Sierra Leone’s 2018 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections end

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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

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

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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

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Fakunya chiefdom showcases impact of People’s Planning Process

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A cross section of facilitators

A cross section of facilitators

Community members from Fakunya chiefdom in the Moyamba distict have explained at the donor roundtable and dialogue forum how the People’s Planning Process(PPP) which started three years ago,has impacted them in their various sections,as most places are now working in relative peace to develop their communities.

Fakunya partcipants were at the Bintumani hotel in Freetown on January 23,2018 to share and interact with donor partners,government officials and various heads of organizations what  they achieved within a very short period.The forum was organized under the auspices of the National Steering Committee of Wan Fambul in collaboration with Fambul Tok,Catalyst For Peace,the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Ulster University.

 

In his remarks,Minister of Local Government and Rural Development,Maya Moiwo Kaikai said his Minstry is partnering with Fambul Tok and Catalyst For Peace to ensure that the People’s Planning Process is cascaded in all chiefdoms in the country.He gave a brief background on how he became interested in the process  two years back,and had to engage President Koroma.

Some members of Fakunya Chiefdom Inclusive CommitteeExif_JPEG_420

Some members of Fakunya Chiefdom Inclusive Committee during their rotational meeting in Gandorhun

He said in mid 2017,President Koroma gave an executive clearance to the Wan Fambul initiative to be adopted by the Government of Sierra Leone,through the Ministry of Local Gvernment and Rural Development.

Minister Kaikai said the wan fambul partnership will lead to effective collaboration to implement the PPP nationwide,adding that if resources are focussed on communities it will be easier for development.He encouraged organizations to work with Government for the realization of the PPP.

Minister of State,Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning,Momoh Vandi said the national framework for ‘wan fambul’ provides an opportunity for the government to learn more and strategise how to engage communities

He said effecive engagement with relative stakeholders will add value to the process by not only ensuring effecive implementation but also contribute to the development of appropriate tools  for monitoring and evaluation

Executive Director of Fambul Tok International-Sierra Leone said the PPP is designed to ensure policy makers,project implementing organizations and other community based initiatives listen to communities and invlove them in development process.

He said having piloted the process in Kailahun,Koinadugu and Moyamba districts for the past three years,and having developed the wan fambul framework to cascade the process nationwide,he is convinced that government and other organizations will support the initiative

Meeting in progress at Bintumani hotel

Meeting in progress at Bintumani hotel

Lead Strategist and International Advisor,Angi-Yoder-Maina,going through the framework said it offers a vision of the whole,inter-connected Sierra Leone undivided by region,ethnicity and partisan affliliation.She explained that the wan fambul national framework will support communities to mend several cracks which continue to keep them apart.

President,Catalyst For Peace,Libby Hoffman,through demonstration of a ‘cracked cup; said communities will not develop if they remain divided as a result of conflict and other social issues.She said it will be a complete waste of resources,and unsustained efforts if monies are poured into communities that are not together.

However the Fakunya peole presented their chiefdom planw which has details of how each village and sectional towns want to implement what is in the plan.

One of the sections,however showcased how peace mothers have aquired the sum of Le15 million through their micor credit scheme.

 

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National Framework for Inclusive Governance launched

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The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development,Maya Moiwo Kaikai has launched the first phase of the “Wan Fambul”-the national framework for inclusive governance and local development.The launching took place at the Radisson Blu conference hall,Aberdeen in Freetown on Tuesday,November 14,2017.

Handing over Delmandugu Chiefdom development plan to the Minister

Handing over Delmandugu Chiefdom development plan to the Minister

Fambul Tok International-Sierra Leone and its partner,Catalyst for Peace,a US foundation that is working with Fambul Tok since its inception a decade ago last year partnered with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to open the way for a national peoples planning process.

Speaking at the occassion,Mr.Kaikai said he was impressed and moved when he was invited by Fambul Tok to the Taiama meeting  last November which was aimed at improving inclusive governance especially in local commnities.

