23rd August 2016
Dr Ernest Bai Koroma
President of The Republic of Sierra Leone
Dear Mr President,
Open Letter to The President
Call for independent and inclusive panel of investigation into the violence in Koinadugu and Moyamba districts On Tuesday 16 August 2016, the people of Kabala township in the Koinadugu district, northern Sierra Leone, witnessed violence after youths clashed with the police, leaving two young people dead. Sadly, on Friday 19 August 2016, again youths in the Lower Banta chiefdom of Moyamba district, south of the country, allegedly burnt down houses in a violent protest that left two of them dead.
To this end we at Fambul Tok, a non-governmental organization working on peace, reconciliation and community development, are very concerned. While, we acknowledge the efforts being made by the police and the government, we advise that an independent panel to investigate the incidents in Koinadugu and Moyamba districts be set up to include reputable civilians within the districts who will add some confidence to the process.
We respectfully therefore urge for a speedy look into the issue and call for appropriate actions to follow. While we hope the law enforcement agencies will employ professionalism in handling of such protests, going forward, we also want to encourage youths not to take the law into their own hands but to always look for and use appropriate redress channels to register their grievances.
Mr. President, Fambul Tok is working in six districts including Koinadugu and Moyamba districts. In the last eight years, we have encouraged local leadership and ownership of community reconciliation leading to sustainable development, organized women’s groups as peace mothers and engaged with stakeholders from village and section chiefs to paramount chiefs and other relevant district authorities.
Since March 2015, Fambul Tok and Catalyst for Peace (CFP) have facilitated series of district meetings that have led to the establishment of an Inclusive District Peace and Development
Committees (IDPDC) in Kailahun, Koinadugu and Moyamba that comprise all peace and development stakeholders in the districts: local government, District Officers, traditional leaders, civil society groups including those representing women, youths and the physically challenged, non-governmental organizations, Sierra Leone Police, Office of National Security, MDAs and community representatives.
The IDPDC did not replace any existing structure but rather serves to complement and enhance an inclusive approach to problem solving and to facilitate a district-wide People’s Planning Process in conjunction with civil society, councils and traditional leaders that reflects the
needs and aspiration of people within each and every village, Section and Chiefdom in the said districts.
Therefore, we are very concerned that after years of building peace, promoting reconciliation through sustained traditional dialogue, community mediation and achieving social cohesion in the district, there are still instances of violence and deaths. We feel very worried that those gains could be reversed if violence and unrest continue to happen. However, again we want to emphasize that we condemn violence of any form, but we are also very confident that in collaboration with credible district stakeholders appropriate measures should be taken to
establish and address the root-cause of the violence and we hope that remedies will be taken afterwards to avert any reoccurrence.