The Malen Grievance Redress Committee (GRC), chiefdom stakeholders, government officials and Fambul Tok staff met in the Anglican Hall in Gobaru town in Pujehun district
for the Chiefdom Multi-stakeholders dialogue meeting on Friday 23rd July 2021. The dialogue serves as a follow – up action requested in the last monthly GRC meeting in Ngandorhun village in Malen chiefdom.
50 people (18 females and 32 males) attended the meeting that attracted the interest of many stakeholders and community members in and outside Malen chiefdom including the Honorable member of parliament of constituency 104.
The activities are part of the UN Peace building Fund project: Mitigating Local Resource-based Conflicts and Increasing Community Resilience supported by UNDP and implemented by Fambul Tok.
Fambul Tok has been very robust in ensuring frequent GRC meetings and strengthening the operations of the Chiefdom Development Funds committee (CDF) and going forward with the view of creating the space for victims and perpetrators for dialogue and reconciliation and to chart a new path for sustainable peace and development in the Malen chiefdom. After opening courtesies, the chairman council of paramount chiefs PC Sass Gbonda of the Kpanga Krim chiefdom in the Pujehun district expressed his gratitude for hosting such a high-level peace dialogue, emphasizing that the neutral ground is a peaceful land and welcomed participants to feel safe and have a peaceful day.
In an overview of the program, the Executive Director of Fambul Tok John Caulker said he was very happy for the attendance, assuring the audience of a positive discussion throughout the dialogue meeting, for an inclusive way forward. He encouraged the audience to help outline grievances in the chiefdom for a better solution of the land conflict in the Malen chiefdom. He ended by saying that every one should feel free and be at ease to express his or her opinion.
The chiefdom speaker of the Malen chiefdom, Robert S Moigua, who represented the paramount chief of the Malen chiefdom PC Brima Victor Sidie Kebbie, expressed joy and thanked Fambul Tok for creating the space for dialogues, which he believed is one of the right steps in bringing an end to the Malen Land conflict.
In continuation of the dialogue, the Honorable member of Parliament of constituency 104 Musa Shiaka Sama stated he has a lot to say but will be brief because of short notice to the meeting. He condemned the entire peace process, saying that about 95% of the participants present from the Malen chiefdom in the meeting were either in support of the paramount chief PC Kebbie or the Socfin Agricultural Company (SAC). He said that MALOA will not honor future invitation to engage in a peace discussion until the President engaged him and MALOA on the Malen Land issue, pointing out that as the technical report is yet to be released, they will maintain their position until their concerns are fully addressed.
The civil society chairman of Pujehun district Ibrahim B Swaray responding to Honorable Sama‘s statement advised the audience to direct the meeting on the issues affecting the chiefdom to avoid conflict. Speaking on behalf of Maloa, Bockarie Koroma thanked Fambul Tok for creating the space for dialogue. He advised Fambul Tok to allow them to file their grievances in subsequent meetings for a peaceful resolution as they have a lot in store to air.
Haja Adama Senge, women’s leader, noted that efforts have been made by SAC to map out the road to peace but misleading information from other factions in one of the obstacles for sustainable peace in Malen. She said the people of Malen are the causes of their own problems. J J Solomon representing SAC management thanked Fambul Tok for their resilience in building peace in Malen chiefdom. He said its part of SAC’s commitment to maintain peaceful relationship with the people of Malen. Summing up, Mr Solomon said: “let’s bridge the communication gaps between the company and the people and find possible ways to end the land conflict in the chiefdom”. He added that SAC believes “that effective community engagement s will lead to a positive working environment and promote the companys safety and goal”.
In conclusion the Fambul Tok Executive Director disclosed that: ”the major problem in the chiefdom is the division among land owners, local authorities and political leaders”. He demonstrated the broken cup illustration and recommended that they manage their own problems and put the chiefdom first – above all.
He assured the gathering that Fambul Tok will continue to engage and guide the process to identify their own problem and see themselves to have their local solutions to solve their local problems. Mr. Caulker ended his statement that the issues raised during the discussion has opened the missing link between the company and MALOA, adding that, the company has declared the year 2021 a year of peace and reconciliation. This positive outcome is a clear road map for peace and in the next few months things will improve.