He went on to state that having heard from community members their roles and responsibilities in governance,he had no alternative but to take the idea to the Government which had cabinet endorsement few months ago.

 

A cross section of participants

A cross section of participants

“My Government attaches tremendous importance to the issue of inclusion and decentralized governance to take developmet to the doorsteps of local communities”He stressed.

He emphasised that his Ministry has intensified its engagement with Fambul Tok and Catalyst for Peace to exlore possibilities of upscaling the initiative and eventually ensuring that all Local Councils benefit from it,and more importantly,the Government takes ownership of the process.

According to the Executive Director of Fambul Tok,John Caulker,the framework will effectively be supported by Government,national and international  civil society organizations and donors.

He said for the past year,the Ministry has formed a new partnership with Fambul Tok and Catalyst for Peace with the goal to develop the “wan fambul” national framework for inclusive governance,adding that the initiative outlines a holistic commnity owned and led process leading to a national peole’s plan which is built on the learning from a 3o months comprehensive pilot process in Kailahun,Moyamba and Koinadugu districts

Minister congrats Paramount chief of the new Delamndugu chiefdom

Minister congrats Paramount chief of the new Delamndugu chiefdom

Chairman of the occasion who is also Director of Decentralization,Alhassan Joseph Kanu said for the effectiveness of the process,they have constituted steering and teachincal committees to facilitate the initiative.He said the launch of the phase one of the inclusive governance and the unveiling of the steering and technical committees demonstrates the seriousness government attaches to the process.

However the Delmandugu Chiefdom plan was also showcased as community members in the newly craeted Falaba district explained to the peole’s planning process

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Upper Bambara endorses Chiefdom Plan

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Stakeholders including elders,women’s leaders,youth and community members from all six sections in Upper Bambara chiefdom,Kailahun District have reviewed their Chiefdom development plan and unanimously endorsed the document.The event took place on September 28,2017 at the Pendembu community centre.

Endorsing the plan by raisin of hands

Endorsing the plan by raising of hands

Speaking at the occasion,Chiefdom speaker,Stephen Gbessay Babawo on behalf of the Paramount Chief who was unavoidably absent referred to the chiefdom plan as one of the best in the history of the chiefdom.He said Fambul Tok is the very first organization in the country to work with communities to develop such document that captures activities of every village in the post ebola recovery phase.

He lamented over the acitivities of some organizations who have been implementing projects without the involvement of communities.

“After the war many projects that were designed for communities did not benefit people for the fact that communities were not consulted right from the planning stage to the end and therefore today poverty still remains in our midst” Chief Babawo emphasised

He continued” Involving communities to plan what they want  and what resources they have contributes immensely to rural development and growth”

The newly formed  chiefdom executive

The newly formed chiefdom executive

Chief Babawo called on Local Council and development partners in the district to work with community members  for the implementation of the plan.

“If you go through the plan you will realise that every village has its priority needs to guide potential implementing partners to avoid duplication and waste of resources”Chief Babawo emphasised.

 

developing mandates of the Chiefdom Inclusive Committee

developing mandates of the Chiefdom Inclusive Committee

Kailahun District Council Development and Planning Officer,Adu Vandi Kondorvoh in his remarks said development starts with communities and therefore encouraged members to embrace it.

He went on to state that Local Council brings development to the doors of rural communities and therefore people should not see Council as enemy.

“The taxes and other charges communities pay to Council are sent back to chiefdoms for developmet purposes but if you dont pay how do you expect progress” Kondorvoh stressed.He also encouraged chiefdoms to pay taxes,adding that the Inclusive District Committee should be praised for facilitating the joint revenue collection between Chiefdoms and Council.

However,the chiedom plan was reviewed page by page to make corrections and amendemnts through the input of various participants and was graciously endorsed and accepted by the people of Upper Bambara.

The Chiefdom Inclusive Committee was also formed and its executive formed

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