By Regina Pratt
Fambul Tok Peace Mothers in 14 chiefdoms in Kono district have vowed to reconcile Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana and Minster of Local Government, Diana Konomanyi-Kabba, both of whom hailed from the district.
The two are said to be rivals in the fight for political supremacy in the district, and their supporters have clashed in the volatile district on many occasions.
Tension is set to mount between both set of supporters in the months leading to finding a successor for President Ernest Bai Koroma, whose second and final term is set to end in 2017/18.
Sia James, Chairlady of the Wuaseh section Peace Mothers in Tankoro chiefdom, said the political dispute between the two ruling party heavyweights has widened the disunity in the district.
“This is something that affects the whole district as their division is felt even by the stakeholders. We will have to invite them to an important meeting to get the issue resolved,” she said.
She claimed that the political dispute between the vice president and the cabinet minister has disrupted development in the district and that even though elders have intervened, there are still no signs of a truce.
Paramount Chief Ngekia said they have tried over the past to unite the two but to no avail, adding that the enmity between the two is hampering development process in the diamond rich district.
Chief Aiah F. Bindi blamed the conflict on those who run after both rivals for their money, adding that local councils in the district, the police and other authorities have all taken sides, while women in the rural areas remain neutral.
Deputy Mayor of Koidu City Council, Madam Teresa Sia Gbenda and Councillor Veronica Dauda informed the meeting that they are victims of the political conflict as Madam Konomanyi does not speak to them because they are perceived as supporters of the vice president.
The two council members said they were good friends with Diana Konomanyi, with whom they attended school.
Public Relations Officer of the Council of Paramount Chiefs in Kono district, P.C. Tamba Foryoh, blamed disunity in the district on personal aggrandisement, urging their kith and kin to rally behind someone who will spearhead development in the underdeveloped district.
“As long as we undermine our authorities of this district it will affect us,” he said and called on women to admonish their children against throwing their support for someone in return for personnel benefit.
He implored the Peace Mothers to take the lead and invite the two politicians to a meeting, so that they could express their dissatisfaction over what is happening between the duo.
Fambul Tok team leader in Kono, Lilian Morsay said that Kono district is a hotbed of conflict, while she questioned the neutrality of chiefs in the interpersonal conflict.
Executive Director of Fambul Tok, John Caulker, said the job of the chiefs is often times complicated, as they are very careful in what they do or say, lest they annoy one faction.
He said Fambul Tok is ready to support the peace initiative by the Peace Mothers in the district.