President Bio went on to state that while some of our elections are still characterized by low levels of violence and intimidation, the growing politicization of ethnicity and ethno-regionalism have become recurrent albeit objectionable patterns of our politics.
He added that politicians have tampered with critical national data either for political gerrymandering or to justify the uneven allocation of state resources.
He said that in the recent past, the country witnessed heightened sycophancy and saw leaders being turned into demagogues and people overlooked rampant corruption because the looters were politically loyal to them.
According to him, governance processes have been characterized by discriminatory and divisive practices that have unfairly and unjustly excluded sections of our population. He used the opportunity to prevail on the media and civil society not to foster disinformation and hate; adding that press freedom is not freedom to sow strife and discord, but that press freedom should enrich our civic discourses for the development and not the division of our nation.
President Bio added: “Let us hold ourselves accountable as traditional and local council leaders for enriching the lives of our people. We continue to see chiefdoms that are be-devilled with consistent social challenges. We continue to see and address the inadequacies and limits of local governance and their corresponding impact on social peace. We continue to witness registered political parties that display total disregard for due process and internal democracy as prescribed in the codes of conduct set by the Political Parties Registration Commission. We even see some parties setting supporters against senior party officials who hold alternative views on peace and cohesion in our country.”
He called on all and sundry to hold our own selves accountable for delivering justice fairly and speedily to those who deserve justice, adding that the inability of the poor and the vulnerable to access justice are sources of tension in the country.
He implored all present to “hold ourselves accountable as a nation for how we protect and provide access to services for the vulnerable,” adding, “Let us protect women from sexual violence, gender violence, and gender discriminatory practices and attitudes.” He further called on the general public to protect persons with disability, children, youth, and the aged and the poor, adding that as a nation, we must promote opportunity for every Sierra Leonean irrespective of ability, gender, or circumstance.
“Let us hold ourselves accountable for moving this country in the right direction, ensuring public confidence in state institutions. Let us hold ourselves accountable for public service delivery, for the quality of our schools, for the actions of our children, for the quality of our services, and for our attitude toward innovation and change. Let us hold ourselves accountable for supporting probity and transparency in our governance processes and in our daily lives. Do not pay or receive bribes and do not misuse public resources or public facilities. Let us hold ourselves accountable for how we treat our people and communities. Let us hold ourselves accountable for our civic responsibilities, protecting our rights, but also respecting the rights of other citizens. We must treat one another with fairness and justice,” the president implored his attentive audience.