Kailahun Inclusive District Committee reconcile APC, SLPP

The Kailahun Inclusive District Peace and Development Committee, has as one of the mandates to coordinate all peace and development initiatives in the district in a way that helps all existing sectors,fulfilled their purpose in providing service to communities and facilitating healing and reconciliation in communities.This structure(IDPDC) which was formed three years ago is supported by Fambul Tok and Catalyst for Peace

Reconciliation at work

Reconciliation at work

 

During the electioneering process,there were reported cases of political violence and threats among members of the All People’s Congress and the Sierra Leone People’s Party in Kissi Teng chiefdom,Kailahun district.This caused serious tensions,especially in Bumassadu and Lela section.

Allegations are that some members of SLPP had threatened APC and promised to deal with them because of utterances during campaign period.Some members of APC were said to have equally threatened SLPP supporters

Immediately after the National Electoral Commission officially announced the results declaring the SLPP candidate winner on April 4,2018,SLPP members and supporters went into wild jubilation.This increased tension in Kangama town.

Residents reported that some members of APC who had earlier  made sarcastic commentswent into hiding for fear of reprisals.This continued for a couple of days.The entire chiefdom seemed to be on a ticking time bomb more especially when the Paramount Chief was not available to adress the issue

Peace meeting in progress

Peace meeting in progress

Because of this trend,the Committee decided to handle the situation by organizing peace and reconciliation meeting in Kangama last Friday,April 20

In his remarks,District Officer,Kailahun,William Ngegbai said the meeting was timely as the entire chiefdom was under serious security threat since the pronouncement of Presidential results

He called on members of both APC,SLPP and other stakeholders to ensure there is stability in the chiefdom

‘You dont need to fight or intimidate each other because all of you are from this chiefdom and in one way or the other are related’ Ngegbai cautioned

He emphasised that ‘ when President Bio took over,he said he is not President for SLPP or APC but for everyone in the country and therefore there is no need to attack one another

The DO called on the people of Kissi Teng to be law abiding and not to take the law into their hands

Paramount Chief calling for peaceful resolution

Paramount Chief calling for peaceful resolution

Acting chairman of IDC,Madam Isata Ndolleh Kaikai catalogued success stories of the Committee since its inception three years ago.She said one of the mandates of the committee is to facilitate peace and reconciliation in communities and that was why they decided to organize such meeting in Kangama

She stated that similar meetings were held in Dia,Kissi Kama and Baoma in Luawa chiefdoms

In his remarks,Paramount Chief Emmanuel Ganawa said he was not surprised as Fambul Tok preaches peace and reconciles people

He lamented over the the ugly situation in his chiefdom,adding had it not being the timely intervention of IDCit would have been a different story.He called on his people to bury the hatchet and reaim peaceful

APC chairman,Foday Koroma called for peace to be restored in thec chiefdom.He pledged his party’s quest for peace in the country

SLPP representative,Mary Lamin equally called for calm and admonished supporters to remain peaceful

Office of National Security representative Tamba Lamin also cautioned  anyone that wants to perpetrate violence again after the meeting not to do so as it will detrimental to the individual

The meeting ended with broad smiles as both members of the two parties hugged one another.

Sierra Leone’s 2018 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections end

 

CREDIT:Mariama Kargbo

Characterized by sporadic violence and hate messages the first round of elections ended with anxiety.However,the Presidential election was too close to call.

Such that Marie,a peace mother in Bombali district said ‘we cannot go down this road on regional politics…our country is too small for this…we should not repeat the mistakes of Rwanda  in 1994 where thousands of people were slaughtered when two tribes clashed’

Fambul Tok,together with Catalyst for Peace and the USAID,filled the void.They launched elections non violence sensitization through jingles,radio discussions,posters,printing of T- shirts and hand bills.These sensitization programmes were slated for both pre and post elections in the Western area and the operative districts of Fambul Tok( Bombali,Kono,Kailahuna and Pujehun) by Peace mothers,Community Welfare and Mediation Committees supported by staff and local community committees.

