April 24, 2018
The Inclusive District Peace and Development Committee (IDPDC) in Kailahun District 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 disputed areas.
IDPDCs are supported by Fambul Tok International.
During the electioneering process, there were reported cases of political violence and threats among members of the then ruling All People’s Congress (APC) and opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party in Kissi Teng chiefdom. This caused serious tensions, especially in Bumassadu and Lela sections in the chiefdom.
Allegations are that some members of the SLPP had threatened APC members and promised to deal with them because of utterances attributed to made during the campaigns. Some APC members were said to have equally threatened SLPP supporters.
Immediately after the National Electoral Commission officially announced the results declaring the SLPP candidate winner of presidential election 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 comments went 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 address the issue.
Because of this trend, the Inclusive District Committee decided to handle the situation by organising peace and reconciliation meeting in Kangama, last Friday, April 4.
In his remarks, District Officer (DO) 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 the APC and SLPP and other stakeholders to ensure there is stability in the chiefdom.
‘You don’t 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’.
Ngegbai called on the people of Kissi Teng to be law abiding and not to take the law into their hands.
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 organise such meeting in Kangama’.
She stated that similar meetings were held in Dia, Kissi Kama chiefdom and Baoma in Luawa chiefdom.
In his remarks, Paramount Chief Emmanuel Ganawa said he was not surprised as Fambul Tok preaches peace and reconciles people.
He lamented over the ugly situation in his chiefdom, adding had it not being for the timely intervention of IDC it would have been a different story.
PC Ganawa called on his people to bury the hatchet and be committed to peace and development of the chiefdom. He also used the occasion to call on those who were in hiding in nearby villages to come out, assuring that nobody will intimidate them.
‘After today, all of us will remain committed and embark on development of our communities,’ he said.
APC chiefdom chairman, Foday Koroma, pledged his party’s commitment to peace, adding that Kangama has always been peaceful but things got out of hands during the electioneering process.
SLPP representative Mary Lamin said their membership was committed to peace and does not want to see a chaotic situation that would derail the hard won peace in the country
Representative from the Office of National Security, Tamba Lamin, also cautioned those that intend to perpetrate violence to abort their diabolical plan, referring to them as detractors of development.
At the end of the meeting members of the APC, SLPP and other political parties embraced each other in a spirit of reconciliation.