Vickie Remoe Institute of Digital Communications

Sierra Leoneans condemn Gento for allegedly appealing religious sentiment

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Sierra Leoneans across different social media platforms have condemned the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) mayoral aspirant, Mohamed Gento Kamara, for allegedly appealing to religious sentiment for votes. Kamara was seen on Friday, March 24, 2023, in a viral video campaigning in a mosque and preaching divisiveness.

Following the incident, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) issued a press release condemning the use of “religious rhetoric” for votes. 

In the press release that was issued on Sunday, March 26, 2023, SLAJ strongly condemned the act and called on the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRCSL)  to take appropriate steps to stop places of Worship from being used as campaign grounds to preach “hate and intolerance”. 

Religious tolerance is our last hope; it’s the bedrock of our coexistence & pride as a nation. A key component of SLAJ’s work in the 2023 elections is to combat disinformation & hate speech in all their forms. We’ll not allow our peaceful coexistence to be disturbed for political gains,” said Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, SLAJ President. 

An activist lawyer, Augustine Sorie-Sengbe Marrah, also took to Twitter to condemn the ruling SLPP mayoral candidate, for allegedly appealing religious sentiment and preaching divisiveness. In his tweet, Marrah expressed his pleasure that the “religious-flames-stoking” message from Gento received little reception in the masjid where it was allegedly preached.

He was not bound to get victory considering the APC-Freetown marriage, but he will lose the election due to that awful religiously biased message. I will not, in my right senses, endorse Gento nor campaign for him. We need better leaders,” a citizen said.

The main opposition All People’s Congress Party (APC) has also issued a press statement about the act of Gento, saying such an attitude will scale up tribal tension in the country.

Watch the video here.

Update: In response to these condemnations the media and public relations team of Mohamed Gento Kamara, in a press release issued on Monday, March 27, 2023, stated that the content of the mayoral aspirant statement was completely misread and misinterpreted.

The release further stated that the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) must respect the principles of fairness in journalism when reacting to a video of that nature. 

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