Defence minister, (Rtd) Major Alfred Paolo Conteh, has said the challenge of total change in post-conflict Sierra Leone is a Herculean one.
The minister was speaking at the Santano House in Freetown as the keynote speaker at the official opening of the Peace and Development forum organized by the West African Network for Peace (WANEP).
He said there was dire need for consolidation of the hard earned peace after the country brutal war, and to heal the wounds after the presidential and parliamentary elections.
Alfred Paolo Conteh said, “it is no secret that the challenges of total change in post conflict Sierra Leone is indeed a Herculean one, however, with determination and commitment together we shall triumph”.
Explaining solutions to the problem, he said there was the need to assess the efficacy of existing approaches, instruments and mechanisms in the light of new threats and challenges.
He acknowledged that peace was recognized as the absolute pre-requisite for the establishment of national unity and growth alongside the attainment of good governance and economic development “conversely, developing the required doctrines, institutions and processes are necessary conditions for the prevalence of sustainable peace and security in the country”.
The defense minister envisaged that to enjoy post conflict country, there was “the need for a multiplicity of initiatives for peace and security …the will range from grassroots, peace building efforts such as people to people reconciliation process and numerous peace education workshop and measures to curtail the illegal use of small arms”.
At the strategic level, he adduced, national mechanisms were in place to monitor indicators of insecurity as the office of national security structured for analyzing national threats and response strategies.
Mr Conteh remarked that his solutions were not sufficient in the peace building efforts as “there is the need to combat poverty, infectious diseases and environmental degradation, thereby helping reverse the erosion of state capacity which is crucial to meeting almost every class”.
National coordinator of WANEP, Edward Jombla, said the purpose of the conference was to facilitate constructive dialogue among civil society groups and the state security in the interest of consolidation of peace and national development.
He said the conference was necessary for the country as she was faced with so many challenges in politics and citizen responsibility coupled with under development.