Welcoming the recognition by Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma that corruption poses a serious threat to the West African country, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that while he is encouraged by some improvements in its political climate, challenges to fostering political tolerance and promoting non-violence remain.
“There is an urgent need to build trust and mutual confidence between major political parties,” the Secretary-General states in his latest report on the work of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), designed to keep the country from slipping back into the violence that marked the long-running civil war that ended in 2002.
Noting recent clashes between the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) and the major opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Mr. Ban calls on both political parties to abide by the code of conduct in the joint communiqué of 2 April 2009.
The clashes “do not augur well for the peace and stability of the country,” nor for the presidential elections scheduled for 2012, he writes.
Looking at development within the country, the Secretary-General appeals to the international community to fill an anticipated shortfall in donor funding for the implementation of the Government’s so-called Agenda for Change, the national poverty reduction plan which focuses on ensuring a reliable power supply; increasing productivity in agriculture and fisheries; improving the national transportation network; and boosting social services.
“The attainment of these goals will in turn help to improve the difficult socio-economic indicators which have all contributed to making Sierra Leone a fragile State, notwithstanding progress thus far achieved,” Mr. Ban says.
He also calls on international development partners to provide additional support to the National Human Rights Commission and the Government’s Special Trust Fund for War Victims. In addition, he requests Member States to donate vehicles and boats for Sierra Leone’s security sector agencies to improve their ability to fight organized crime.