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NEWS : Politics  

SLPP and APC sign MOU against Political Violence
By Aruna Turay
Apr 3, 2009, 17:22
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Sierra Leones two major political parties, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and the All Peoples Congress (APC) Party yesterday 2nd April 2009, signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) in the conference hall of State House, where all dignitaries entering the hall easily sensed that the atmosphere reflected the two partys commitment to a peaceful resolution of the recent violence; even the beautiful flowers used to design the High Table were of green and red colours, representing that of the two partys political colours. In the hall, both parties pledged to work together to prevent further political violence in the country.

In a joint communiqu signed in front of President Ernest Bai Koroma and officially witnessed by the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General (ERSG) of the United Nations, Michael von der Schulenburg, the Chairmen and Secretary Generals of APC and SLPP vowed to work jointly in preventing a recurrence of the disturbances witnessed in March 2009.

Before the signing of the MOU, the ERSG congratulated the two political parties for committing themselves to the communiqu. "Sierra Leone is a lovely country so there is a huge responsibility for political parties to upkeep and strengthen the state by saying no to violence" the ERSG stated, adding that the two parties deserve great credit for recognizing their joint responsibility to reject violence, and the International Community must do what it can to support them.

On his part, the Administrative Chairman of the APC, Mr. Birch Conteh, thanked the U.N family and the ERSG for coming in to settle the political violence between the two parties. "It is indeed sad to have a third party to come between us when we have conflict, but we as political parties must see this as a turning point to say no to violence. The APC is committed to this communiqu and will do all in its capacity to ensure that it is followed and implemented" Birch Conteh stated.

The SLPP Chairman Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin, acknowledged the Presidents and Governments overall authority under the constitution, whilst stating that the recent violence has already caused alarm in the minds of Sierra Leonean citizens and tarnished the international image of Sierra Leone and agreed to a series of commitments to joint action. "While we must learn from our painful historical experiences, we maintain that we should not be haunted by those memories, instead, we commit ourselves to building a peaceful, democratic and prosperous Sierra Leone for the benefit of all of our people. The SLPP brought peace and SLPP will ensure that we keep the peace and uphold it" the Opposition Leader said, while calling on the APC to ensure that the communiqu is implemented accordingly by all parties. Mr. Benjamin stressed on the need for an impartial Sierra Leone Police and Judiciary, both of whom he said must be independent for the development of the country. He assured the Government of the SLPPs total support to the implementation of the communiqu.

Following these statements, President Koroma rendered his own speech which was warmly received by virtually everyone present. The Presidents speech was followed by the official signing of the communiqu. The Speech and Text of the Communiqu are reproduced on Pages 6 & 7 of this edition. The ceremony was climaxed with cheerful smiles, hugs and laughter between members of the two parties.


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