Fambul Tok raises concerns over 2018 General elections

Fambul Tok International-Sierra Leone has been following recent discussions and pronouncement surrounding doubt about the overall conduct of the March 7th 2018 general elections that warrants some attention as a peacebuilding organization.

It could be rccalled that the National Electoral Commission earlier this year declared March 7,2018 as the date for the conduction of Local Council,Parliamentary and Presidential elections.

Members of the press listening to the Executive Director John Caulker

Members of the press listening to the Executive Director John Caulker

After this pronouncement,Fambul Tok has observed with grave concern,divergent opinions,statements and counter statements from various political parties including the All People’s Party(APC) and the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party(SLPP) regarding issues relating to the proper conduct of next year’s general elections.Similar views are being echoed by some sections of civil society.

Fambul Tok will like to remind our political leaders that maintaining the peace of this country largely depends on the conduct of a credible and fair elctions and they therefore owe it to citizens of this country especially women and children.We are therefore appealing to their good conscience to see reason and seek an acceptable compromise as a solution that will guarantee and allay the fears of the general public about the process itself,rather than ignore the concerns that will ultimately sow seeds of elections related conflict and undermine the credibility and legality of the entire elections process.

Fambul Tok International-Sierra Leone,a Sierra Leonean peacebuilding organization,therefore calls on the Government,political parties,the Political Parties Registration Commission(PPRC),National Electoral Commission(NEC),Civil Society organizations,religious leaders and the International Community to engage in a frank and hard conversation that will lead to a lasting and acceptable solution regarding these legitimate concerns.

District Councils agree to cascade People’s Planning Process

District Local Council chairmen of Moyamba,Kailahun and Koinadugu  have unanimously agreed to cascade the People’s Planning Process(PPP) to all chiefdoms in the three districts and with the best practices and learnings the process will be rolled out to other parts of the country.The PPP is design to ensure that policy makers,project implementing organizations and other community based initiatives listen to communities and involve them in the post ebola development processes.

Participants at the end of the three days conference in Taiama

Participants at the end of the three days conference in Taiama

This idea was developed to respond to the post ebola prevention,healing and recovery for development of communities

During a three-day inter-district learning and sharing conference on November 10th-12th,2016 at Taia resort,Taiama in Moyamba district,organized by Fambul Tok and Catalyst For Peace,the three chairmen(Prof.Herbert Bob Kandeh-Moyamba,Sheku Samuel Kamara of Koinadugu and Alex Bonafa of Kailahun,after series of discussions with members of the Inclusive District Peace and Development Committees(IDPDC) came to a conclusion to replicate the People’s Planning Process  in all chiefdoms

John addresses his audience

John addresses his audience


In his contribution,Prof.Herbert B.Kandeh  of Moyamba District Council mentioned that his institution is ready to support the People’s Planning Process in the district for the development of communities.He said it is a good initiative and therefore even in the absence of Fambul Tok and Catalyst For Peace they will not allow it to fail.He stated the successful conduction of IDPDC meetings and peaceful intervention of members to settle the problem between MSF construction construction company and youth.

Koinadugu District Chairman,who chaired discussion sessions on Day one,Sheku Samuel Kamara stated that he will work with his colleagues and other partners working in the district to harmonize the People’s Planning Process into Council’s activities.He mentioned the successes one of which is the construction of a 80 metre bridge that links two districts.He said the project would not have kicked off without the initiative of Fambul Tok community engagements.He extended thanks and appreciation to Catalyst For Peace for supporting the process.

Bonafa chairs Day three session

Bonafa chairs Day three session

Chairman,Kailahun District Council,Lawyer Alex Bonafa said community engagements in all spheres of work are important,adding that when the people resolve to do anything government must follow and therefore called on Government to support the planning process for the development of communities.He assured that the PPP will be a part of Kailahun District Council’s development plan as everyone will be involved to development the district

President, Catalyst For Peace, Libby Hoffman gave a brief background of how he came across the founder of Fambul Tok,John Caulker and how the partnership has been strenghthened over the past nine years

Executive Director of Fambul Tok International,John Caulker explained the initiative of the People’s Planning Process.He said it is a product of a nine-year community healing and reconciliation activities of Fambul Tok and Catalyst For Peace.

Traditional leaders including Paramount Chiefs from all three districts hailed the process and promised to market the idea to other chiefdoms

One of the objectives of the conference was to provide an overview of the People’s Planning Process,and to gain an understanding of the core elements of IDPDC formation,for new and potential partners and for working in new districts

Kailahun stakeholders agree on joint revenue collection

One of the several problems that continue to affect development of Kailahun district has to do with sour relationships among traditional leaders(Paramount Chiefs) and Councilors

A cross section of Paramount Chiefs

A cross section of Paramount Chiefs

It is evident that there are poor working relationships which contribute to the backwardness and underdevelopment especially in post ebola communities

There are instances where traditional leaders are accused of not paying chiefdom and other charges to the Kailahun District Council alleging Council has not undertaken any development programmes in their chiefdoms

Equally,the District Council is blaming traditional leaders of not paying precepts to Council.The trend continues

The Inclusive District Peace and Development Committee members, after independent investigations found out that the sad situation is responsible for the many challenges and without delay a date was set to bring local authorities and Councilors together.The meeting was held in Pendembu where both parties  discussed issues and suggested solutions to them.The Pendembu meeting was successful as it laid firm foundation for peace and the beginining of  cooperation to raise the much needed own source revenue

After the Pendembu meeting,the Paramount Chiefs set a date for their usual monthly meeting in Daru.The IDPDC used the opportunity to facilitate the process and invited Councilors to that meeting to resolve the issue of revenue generation

Paramount Chief of Penguia...Jibrilla addressing his audience

Paramount Chief of Penguia…Jibrilla addressing his audience

In the Daru meeting over the weekend,stakeholders  including Councilors,Paramount Chiefs and Community members  unanimously agreed to collaborate and jointly collect revenue for the development of chiefdoms .It was a family meeting as both Councilors and tradional leaders mingled with each other.

In his remarks,District Officer Kailahun,Gadiru Kabba emphasized the need for effective revenue collection for the development of the district.He said in the interest of peace the people of Kailahun have to work together to harmonize revenue collection.

Executive Director,Fambul Tok International-Sierra Leone said the issue of revenue collection in Kailahun has been very thorny especially when both Council and Local authorities accused each other of non- compliance.

He said both parties should strategize effectively to work together and raise revenue for the development of the district.

Chairman,Kailahun District Council,Alex Bhonapha appreciated the efforts of Fambul Tok for its tremendous work to bring Councilors and local authorities together to discuss pertinent issues on revenue generation.

PC Henry Baion reconciles with Chairman of Kailahun District Council...Alex Bhonapha

PC Henry Baion reconciles with Chairman of Kailahun District Council…Alex Bhonapha

He said over the past two years there have been lots of issues especially dealing with revenue generation.He stated that the framers of the local government Act of 2004 did not cascade the Act to the understanding of the people.He said he welcomed the idea of working together with chiefdom authorities to get the much needed resources for the development of the district.

At the end of the meeting,Paramount Chiefs and Council agreed on percentages.The Council is expected to get 60% and Chiefdoms will get 40% of total revenue collected each year.

In the interest of accountability and transparency an agreement was reached for Council to print new receipt books to be signed by Council and Paramount Chiefs

However in the next meeting of Council of Paramount Chiefs,local authorities will present what they agreed on and endorse the decision.The printing of receipts will be done in four weeks and joint revenue collection starts after that.