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SLAJ CONCERNED OVER INCREASE IN HATE SPEECH & TRIBALISM AHEAD OF THE RUN-OFF THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN SIERRA LEONE

March 17, 2018

By  Mohamed K.M Bangura

SLAJ PRESIDENT KELVIN LEWIS

SLAJ PRESIDENT KELVIN LEWIS

Following the just concluded first round Presidential elections in Sierra Leone between 16 political parties on the 7th of March and no political party reached the threshold of 55% which gave space for a run-off that will take place on the 27th of March 2018,Now the body responsible for the media in the country that’s The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) is deeply concerned about the increase in hate speech and tribal slants creeping into the conversation on the elections ahead of the run-off slated for 27th March 2018.

In a press released the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists views this trend of political discourse as ugly for the  descent democracy and its potential to undermine the peace and stability of the Country.

The Association stated that country is  hugely admired across the world for its ethnic and religious tolerance which are deeply rooted in its culture. Any attempt to tamper it with  enviable attribute will spell doom for the country’s generation yet unborn.
The Association  therefore condemn any politician (or political party) playing the tribal card and ethno-regional sentiment in their campaigns to secure votes in the run-off election on the 27th of March.

SLAJ condemned  and dissociated itself  from any journalist who peddle hate speech and preach tribalism in their publications/commentaries/analyses on the elections.

All  journalists and their media houses in the country were asked  to resist any attempt by politicians to use them to promote divisions among the people.

As evident in the SLAJ National Dialogue Series in the run up to the elections, and the 2018 Presidential Debate Series, SLAJ continued to encouraged politicians, political parties and their supporters to focus on issue-based discourse around the elections rather than personalities or tribal/regional sentiment.

The SLAJ President, Kelvin Lewis, says: “This country belongs to all of us, we should stop this nonsense about tribe or region and begin to show love for this land that we love, our Sierra Leone.”
This press released came out because of the serious tension between the two main political parties, that’s The Sierra Leone People’s Party SLPP and The ruling All People’s Congress Party APC in their run-off campaigns that stated on the Thursday the 15th of March
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