinadugu, P.C. Alhaji Alimamy Lahai V underscored the role traditional leaders owe to the transformation of the ugly manners of their respective subjects. The erudite Paramount Chief informed that this sacred responsibility is boldly etched in a communiqué they signed with the government and her development partners in Bo City sometime in April last year. He went on to say that the thrust of the communiqué is a call on them to start administering their people apolitically in a bid to arrest violence and other political crimes. This he said could be achieved in his district provided if the traditional leaders are determined to stop the cultivation and abuse of marijuana in their chiefdoms. The existence of the prohibited substance within the region he said is a potential threat to the behaviour of people.
On their part the religious representative, Pastor Saidu Kamara and Sheikh Nuru Deen Sesay called on their colleagues to see sense in incorporating attitudinal and behavioural change in their respective preaching.
On behalf of the non-governmental organizations operating in Koinadugu District Mr. Alusine Deen from the Catholic Relief Service maintained that as partners in development with government they long for political stability at all cost. Thus he called on various political operating within the region to start operating responsibly and stop seeing each other as puss and do.
In his contribution the National Electoral Commission representative, Mr. Kadjwa implore the participants to fancy exercising their franchise since according to him it is surest and legal means by which they can endorse leaders of their choice. He therefore encouraged them to desist from importing violence and fraud during electioneering.
Mrs. Hawa Conteh from the Political Parties’ Registration Commission (PPRC) in her exposé established that her institution heavily frowns at political violence and added in a drive to extricate this age-old lawlessness and sheer disrespect for opponents’ the PPRC has established a court where perpetrators of political violence could be tried, and if found guilty seriously punished as a way of setting precedent.
Several other meaningful inputs were been made by enthusiastic participants from the Sierra Leone Police, Regimental Sierra Leone Arm Forces, Civil Society, National Commission for Democracy, Youth and Women’s organizations. Conclusively, speaker after speaker decried called for tolerance among political parties.
Officially declaring the sensitization workshop open the Deputy Chairperson of Koinadugu District Council(KDC), Councilor Ruggi Marah maintained that the sensitization program will ensure the deliverance of President Koroma’s Agenda- for-Posterity because according to her the country is in no place to derive ample benefit from its abundant resources in the midst of debilitating attitudes and behaviours. She called on the attendees to take the program’s imbedded lectures seriously and make objective and sound inputs that they will be in a position to serve as ambassadors of the President’s vision. She called on the ABC Secretariat to be relentless in their push to raise the awareness of Sierra Leoneans and called for more assistance to the Secretariat so that it can effectively perform its functions. Councilor Ruggi Marah ended by assuring President Koroma and his development partners that after the conclusion of the ‘weeding out citizens’ of appalling trend of doing things the development of the country would be attained with utmost ease.
Making his presentation on the ‘Introduction of ABC Concept and Relevance of Political Tolerance’, the Executive Director of ABC Secretariat, Dr. Ivan Ajibola. S. Thomas laid bare that attitude entails the way in which people feel and think, in other words their mindset and heart-set. Whereas behaviour he said refers to the manners in which these emotional sentiments are expressed. According to him human beings greatly differ based on their diversified forms of attitudes and behaviours. He furthered that while positive attitudes and behaviours foster development, negative ones are very destructive. Against this backdrop he said that though a daunting task, it is worthwhile to work on the changing and modification of people’s attitudes and behaviour respectively. Dr. Thomas made a clarion call for the change in Sierra Leoneans way of feelings, thoughts and expressions which he said if not seriously undertaken the country will remain underdeveloped despite its endowment with mineral wealth.
On this note he encouraged the people not to politicize President Koroma’s call for attitudinal and behavioural change which he claimed is the possible course to rapid economic, social and economic recovery. He termed the adoption of brighter attitudes and behaviours as a win-win venture not only to the nation in general, but the individual specifically.
While throwing light on the relevance of political tolerance the Executive Director of the ABC Secretariat admonished that the concept is a revered requirement of multiparty democracy which he described obliges the electorates to elect the government of their choice which in return should be responsible to provide and protect them. Political intolerance Dr. Thomas went on to say that the attack on people because of their political belief and association is not only unlawful, but it also violates the victims’ basic human rights.
He urged them to stop rebuking people because of the color of their attires simple it is identified to a specific political party and further denounced the barring of particular parties from campaigning in places considered as others stronghold.
Being the fabric of societal development, the family he said should be the nursing ground for political tolerance and other positive attitudes and behaviours. Dr. Thomas reprimanded why Sierra Leone which is renowned for religious and other forms of tolerances should keep being a state where conflagrations among and within political parties remain the order of the day. In his view the outcome of the2012 polls is very much significant as it will tell the world whether the citizens are in variance with democratic virtues or not. And therefore warned the electorates present to restrain from violence and fraud.
Sierra Leone which he narrated was founded on the pillars of love, unity, freedom and justice must endeavor to see that these virtues do no varnish within its institutions due to the proliferation of bad manners. He concluded by calling on the political leaders, especially those from the two oldest ones, to keep encouraging their members to respect the views of others from opposing parties.
In her presentation on the topic ‘Positive Attitude and Behaviour for Peaceful Coexistence, National Cohesion and Development’ the National Coordinator and Second-in-Command of ABC Secretariat, Madam Nanette Thomas called for the empowerment of women whom she classed as the power behind any development. Towards this end she denounced domestic violence, advocated for the enrollment and retention of girls in schools, and giving women a fair political playing field.
She challenged the women to take a lead in their emancipation and thus urged them to be law abiding, determined and focused. The National Coordinator and Second- in- Command of ABC Secretariat called for the establishment of user- friendly and accessible institutions that will crackdown on usurpers of women’s right more so those who sexually abuse female students.
Madam Thomas called on her audience to try to make their attitudes and behaviours admirable by managing their finances, relationships, environments, spiritual lives and health well. She further encouraged them to be courageous, understanding and patient while facing the challenges of life. She ended by calling on them, especially the youths to avoid stupid attitudes and behaviours which she asserted could lead to early death.
The ruling APC and opposition SLPP, PMDC, NDA,PDP, UDM, UNPP, RUFP, CDP and PLP were represented by Sheku Lamin Kargbo, Wurrie Jalloh, Foday Sannoh, Alpha Usman Jalloh, Siadu Barrie and Ballah Marrah. The political actors thanked the Secretariat for sensitizing them on the ills of political violence and pledged that they will do their very best to pass on the knowledge to their party members before the coming polls.
The session was climaxed by an over charged questioning time that was facilitated by Programme Manager of ABC Secretariat, Ishmael Cole.
In his vote of thanks the Secretariat’s Northern Region Coordinator, Daniel Sara Turay thanked the people of Koinadugu for fully cooperating with the Secretariat and assured them of a good working relationships.
By Momoja Lappia
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