 

Press Conference held to gave update

Press Conference held to gave update

John Caulker,the Executive Director of Fambul Tok International-Sierra Leone gave series of press conferences and radio talks on the responsibilities of his organization in ensuring free,fair and peaceful elections.Every staff of the organization was a local observer at their various stations.Although small incidences of violence; mostly in parts of the provinces were reported and investigated by the Police,the elctions were generally acclaimed to be peaceful and transparent.

Neither of the main contenders-the All People’s Congress and the Sierra Leone’s People’s Party achived the 55% polls requirement in the March 7 polls.The opposition SLPP narrowly led the APC,thereby triggering a run off.

The two main Presidentila aspirants:Dr.Samura Kamara of the ruling APC and Brigadier Rtd. Julius Maada Bio of the SLPP signed the February 28,2018 declaration,and travelled the country to preach peace and avoid tribal messages during run off of March 27.

The Presidential election was deffered to March 31,2018 owning to a legal action against the National Electoral Commission by Lawyer Ibrahim Sorie Koroam,a member of the APC.He asked the court for an injunction to restrain the country’s electoral body from conducting the run off elections,and also order the Auditor General  to conduct a forensic audit on the internal systems of NEC

 

Peace Mothers on community sensitization

Peace Mothers on community sensitization

The Supreme Court presided over by Chief Justice Abdulai Charm threw out the case .The election went on March 31st.Brigadier Rtd Julius Maada Bio polled 51.82% and was sworn in as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone by Chief Justice Abdulai Charm on April 4th,2018.He is the country’s fourth democratically elected President since the eleven year civil conflict that ended in 2002

Peace Mothers play vital roles in Sierra Leone’s 2018 elections

Fambul Tok Peace Mothers,equipped with communication skills and clear understanding of peace messages were able to convince community members to see reason not to engage in any form of violence before and even after the pronouncement of results.

Peace Mother controlling the queue on election day

Peace Mother controlling the queue on election day

Havinggone through vigorous training on various topics relating to peace building and to ensure Sierra Leone’s 2018 elections are violence free,Peace Mothers played major roles during the first phase of the country’s multitier elections.

 

With support from USAID,through the Reacting to Early Warning and Response Data(REWARD) project in Bombali,Kailahun,Kono and Pujehun districts,Peace Mothers embarked on varius community engagement activities such as chiefdom meetings,convening youths,women folks and traditional leadrs to talk on preventing violence before and after elections

Peace mothers sensitising people

Peace mothers sensitising people

In Pujehun for instance,Peace Mothers in Pessekeh section,Kpanga chiefdom were helping to control people in the queues and encouraged restless voters to be patient.They also assist the aged to reach voting centres

In Tankoro chiefdom,Kono district,Peace Mothers in thier pre election messages preached  non violence and their presence was felt at most centres in the chiefdom on election day,talking to people to remain calm.They did similar work in Gbense,Nimiyama and Goramac chiefdoms

‘Instead of organizations wasting money unnecessarily on failed projects during electioneering periods,they should focus to ensure peace and stability in communities through such project.This USAID’s REWARD project has created impacts in our communities more than anyother project in Kono district’…says Kathy Changa,peace mother in Faada,Gbense chiefdom

In Bombali,both Community Welfare and Mediation Committee members in collaboration with peace mothers worked together on various activities.In Bombali Shebora chiedom  women went out very early on election day calling on voters to be peaceful.They encouraged those in queues to allow disabled,aged,pregnant women and suckling mothers to vote first and not stand in the long queues for long.These categories of people were allowed without problems.Other chiefdoms including Paki Masabong,Makari Gbanti and Biriwa also played significant roles in the electioneering process.

 

Also in Kailahun district,Peace mothers and CWMCs in Upper Bambara,Njaluahun,Luawa and Kissi Teng stirred the reins in mobilising communities to remain peaceful in a district that had long been identified as hot spot during election time.

Other chiefdoms in Fambul Tok operational Districts,who were not part of REWARD project played lead roles in the electioneering process by also working with community structures such as peace mothers and CWMCs.The chiefdoms are Fakunya and Dasse in Moyamba district,  Delmandugu in Falaba district and Kasunko in  Koinadugu

Generallly,there were no reports of major incidents on election day in any of the 16 supported chiefdoms  and also  Moyamba,Falaba and Koinaduugu districts