WASHINGTON, DC – A prominent Catholic priest in Sierra Leone has called on Sierra Leoneans to redirect their vision, thinking, and actions into a new direction that would put the interest and prosperity of the country first.
Father Peter Alpha Konteh said Sierra Leone belongs to all those who call the land their home, and as such, partnering to make the country a better place to live and work should be paramount and above all else. He said no one benefits when one group of Sierra Leoneans decide to become anarchists and violent because of political ideologies and disagreements.
Father Konteh, who is also executive director of Caritas Freetown and head of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Freetown Development Office, said religious leaders in Sierra Leone should not limit themselves to the pulpit in the church or mosque or temple. They should engage with civil society and political groups and preach peace, tolerance, and collaboration.
“If religious leaders engage with the faithful, together we can put Sierra Leone in a better place. Our influence should not just be limited to Sunday and Friday services as religious leaders. We should always engage the population, in their lives, their actions, and in the national decision-making process.”
The outspoken Catholic clergy said religious leaders cannot wait or sit until things get out of hand in any country. Part of our work as religious leaders is to preach redemption, reconciliation, justice, fairness, and peace.
Father Konteh said the world is facing extraordinary and uncontrollable health crises, the COVID 19.
“As Sierra Leoneans, we cannot defeat the devastation and effects of the global Coronavirus if we are not united and remained peaceful as a people. Politics, especially bad and ugly tribal and regional politics should not divide us,” he said.
He said Sierra Leoneans need to pay close attention to Pope Francis’s message at the 50th World Day of Peace in 2017.
“When victims of violence can resist the temptation to retaliate, they become the most credible promotors of nonviolent peacemaking,” Pope Francis.
Father Konteh said no matter what one’s political ideology or differences with other political groups in the country are; such differences should not be at the detriment of the Sierra Leonean people and the nation. He said Sierra Leoneans need to support incumbent President Julius Maada Bio to move the country forward and address the internal and external challenges facing the country.
He urged opposition Sierra Leoneans and those associated with the ruling party to promote political decency, tolerance, and collaboration.