Chairman and Leader of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), Chief Bai Shebureh Sumanoh Kapen III said last Friday that incidences of youth violence in Sierra Leone pose a serious security risk.

Somano Kapen

While speaking at the maiden delegates’ conference of the ten months old Alliance Democratic Party (ADP) at the Miatta Conference Hall, Youyi Building in Freetown, Chief Kapen said massive youth unemployment in the country was the bedrock of incessant violence among young people, adding that when youths are in a state of despair they are vulnerable to adverse conditions that are fueled by bad politicians.

The SLPP leader asserted that “the country is faced with complex challenges. One of it is the massive youth unemployment. The young people are undergoing an adverse mood of despair which poses a serious security risk in this country. Unless appropriate steps are taken to address this all important issue of youth unemployment, there is likely to be no hope because when the youths are in a state of despair, they move towards a state of desperation.”

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He admonished the youthful delegates of the ADP and other political parties to eschew violence and embrace each other. He noted that 90 percent of the ADP delegates were youths and that any iota of violence could escalate.

He alluded to the violent clash between supporters of David Gbla and Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray at the ADP headquarters on Rawdon Street in Freetown few days to the conference, adding that such confrontation could lead bloodshed. The SLPP leader said a political party of less than a year should maintain tranquility if they want to thrive.

The erstwhile traditional ruler cum politician said youths must be mindful as to how they relate with politicians as he hinted that the latter can changed within a twinkle of an eye.

“A politician is like a flower, it sprouts, blossoms, withers and dies out. Youths of this country must be aware of that fact. Don’t allow us [politicians] to use you wrongly. The future of this nation lies in your hands,” he said.

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He said his party, the SLPP, had achieved three significant achievements that no political party would ever accomplish in the country: that his party took the country from ‘colony to independent state’, settled the eleven years civil war in 2002 and encourages tolerance in the democratic process.

“We are the party that opens free tolerance and democratic state, if not, your gathering here today would not have been possible, but the SLPP takes pride of setting the pace for a democratic society,” he opined.

The ADP delegates’ conference was concluded last Friday, with a new national executive, headed by Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, elected to take the party to the 2018 presidential and general elections.