A daylong orientation workshop on political tolerance and pluralism was Saturday held at the regional agriculture conference hall in Basse, Upper River Region. The multi-party engagement forum was organised by Beakanyang, a human rights and development NGO with support from the International Republican Institute, IRI.
Executive Director of Beakanyang, Nfamara Jawneh said the pre-Bantaba is a preparatory event ahead of their forthcoming district Bantabas in the region.
According to him, participants of the session will learn more about political tolerance and pluralism and develop peace messages to be use during the Bantabas.
Beakanyang boss commended the IRI for supporting the pre-Bantaba and other activities of the organization in the region.
Deputy Governor of URR, Samba Bah applauded the Beakanyang organization and its partners for organising such important event in the region, saying since people cannot buy peace, it should be everyones’ responsibility to maintain it.
He blamed the lack of political awareness and maturity in the country to political intolerance among political supporters.
Mr. Bah urged the participants to take the workshop seriously and to share the knowledge and message the gain from the forum with their members and wider society.
Sidia Jatta, National Assembly member for Wuli West decried politics of insult and vote buying, calling them dirty politics. He reminded the people about the Rwandan genocide during which hundreds of people were massacred. “We cannot all support one political party or issue but what is more important is to note that all parties want peace and party supporters should equally embrace peace,” he said.
The veteran politician urged people in the region to love one another and put aside their political and other differences for the development of the region. “We must ensure political tolerance if we want to live in peace with one another and use politics as a tool for development,” he added.
Chief of Basse Alhagie Hammeh Minteh Krubally hailed Beakanyang for promoting peace in the region and beyond, saying the forum was timely and relevant to the people of the region, considering the recent happenings in the region.
He stressed that issues such as political conflicts and problems resulting to the caste systems must be stopped and addressed once and for all.
He hailed national assembly members who attended the forum namely; Sidia Jatta of Wuli West, Alhagie Sowe of Jimara and Suwaibou Touray of Wuli East. “Your presence here today is a clear indication of your commitment to nurturing peace and development not only in your constituencies but URR in general,” he noted.
Lady Councilor of Jimara, Aja Jarai Jagana expressed happiness for attending such an important forum, noting that women are usually victims of political violence. She called on women to say no to political violence.
Alieu Kebbeh, chairperson of Inter-Party Youth Committee of URR commended Beakanyang for partnering with his committee to promote peace and social cohesion in the region.
The forum was attended by about thirty participants including representatives of all active political parties in the region, national assembly members and inter-party youth committee members.