By Bampia Bundu
The Council of Paramount Chiefs is reported to have suspended the activities of the Poro society across the country, this paper has been reliably informed.
Explaining the reason for taking this action at a two day national consultative conference organized by the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) at the Bank of Sierra Leone Complex at Kingtom in Freetown on May 30 this year, the Chairman of the National Council of Paramount Chief, Paramount Chief Charles Coker of Bumpeh Chiefdom in the Moyamba District, commended the HRCSL for organizing what he referred to as a wonderful conference for all stakeholders in the electioneering process in the country.
He said he was especially happy to see that all Paramount Chiefs were fully represented at the meeting and made meaningful contributions.
He explained that over the years they have received several concerns from the Office of National Security (ONS), the Sierra Leone Police and other security and intelligence bodies reporting that they have learned that a lot of people want to use the secret Poro society to intimidate other political parties from entering certain parts of the country.
He disclosed that after they have thoroughly investigated the reports, they have found out that indeed certain groups of people have plans to misuse the Poro society for their own selfish gains. He revealed that based on this revelation they have decided to suspend the activities of Poro societies across the country until the November 17 general elections are concluded.
In his statement, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Musa Tarawally, explained that it is very important that the activities of Poro society be suspended by the Council of Paramount Chiefs in the country as they have learned that some greedy politicians want to use these societies to intimidate their opponent in order to score political gains.
He added that the suspension of such activities will help tremendously in ensuring the free movement and association of people right across the country.
He maintained that gone are the days when politicians go about claiming a particular region as their stronghold, stressing that all political parties have the right and privilege to move from one region to the other without fear of entering any area.
He used the forum as an opportunity to stress that Government is committed to ensuring the peace and stability of the country and in ensuring a free, fair and transparent 2012 multi tier elections.
He also maintained that the All Peoples Congress (APC) is a peaceful and God fearing party that is committed to upholding the peace and stability of the country.
Also making his contribution, the National Chairman and Leader of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin, expressed his party commitment and determination to ensure that the upcoming elections would be peaceful, free, fair, transparent and credible.
He called on the Paramount Chiefs to desist from wearing party colours while they are discharging their duties in their Chiefdoms.
He concluded by appealing to the Sierra Leone Police to be neutral in discharging their duties, stressing that there is constant need for all political parties to constantly dialogue on the way forward in building this nation.