Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – The National Unity and Reconciliation Party (NURP) has presented a comprehensive position paper to the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion (ICPNC), urging for an inclusive approach to the ongoing peace mediation process in Sierra Leone.
In their position paper, NURP has made their stance clear and put forward recommendations to resolve the prolonged post-election political stalemate in the country. The party emphasized the importance of engaging with the senior leadership of all registered political parties to gain a better understanding of the incentive systems guiding the behaviour of political actors in Sierra Leone, particularly the issues that prevailed among the 17 registered political parties before the June 24th, 2023 elections. This, they believe, will assist the mediation team in identifying and building consensus on how to address the underlying structural issues contributing to the prevailing political tension and stalemate.
NURP appealed to the Mediation Team to consider designing and facilitating a National Political Dialogue Forum. This forum would include representatives from various segments of society, such as the Government of Sierra Leone, Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs), registered political parties, civil society organizations, media and journalists, members of parliament, local government authorities, inter-religious groups, the private sector, youth and women organizations, war victims, and international development partners. The Dialogue Agenda should address critical issues such as ongoing protests, demonstrations, civil disobedience, and political boycotts, and propose adjustments to the current constitutional, legal, and institutional democratic governance frameworks to foster post-election inclusive political transition.
The NURP emphasized the need to overcome identity politics, divisiveness, hate speech, and harmful rhetoric stemming from the current electoral model in Sierra Leone. They recommended encouraging the government and parliament to promote AU and ECOWAS democratic norms and standards in fulfilment of international charters and protocols.
The party also urged the Mediation Team to address pressing issues affecting the Sierra Leonean populace, including the high cost of living, economic hardship, corruption, unemployment, poverty, inequality, marginalization, and exclusion. Specific attention should be given to vulnerable populations such as war victims, amputees, war wounded, sexually abused women during the war, and disadvantaged youth and young girls.
The NURP stressed the importance of involving all political parties, including those that did not participate in the 2023 elections, in the design of the national political dialogue process. Their aim is to ensure that the root causes of threats to electoral democracy are adequately addressed, ultimately aiming to sustain democratic gains and move beyond regional and ethnic identity politics.
In closing, the NURP called for the guidance and support of the joint AU, ECOWAS, and the Commonwealth Mediation Team as Sierra Leone continues its political and democratic transformation process.
Jonathan Sandy, Chairman and Leader of NURP and the 2023 Presidential Candidate expressed concerns over the lack of transparency in the transmission of election results, which has raised doubts about the credibility of the final results. He highlighted that multiple candidates contested the elections, and if there are doubts about the legitimacy of the results, there should be a consultation on President Bio’s second-term swearing-in by the Chief Justice.
The NURP’s position paper advocates for inclusive and transparent dialogue to address the nation’s political challenges and promote a peaceful and stable Sierra Leone. MJB/17/10/2023