YaDA-SL Ends Youth Driven Dialogue Conference on Democracy

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YaDA-SL Ends Youth Driven Dialogue Conference on Democracy
YaDA-SL Ends Youth Driven Dialogue Conference on Democracy

Africa-Press – Sierra-Leone. By Amin Kef (Ranger)

In celebrating International Day of Democracy 2022, which is celebrated in September every year as an opportunity to review the state of democracy in the world, the Youth Alliance for Democracy and Accountability Sierra Leone (YaDA-SL), a registered Non-Governmental youth led Civil Society Organization working towards the promotion of democracy, accountability, human rights, good governance and peace in order to bring long term change and sustainable development in the county has on Thursday 15th September, 2022 held its 1st National High-Level Youth Driven Dialogue Conference on Democracy on the theme: “Media Freedom: A catalyst to Democratic Good Governance”, at the New Freetown City Hall Auditorium.

Present at the ceremony were the Mayor of Freetown Municipality, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Chairperson of the National Commission for Democracy, Marian Samu, Executive Secretary of the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion, Hawa Samai, Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Tejan Kabba Foundation for Peace and Democracy, Amb. Souley B. Daramy, Deputy Commissioner, National Youth Commission, Emerson Kamara, Chairman of the All Political Parties Association, Prince Coker, National Coordinator of West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP),Dr. Isata Mahoir, representatives of Political Parties and over 500 young people across the country.

The conference was geared towards supporting the Government of Sierra Leone to strengthen institutions and processes that are more responsive to the needs of ordinary citizens, including the poor, as well as to promote sustainable development.

Some of the stakeholders present expressed their views, in panel discussions, in respect of constitutional rule across the country and how to strengthen political discourse in favor of consolidating democracy in the country.

On his part, the Executive Director of the Youth Alliance For Democracy and Accountability-Sierra Leone (YaDA-SL), Foday Moriba Conteh, said that this year’s commemoration of International Day of Democracy marked the 15th anniversary of the International Day of Democracy, a day to reflect on the democratic credentials nations have strived to achieve, the gains made, consolidated and the challenges to be surmounted.

He stated that according to the UN Secretary General: “Across the world, democracy is backsliding, Civic space is shrinking, Distrust and disinformation are growing and polarization is undermining democratic institutions.”

Foday Moriba Conteh continued by stating that today, because of the complexity of modern States what obtains is Representative Democracy where the citizens are at liberty to choose their representatives, through periodic elections, to represent them in Parliament, speak and make laws in their best interests.

He said that during this International Day of Democracy, the focus is on one of the cornerstones of democratic societies – a free, independent, and pluralistic media as the theme of the conference was: “Media Freedom: A Catalyst for Democratic Good Governance”, a theme which, he said, could not have been more appropriate at any other given time than now.

He further dilated on the Freedom of Expression of journalists. “Indeed, attempts to silence journalists are growing more brazen by the day from physical to verbal assault to online surveillance and legal harassment especially against women journalists.

Media workers, at given times, face censorship, detention, physical violence, and even killings often with impunity.”

The Mayor of Freetown City Council, Her Worship Yvonne Aki-Sawyer, who also made a statement during the ceremony, commended the Youth Alliance for Democracy and Accountability Sierra Leone for organizing such an event for young people to know about democracy and reflect their minds on the gains achieved and challenges ahead.

She gave a traditional definition of ‘Democracy’ as a Government of the People, by the People and for the People which was vivid to all and sundry.

Yvonne Aki-Sawyer elaborated on the term democracy and how its gives respect and rights to citizens in a democratic State. The Mayor said she believes in democracy because it puts people at the center of electing their representatives.

The Deputy Commissioner of National Youth Commission, Emerson Kamara, also commended YaDA-SL and partners for the laudable venture towards enhancing democratic governance in the country.

He noted that the social media can be used in various ways to promote democratic good governance in the country also urging young people to serve as agents of transformation in our beloved country.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ahmad Tejan Kabbah (ATK) Foundation for Peace and Democracy, Amb Soulay B. Daramy, expressed appreciation to the Youth Alliance for Democracy and Accountability Sierra Leone for their tremendous work towards leading young people on the path of democracy.

He said their Foundation is a non-profit organization that advocates for unity, peaceful coexistence, democracy, good governance, Girl Child Education, youth, and women’s empowerment of which he assured the Youth Alliance for Democracy and Accountability Sierra Leone of the Foundation’s continuous partnership towards strengthening democracy in the country.

In her keynote address, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Democracy (NCD), Marian Samu, encouraged young people to reflect their minds on the valuable words that are used in the National Anthem and Pledge.

She spoke on the role of the Commission and how they have worked tremendously to strengthen democracy in the country.

Marian Samu pointed out that the 15th September, 2022 marks the 15th year’s anniversary of the International Day of Democracy, adding that the purpose of the day is to review the state of democracy in the world, uphold and promote democracy and its principles.

She called on all Sierra Leonean to join hands towards strengthening and upholding democracy in the country. She concluded by expressing warmest appreciation to the Youth Alliance for Democracy and Accountability Sierra Leone for staging the 1st National High-Level Youth Driven Dialogue Conference on Democracy 2022 in the country, describing the move by the organization as a laudable effort towards the participation of young people in strengthening and upholding democracy in the country.

The conference was climaxed by a panel discussion on Democracy which was moderated by the National Coordinator of the Youth Alliance for Democracy and Accountability Sierra Leone Alfie Barrie.

Panelists included the Deputy Commissioner, National Youth Commission, Emerson Kamara, National Coordinator West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), Dr. Isata Mahoi, Member of Parliament Constituency 121, representing the Sierra Leone People’s Party, Hon. Lansana Kargbo, Executive Director of Center for Research Peace and Youth Affairs, Abdul Kpaka Secretary General, All Political Parties Youth Association, Samuel P.O.V Macauley, Western Area Chairman of the National Grand Coalition Party, Arthur E. Pearce. During the panel discussion participants were availed the opportunity to ask questions to the panelists.

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