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‘’If I become President”: Episode Four

7 mins read

Sierra Leone is a country from decades of civil war that claimed the lives of many children and young people. The need for peace, and ensuring that our leaders are held accountable is essential in building a United Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone’s emerging leader Thomas Moore Conteh is the first son in a family of four boys. He was born in the mid-80s in a small but beautiful town known as Gbendembu, Bombali District, North of Sierra Leone. He hails from a humble Christian family with both parents’ teachers.

Like many other young people in Sierra Leone,  he grew up in a society that experienced the horrors of decades of civil war that left many Sierra Leoneans without families and places to call home. His parents implanted in him values of empathy, love, respect, hard work, and the fear of God. 

He holds a BA in Linguistics and Political Science, Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone in 2010 and also a Law Degree (LLB Hons) in 2014 from the same institution. 

His passion for advocating for the masses didn’t just stop at mobilizing people and resources, In November 2016, Thomas Moore Conteh and other likeminded Sierra Leoneans co-founded Citizens Advocacy Network (CAN). 

CAN is a civil society organization that promotes the ideals of human rights, rule of law, and democratic good governance in Sierra Leone. He is the current Executive Director of CAN. 

Advocating for Limkokwing Students

Through CAN, Thomas Moore Conteh has championed a number of advocacies bordering on human rights and rule of law. Quite recently, he selflessly championed a peaceful protest on behalf of disadvantaged students of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. Many sierra Leoneans see him as  one of the trusted voices in our country.

As a young man with huge potential, he has occupied several leadership positions including but not limited to, Secretary General of Western Area Baptist Youth Association (2006), President of Bai Bureh Hall FBC (2008), Chief Electoral Commissioner FBC 2009) and Spokesperson for National Union of Sierra Leonean Students NUSS (2012). 

Thomas Moore is a recipient of several national and international awards and honors. The most prominent Awards are:  the 50 Most Influential Young Sierra Leoneans Award in 2017, the 100 Most Outstanding Sierra Leoneans  Award 2018, 100 Most Influential Young Sierra Leoneans Award in 2019, Youth Ambassador 2019 and the Most Outstanding Civil Society Activist 2019.

In an exclusive interview with us at Salone Messenger in our new series: ‘’IF I BECOME PRESIDENT’’ which is intended to flesh opinions of Sierra Leone’s young emerging leaders and those in the street of Freetown on the future of a United Sierra Leone, here is what he said will  the first thing he will do if he becomes the President of Sierra Leone, why and how?

SM question

What will be the first thing you will do when you become president?

T.M.C Answer

SM question

Why?

T.M.C Answer

‘’There is no gain saying the fact that Sierra Leone has been gravely divided along regional, ethnic and political lines. This division has dangerously undermined our peace and national cohesion and has set us aback. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, the 11 years of civil war in Sierra Leone was fueled by endemic tribal and regional politics among other factors.

 Due to the war, thousands of lives were lost, properties worth billions of Leones were destroyed, poor citizens rendered homeless and our beloved nation’s developmental trajectory halted. At a time when our counterparts in West Africa and Africa were moving towards positive history we were busy destroying ourselves. We are still wallowing at the lower levels of the human developement index.

Over two decades after the war ended and a peace accord signed, we still battle with the vices of tribal and regional politics. Our nation is still divided in itself. Job placements, appointments, transfers, promotions, demotions, dismissals within the civil and public service are most often done against the backdrop of regional, tribal and political considerations. We continue to experience a vicious circle.

It therefore, goes without saying that there is need for deliberate and conscious steps to be taken to bridge the gap and foster a true spirit of peace national cohesion.’’

SM question

How?

T.M.C Answer

‘’In order to successfully build a peaceful and cohesive state, I will endeavor to implement the following among others:

▪️Establish a cross party committee to develop a national development roadmap. The said document will constitute the wishes and aspirations of the people.  

▪️Run a government of national unity where all political parties will feel part of the governance process. This could be achieved through cross party appointment in cabinet and other strategic positions.

▪️Allow all state institutions like the Judiciary, Parliament, and the Police to operate independent of undue external interference. 

▪️Job placements, appointments, promotions, transfers, demotions, dismissals within the public and civil service will be freely and fairly carried out.

▪️Equitable distribution of resources (infrastructure, economy, social amenities etc.) across the country. Protect human rights and uphold the rule of law.’’

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Sallu Kamuskay

Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean activist, storyteller, and blogger. He was born in Sierra Leone but later relocated to Guinea as a refugee because of the war in his country. Sallu Kamuskay uses his phone to engage on social media, under the name ‘’Salone Messenger’. He Co-Founded the Salone Messenger platform after his experience of the war, Ebola, and injustices. According to him, silence was the root cause of war, and of many social injustices, we continue to face as a nation. In 2013, during the Ebola crisis, Sallu Kamuskay took the risk and volunteered to fight Ebola. He spent some months in both safe and unsafe places; helping the victims and telling their sad stories. The election in 2018, left a divided country with communities fighting on tribal lines. This inspired Sallu Kamuskay to serve as the coordinator of the United Sierra Leone peace concert, which was organized in 4 major parts of the country, targeting violent communities and troubled youth. Sallu Kamuskay led a group of entertainers, activists, and organizations across the country on a peace tour, a program supported by the European Union, United Sierra Leone, Africa Union, ECOWAS, and the Messeh Leone Trust. Sallu Kamuakay has also served as a staff writer for the Hidden Voices Magazine.
Over the years, Sallu Kamuskay has been using his Techno phone to be able to tell stories, the phone he used to tell the story of Gbessay during Ebola who was admitted at one of the Ebola treatment centers after rumors that she had Ebola when the actual sickness was ulcer, she was almost abandoned at the treatment canter with no medication provided to her. She could have died. Sallu told the story via social media and was able to secure funding from the United Sierra Leone to buy her medication and advocated for her. She was later discharged and taken home, He did the same to a patient that died and was abandoned in the street, Sallu Kamuskay used his phone and shared the message across, the corps was later taken and buried. It could have been more disaster without his voice. The story of late America Stress 3-year-old daughter. The hero’s daughter was abandon after his father's death. He shared her sad story and was able to get a sister who has taken the child as her own and is currently providing her with educational support. The article of America Stress can be read on the link below http://ayvnewspaper.com/index.php/k2-categories/item/7350-america-stress-a-hero-to-recognize.
Sallu Kamuskay feels the stories of Gbessay, America stress and that of many others need to be told. The media house we have cannot better tell these stories, they are better reporters than telling human interest stories. He created the Salone Messenger platform and brought together passionate storytellers to be able to tell these compelling stories.

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