The civil war in Sierra Leone led to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) program in Sierra Leone that processed 72,000 individuals, the majority of whom were youth. Due to massive unemployment, the Sierra Leone Bike Riders Union, popularly known as the Okada Riders was born. The organization began in Makeni during the war when displaced youth banded together to provide a dirt-bike taxi service.
The organization expanded rapidly at the end of the war to its present membership of approximately 200,000 riders spread across the country, half of whom are ex-combatants (by the estimate of the Union’s President). (In contrast, a US$10 million World Bank cash-for-work program has only managed to reach 25,000 youth, and only on a temporary, unsustainable basis).
The Sierra Leone’s Okada Riders is an example of youth empowerment and social mobilization effort which is crucial to peace and democracy is Sierra Leone. NDA will seek a joint partnership with this group to transforming its disciplinary habits, organizational skills and value oriented mind set into a more lucrative job opportunities such as factory jobs, other vocational, electrical and technical jobs that will generate better income and livelihood for them and their families.
SIERRA LEONE TRADER'S UNION
According to the Sierra Leone Traders Union, its mission is to promote the spirit of “trade unionism” in Sierra Leone through improved social, cultural, educational and economic conditions of its membership. It also aim at energizing good working relationship between and among social partners including the Sierra Leone Labor Congress, Local and Municipal Councils and other affiliated trade unions in Sierra Leone.
The Union of Traders is also collectively focus in assisting union members in securing better wages/salaries, conditions of work and short working hours regardless of race, gender and persons with disabilities. However, the Sierra Leone Trader’s Union faces so many constrains particularly on the declining economic conditions, the new health emergency of the Ebola outbreak and the lack of capital market in the banking system.
NDA’s vision is to capacitate such important group to be the vehicle of promoting “progressive entrepreneurship” and creating business ventures and opportunities for its members. The Sierra Leone Trader’s Union would be valuable partners in helping to eradicate urban and rural poverty, hunger and food shortages, reducing the low income gap, controlling social crimes and empowering women and youths to be productive citizens in their communities.
The National Democratic Alliance is committed to reducing the culture of ethnic polarization and patronage that has dominated political activities in Sierra Leone. The question of the “ethnic divide” is so divisive and dangerous that serious national ambition to move Sierra Leone from aid to development seem elusive and far-fetch. A patriotic consciousness is needed to remove tribalism from our national body politic.
No responsible government can make significant progress if it does not address the gender and ethnic factors. NDA will continue to promote its concept of “nation first” with its overall ambition of building an ethnically diverse political party that is inclusive and embracing. It will work to build a regional and the “all ethnic group concept” as a way to bring on board minority tribes that have been excluded and denied the opportunity to participate in our democratic system for so long.
Ethnic diversity will be a pilot project collectively aim at changing the subtle discrimination and marginalization of Sierra Leoneans who deserve better than the failed politics of “place and tribe.” We strongly believe that: by addressing these complex social issues in a genuine and measured manner, the path to economic freedom for millions of our citizens will be certainly guaranteed and attainable.
Sierra Leone is religiously a tolerant nation. This is one of the most successful national cohesiveness we enjoy and hope such character can be duplicated in the ethnic marginalization practice by the two main dominant political parties in Sierra Leone. If faith teaches us to be respectful of one another, to be tolerant and compassionate to others, we should see no difference in the strength of our diversity.
Communication in dialectic languages are positively a way to increase family bonds, encourage the principles of togetherness and promote mutual love. Thus, faith should be a complimentary medium to enhance such human relations skills particularly by helping us to look at what makes us the same people (Sierra Leoneans) rather than the other social variables of life.
The Muslim and Christian communities have been very instrumental from shaping the religious tolerance of Sierra Leoneans to building a culture of respect and the God-fearing aspect of the human thinking. NDA will promote such aging successes and provide the regulatory frame work to advance the collective goal of professing the divine faith in God and the need to co-exist together in the spirit of commonality and compassion.