We, Church leaders of various member churches of the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL), met in a symposium organized by CSSL in collaboration with the World Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches at the conference hall of CCSL on Thursday 15th April 2010 and deliberated on the theme:
"Overcoming Ethnicity for National Cohesion, Peace and Development in Sierra Leone"
We offer our appreciation to the Hon. Alimamy P Koroma, the Minister of Works, who deputized His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and delivered the keynote address. Through him, we offer our thanks to His Excellency.
In our deliberations we affirmed that Ethnicity is, in itself, not negative as it is a gift from God to be cherished. We should identify the strengths of each ethnic group and use them for national development.
We realized however, that "ethnicism" and "ethnocentrism" are prevalent in our nation and that does not make for national cohesion, the needed national development and the sustenance of our fragile peace.
"The politicization of Ethnicity" and the "Ethnicisation of politics" present great danger for our nation and a potential cause for conflict in our nation.
A. We call on the Government to:
1. Review our present voting system which only increases the tension of ethnicism.
2. Expedite the implementation of the TRC Recommendations with urgency and sincerity of purpose.
3. Practically account on issues, ideologies and equitable distribution of resources.
4. Fast track the discussion on the land tenure system.
5. Discourage the tendency to marginalize or exclude individuals from offices or award contracts on regional basis or along ethnic lines as that spells danger to the nation.
6. Restructure our educational system so that opportunity is awarded the recipients to analyze what is imbibed.
B. We call on all Religious Leaders to:
1. Be sensitive to the politics of ethnicity of purpose.
2. Be more effective in their prophetic engagement and challenge such issues as and when they confront the nation, without fear or favour.
C. As member churches of CCSL, we commit ourselves to:
1 . Continue the process already begun
2. Seeking the accompaniment of our ecumenical partners on this issue
3. The replication of this symposium in the various districts in the country
4. Being proactive on issues and thus avoid the fire brigade mentality.
D. We thank UNIPSIL for their presence and call on them to continue to journey with us