Interview with Charles from MasterPeace Sierra Leone. He and his team intervened in a riot last year an knew how to end the violence in their city.
1.Since when does MasterPeace Sierra Leone exist?
MasterPeace Sierra Leone was officially launched on the 21st September 2011.
2.Why did you start MasterPeace SL?
I established the MasterPeace Club in Sierra Leone, because I want to see that the peace in Sierra Leone becomes sustainable and that we will never return to the situation of ten years ago when we were in the brutal and senseless civil war that left over 50.000 people dead.
3.What is the political situation at the moment in Sierra Leone?
At this moment, Sierra Leone is still in a crucial situation and the peace in the country is fragile despite the relentless effort the government is making to maintain the peace in the country. The political status is scaring because we have politicians that have the country at heart and those that have selfish interest in attaining power. These are the kind of politicians who do not want to see the country in peace but go out there to abuse the marginalized youth to perpetrate violence in some
parts of the country. What we need now, and what we also try to achieve with MasterPeace Sierra Leone, is to arrange for measures and strategies, together with the international community, to put a halt to future crises now that we are seeing the early warning signs.
4.What is happening in Sierra Leone at the moment on a political level?
For the past month the country has been in panic because of the shooting and killing of some innocent civilians by the police in Bo city, Gbubuna and Freetown. According to investigations more than seven innocent civilian have been shot to death by the Sierra Leone police while many others have been wounded and hospitalized.
5.What happened exactly during the riot youth and the police in SL?
In June last year, MasterPeace Sierra Leone played a leading role in settling the riot between the police and the youth of Wellington community where the police shot three innocent young boys dead and one is still hospitalized. The boys were on guard at night because of the rampant arm robbery in the capital. The boys halted a vehicle at about 2am in the morning, but the driver tried to
escape with the passengers in the vehicle. Unfortunately he ran into the wrong direction and ended up stopping at a swampy area. Everyone in the vehicle ran out.
The boys who were on guard decided to take the abandoned vehicle to the police when they saw a black jeep with armed men in police uniform. They were happy to see the police at first but in less than a minute they heard gunshot and fell dead on the ground. The parents of the boys came out immediately and saw every member of the community crying. The police then took the dead bodies to the station with handcuffs on their hands in order to convince the citizens and the government that the boys are thieves.
This accelerated the situation and other youngsters then decided to take revenge for the loss of their friends. When they asked for the bodies of their friends, they finally got them after
some intervention of contacts of the Police Inspector and a ransom of Le 10,000,000 (2,247,19USD). This was like an insult to the youth and they decided to take the bodies to the Columbia Device funeral home. The police misconstrued this and informed the president and the public that the youth had decided to march to the office of the president with the remains. They were stopped by the police and a riot took place which led to throwing stones and shooting by the police. The whole city was in panic, MasterPeace Sierra Leone risked everything and advanced to the area and tried hard to calm down the situation which was successful and the members of our Club later called on the National Youth Commissioner Mr. Anthoney A Koroma who complemented the effort of MasterPeace Sierra Leone. Together we worked hard to resolved the situation. MasterPeace Sierra Leone was also recognized for such a good work by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and other organizations. Presently MPSL is called upon whenever any riot or violence takes place in the country by the citizens and stakeholders because of our indelible effort and support in mediating the peace in the country.
Because MasterPeace Sierra Leone was the first organization that visited the community after the youth have returned back by the force of the police, we could save the situation from escalating because the youth was ready to make a comeback with re-enforcement which would have put more lives at risk. After hours of persuasion by MasterPeace volunteers, we got a head way and commitment from the youth that they would allow MPSL to forward their grievances to the government and stakeholders. MPSL was at the fore front of every decision made by the government and the National Youth Commission. Master Peace Sierra Leone is represented as key facilitator in the Inquest set up by the President in June 2012 to look in all the cases of death coursed by the Sierra Leone police in the country. We are very much proud of been prominent in Sierra Leone.
6.How did you feel afterwards?
After all these happenings, I was treated like a hero and very happy that as young as 25 year old I have done great to the development of my country and I now know the people of Sierra Leone have confidence in my work. Now I need to put more effort to develop my country. If I was working five hours a day now I should add it to ten hours a day because I don’t just want people to know what I am doing but also want to live legacy/history and my name be in the history book of Sierra Leone after I would have gone to meet my ancestors after completing my service to my nation (God be my helper)
7.How do you think MasterPeace SL can contribute to future events in your country?
I know with the achievement made so far by MasterPeace Sierra Leone within one year, there are more great things to happen and I as the Coordinator want to see MasterPeace Sierra Leone become a leading organization in building the peace in my country, especially in the area of mediation and reconciliation. This is why I am relentlessly working to seek funding in and out of Sierra Leone so that we would work more effective in the country. I therefore want to call on the attention of all interested organization around the world to give your support to MasterPeace Sierra Leone so that together we would sustain the peace in the country.
Do you also want to start your own MasterPeace Club
? If you have any questions, just give Aida, our Clubs project manager, a buzz at email@example.com