In his address in the Well of Parliament in May 2018, President Bio promised the formation of an independent Peace and National Cohesion Commission.
Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh to make it a reality earlier requested UNDP, in collaboration with five civil society organizations, to lead a coordinated effort for community dialogue and restorative justice, to ensure the return to peaceful co-existence and national cohesion as part of activities leading to the establishment of the proposed Independent Peace and National Cohesion Commission.
Fambul Tok International-Sierra Leone last week started project inception meetings in Kailahun, Kono, Bombali and Moyamba and will continue in other districts.
The meetings explain the objectives of the three months’ small grant funded Project – Conflict Prevention and Mitigation during Electoral Cycle in Sierra Leone, funded by UNDP and will engage district stakeholders to undertake post-elections dialogue, conflict prevention and peace-building by supporting community dialogues in selected chiefdoms across the country.
Fambul Tok (FT) is playing a facilitating role by partnering with the other organizations and relevant district stakeholders in organizing these chiefdom dialogues
Community town hall meetings started in Kailahun district over the weekend and will continue in other selected chiefdoms. The people of Gbalahun town in Luawa chiefdom were very much appreciative for the fact that Fambul Tok intervened to restore peace in that community. Gbalahun was hit as houses were damaged and reportedly burnt during the electioneering era. During their community meeting on Sunday, September 23, 2018, community members testified to what happened during that time and pointed accusing fingers at each.
Fambul Tok in collaboration with district structures such as Office of National Security, District Officer, traditional and community leaders were able to pacify victims to see reason for peace and unity in that community.
Community members agreed to forgive each other and allow those that have fled the township to come back.
After the formation of a 10 man peace committee, which include ONS, DO, Fambul Tok, Inclusive District Committee and some stakeholders, it agreed to undertake the following events: pouring of libation to appease the ancestors, football for reconciliation and an all-night disco free of cost.
Other activities such as mediation and outreach meetings will be led by Fambul Tok peace mothers to create safe space for community members, security sectors and other stakeholders to express their views and concerns about post-election related conflict and issues and to find ways to foster community cohesion.
On Monday, September 24, 2018 similar community, town hall meeting was held in the township of Rokulan, Karene district.
Rokulan was also a center of political intolerance and violence to an extent that community members were at each other’s throats. It is reported that some people up to date do not congregate for prayers in the same mosque because of politics.
After a blow your mind session, community members embraced one another for the sake of peace and unity. They also formed a peace committee to ensure peace reigns and pledged to continue mediation and community healing.