Monday, April 09, 2007

Sierra Leone`s war wounded threaten national poll boycott

Freetown, Sierra Leone 04/08 - Members of Sierra Leone`s association of War-wounded and Amputees have threatened to boycott the country`s 28 July presidential and parliamentary elections accusing the government of neglecting their welfare.
Kadiatu Fofanah, the association`s Vice-President, said the more than 1,000 members of the group would not vote in the polls, unless government implemented the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Lome (Togo) 2000 Peace Accord that ended Sierra Leone`s bloody decade civil war.
According to her: "The TRC report stipulates that a special war victims` fund should be set up 90 days after the report is submitted for implementation. But it is now two years and nothing has been done to this effect."
She claimed that despite a series of negotiations, the government and its agencies had failed to "address the health and education of our children, as well as transportation and other social problems through the payment of reparation as stipulated by the Truth and Reconciliation reports."
Sorie Sawaneh, of the Grafton displaced persons Camp, said: "We were convinced to go and testify before the Special Court, but nothing came out of it. We were promised by the Special Court and the government that they would expedite the implementation of the TRC recommendations, again nothing has happened."
He vowed: "Even though we have registered, we are not going to vote until our concerns are properly addressed by the authorities."
In his reaction, John Caulker, an official of local NGO "Forum of Conscience" and a member of the TRC working group, said it would be "dangerous" if the war-wounded and amputees boycotted the vote.

Link to AngolaPress - News