Let’s “prioritize dialogue”: Caritas Official in Sierra Leone amid Post Election Protests

Credit: Fr. Peter Konteh

The Executive Director of Caritas Freetown of Sierra Leone’s Catholic Archdiocese of Freetown has called on the leadership of the West African nation to “prioritize dialogue” in efforts to address political differences following the June 24 general elections.

In his message shared with ACI Africa Wednesday, September 13, Fr. Peter Konteh weighs in on the political situation in the country, including the opposition-led nationwide protests, and cautions against violence “in all its forms”. 

President Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), who was sworn in on June 27 was declared the winner of the presidential elections, official figures giving him 56.17 percent of the vote against 41 percent for his competitor, Dr. Samura Kamara of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) .

Dr. Kamara rejected the results on the grounds that they did not represent the will of the Sierra Leoneans. On Monday, September 11, the opposition organized nationwide protests denouncing the high cost of living and the outcome of the general elections, which they said were fraudulent.

In his message shared with ACI Africa September 13, the Caritas Freetown Executive Director says, “In the face of challenges and disagreements, it is essential that we prioritize dialogue as the primary means of addressing our differences.”


“Violence, in all its forms, only begets destruction and suffering,” Fr. Konteh further says, adding, “Let us rise above the urge to resort to violence and instead embrace the power of dialogue – a forces that can lead us towards meaningful resolutions, understanding, and reconciliation.”

The member of the Clergy of Freetown Archdiocese underscores the significance of nonviolence, saying, “Dialogue is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength and maturity.”

“By engaging in open and respectful discussions, we can bridge divides, dismantle barriers, and foster a sense of unity,” he emphasizes.

The Caritas official calls for respect and tolerance amid diverse opinions. He says, “Diversity is a source of strength, as it brings forth a multitude of perspectives, ideas, and experiences.”

“Let us cherish this richness (diversity) and recognize that it is through understanding and appreciating our differences that we can build a stronger, more inclusive nation,” he says.

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The award-winning Catholic Priest who had been vocal about the 2023 elections goes on to caution Sierra Leoneans against “misinformation and harmful propaganda” that he says seeks to cause division, some messages on social media forums “blurring the lines between truth and falsehood.”

“It is our responsibility as citizens to be vigilant and discerning in our consumption of news and information. Let us critically evaluate sources, fact-check information, and question narratives that aim to manipulate our thoughts and emotions,” he says.

In rejecting false propaganda, Fr. Konteh says, “we safeguard the integrity of our democracy and ensure that our citizens are well-informed. We must stand united against those who seek to exploit our fears, manipulate public opinion, and sow discord among us.”

“The path to a better Sierra Leone lies in our hands. By prioritizing dialogue over violence, embracing our diversity, and rejecting harmful propaganda, we can build a society where every citizen feels safe, heard, and valued,” the Sierra Leonean Catholic Priest says in his message shared with ACI Africa September 13.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.