of the United Methodist Women’s Organisation
We, the Women of the United Methodist Church of Sierra Leone met from 3rd to 6th May 2011 at the CCSL Hall in Brookfields, Western Area of Sierra Leone during which we stated that We the Women of UMC, We are all One!!!
We also stated just as any church has members belonging to many tribes but who are all one body in the Lord Jesus Christ so also is Sierra Leone made up of many tribes but we are all One People living in One Nation.
We also stated that inside Sierra Leone at this point with three major elections (Presidential, Parliamentary & Local Councils) looming next year 2012, the matter of tribalism is a serious negative factor against the peaceful existence of our country as a united Nation.
We believe that Sierra Leoneans need to engage the negative aspect of tribalism as a matter of urgency so we can develop more ideas to tackle this problem in our midst.
We believe that Women can be the main catalyst for Change in our societies and wish to become involved as Women in the fight to eradicate negative tribalism.
We however recognise the challenges faced by Women who might want to take the leadership roles in such important fights against tribalism as a political tool especially the use of Gender and Sexual-based Insults against them by their detractors.
In the above light, we hereby make the following declarations:
We will use Christianity as a tool to break down tribal barriers. Within our churches, we will ensure leadership roles reflect multi-tribal faces and are not limited to only one tribal leaning.
We will strip ourselves of all forms of destructive tribal consciousness and instead replace it at every opportunity with the promotion of Love and Unity as the Solid Rock for a United Sierra Leone. As from now, we will always promote sincerity in all our dealings with fellow Sierra Leoneans especially our fellow Women.
We will promote the concept that inter-mingling with other ethnicities at all levels of social life is good for better understanding.
We condemn segregation and tribal bunching together to the detriment of others in our communities.
We will, so as not to cause extinctions of our ancestral heritage, respect our tribal and cultural differences BUT only in so far as such differences are not used for destructive reasons such as for political electioneering campaigning.
We will openly and strongly condemn any form of politicking by any politician who promotes first his tribal or regional credentials rather than his personal capabilities for any political position.
We will regularly celebrate the leadership roles of great women like late Madam Ella Koblo Gulama of Moyamba who led the way in mende land for the eradication of tribalism.
We will strongly discourage disparaging statements about other tribes especially in the midst of our children and young adults.
We will discourage stereotyping by tribes to the extent of taking such messages against stereotyping down to the grassroots of our localities.
We recognise that injustice can sometimes flare up heated tribal conflicts such as happened when a certain Chief gave a perceived unjust ruling in Sanda that led to flaring up of tribal tensions between Temnes and Fulas and so we will speak out against any form of injustice.
We will respect and support all Women regardless of their tribal differences from us and we will now become new agents of respect for Womanhood and eschew all gossips, hatred and jealousy amongst ourselves.
We will no longer sit by quietly and allow Gender based and Sexual Insults to be levied against leading women in our communities. We will henceforth speak out in the face of such unwarranted gender-based insults against our Women Leaders.
We will encourage the involvement of all persons in our society in this important fight to ensure we promote the beauty of Womanhood and the Destruction of the Negative Aspects of Tribalism. In this light, we will make a very conscious effort to ensure all illiterate persons in our communities are also involved in our activities.
We will more highly develop our God-given sense of Free Will to make us even stronger as we resist those who might want to use us to promote tribalism.
We will refuse to become tools in the hands of men including our fathers, brothers and husbands whom might wish to use us to display tribal negative sentiments in our local communities.
We recognise that even as Women, we can also be guilty of creating tribal barriers such as discouraging our sons and brothers from taking brides outside of our tribes and groupings. We will ensure we not only eschew such negative tribalism but we will be on high alert for our fellow Women in inter-tribal marriages who are suffering from such tribal barriers in their marital homes and take measures to support them whilst counselling their in-laws to desist from such negative tribal practises.
Finally, as the 2012 Elections gets closer and closer everyday, We, the Women of the United Methodist Church vow to engage all possible Media Outlets to disseminate the message that Tribalism is not a worthy index to be used to choose our country and communities political leaders. The message must be Capability and NOT Tribalism for the 2012 General Elections.
All the above declarations were done under the sponsorship of the Regional Missionary Initiative of UMC’s School of Christian Mission with facilitation of Sister Elmira Sellu, Sister Beatrice Fofanah & Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden to whom all, we the undersigned express our deepest gratitude. Signed at Brookfields on 6th Day of May 2011 by the following persons:
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.