Fambul Tok with support from Africa Transitional Justice Legacy Fund (ATJLF) held healing and reconciliation ceremony at Gondama section, Kongbora Chiefdom, Moyamba district over the weekend.
Section chief Daniel S Harding in his welcome address said such gathering was very important for the betterment of the section. He said he was aware of the good work FT has been doing in bringing peace to his section. He welcomed FT and community members to the ceremony.
Fambul Tok staff Joseph Kalokoh facilitated the ceremony. He said “this is a women led approach to resolve community disputes in a non-judicial way”. He further explained the importance of women in Gondama in establishing peace in the section. He ended by saying the whole process was voluntary and people should feel at ease to tell their stories.
Among the numerous cases that came up was one between Zainab Mattia and her brother-in-law Sylvester Gbassay Jongo. She said Mr Jongo did not allow her daughter to use the toilet. She continued that Mr. Jongo beat up her daughter when she attempted to use the toilet. A bitter quarrel erupted and over a year now they have not been on speaking terms. They both agreed to be reconciled and the case was resolved.
Another was between Mariam Frank and Febian Yonnie. Mariam explained that her son and Febian’s son had a fight but Febian beat her (Mariama) son. When she intervened Febian used insulting language on her. She said she refused talking to her since that time. The committee was able to mediate between them and they are now talking to each other.
Gondama Peace Mother head, Mamie Jeneh, recalled that, “ family grudges like these if left unresolved might result to nasty atrocities in times of unrests as it happened during the 11-year brutal civil war. We don’t want to go down that road a second time!” She said peace mothers would continue to engage with the other issues that need inclusion of more community stakeholders to resolve.
After the healing and reconciliation ceremony the people (both Christians and Muslims) gathered in prayers. They asked for bonds to be strengthened and prayed for lasting peace.