Side-By-Side Organisation has vowed to promote peace and stability for sustained development as it held the 5th international diversity forum under the theme ‘diversity and inclusion: key to sustaining democracy and community peace at Alliance Francaise conference hall.
Speaking at the event, Honorable Halifa Sallah, PDOIS leader and NAM for Serekunda, called on Gambians to settle their religious and political differences for a prosperous and progressive nation.
“It is important that we bear in mind that the issue of tribe, religion, really these are not types of discourse we need in the 21st century, that should be behind us since 1970 when we became a sovereign republic. From 1970 Gambia should be a community of sovereign citizens, irrespective of their race, gender, origin, birth, religion and any other characteristic and there should be no discrimination based on all those categories.
“If we are to defeat ignorance we must seek knowledge, and freedom of thought without knowledge is barren. If we are to decide in peace, if we are to decide to live in liberty and prosperity we must know who we are, that is the starting point of freedom of thought, you must know your environment, you must know what to talk about,” Halifa said.
Also speaking, the National Coordinator SBSO, Hatab Fadera, added: “This is significant because it is addressing the rather complex but critical issue of diversity and inclusion; key elements vital to sustainable progress and peace for any civilized democratic society. It is no secret that the turn of political events in the Gambia since December 2016 has created some challenges, and necessitated more than ever before, the greater need to promote peace and sustain stability.
“Today, we are left to believe and act like we are indifferent to each other. It is in recognition of this challenge that we have decided to create this diversity forum as a platform to start addressing these challenges. The idea is to ensure that we build the consciousness of young people and Gambians at large so that we can better appreciate each other and learn to live and co-exist harmoniously.
Kaddy Kombo Saidy, secretary SBSO in her vote of thanks, assured the gathering that they will stay committed in promoting national and international peace and harmony among people of different faiths, political representation, background, ethnicity and race.