Yesterday ended the month of August but it also saw what could possibly be the end of a longstanding problem that had been giving the ruling APC party some quiet headaches. It is reported that when his Minister of Internal Affairs & Local Government reported that the brou-ha-ha that had threatened to split the APC party’s support within Koinadugu District has now been resolved, President Koroma, who also doubles as APC Leader, heaved a sigh of relief.
The resolution of the Koinadugu impasse was done with the intervention of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Local Government & Rural Development, Hon. Dauda Kamara and his ministry officials and resulted in district stakeholders in the largest district in Sierra Leone yesterday publicly burying the hatchet following the APC Strongman and Local Council District Chairman, Councillor Bayuku Conteh going down on his knees to beg for forgiveness from the Koinadugu Paramount Chiefs. The reconciliation meeting took place on Tuesday the 31st August 2010 at the Kabala Community Centre.
In his mediation address to Paramount chiefs, Councilors and other district authorities, the minister said he was in Kabala to find ways and means to reconcile them with the beleaguered APC Strongman and District Local Government Chairman who has fallen from their grace through misunderstanding. He said President Koroma, both as APC Leader and as President of Sierra Leone together with the entire APC-led government was concerned that there often had occurred fracases between the Paramount Chiefs, Councilors and the District council Chairman that eventually led to the refusal of the chiefs to cooperate with the District Chairman who was then considered suspended with his place being taken by his Deputy.
“I want that statement once made by the Paramount Chiefs that they would not work with the Koinadugu Council Chairman to be reversed in the interest of peace and development of the district,” Ambassador Dauda entreated, adding that the people of Koinadugu needed to work as one to take development to their district.
“The President has always commended Koinadugu District Council for their good work as in 2009 this council was rated second amongst all other councils in the country, so we want to see that position maintained through unity amongst you,” the minister proffered. He on that note called upon all stakeholders present to embrace the peace and work as one family.
“I will be reporting to President Koroma the outcome of this peace drive so don’t let me down,” he appealed.
The embattled Council Chairman, Bayuku Conteh wholeheartedly pleaded for forgiveness over his words and action against the Paramount Chiefs few months ago after an incident at the Kabala Community Centre. He asked all the Paramount Chiefs, Local Councilors and the entire people of Koinadugu district to forgive him as without their support he cannot take development to the district.
“I know that I have made mistakes, I am on my knees begging that you forgive me as it will never repeat itself again,” he pleaded. He said he was determined to work in partnership with all stakeholders in the district to continue to prove to the nation that Koinadugu can do better than ever. He symbolized his unreserved apology by climbing down from the stage to hug each and every Paramount Chief present.
In appreciation of the minister’s intervention and the chairman’s unbridled apology, the Honorable Paramount Chief Ali Balansama Marah on behalf of the chiefs said since the Minister and the Vice President have manifested government’s desire to intervene in the matter months back in order to restore peace in the district once and for all, and that the Minister of Local Government was still pursuing the matter, they had no choice but to forgive the chairman.
“On behalf of all the other Paramount Chiefs in Koinadugu District we forgive the Council Chairman in the interest of peace and development,” Hon. P.C. Marah pronounced, while also calling on all those who were angry with the Council Chairman to forgive him since he has publicly apologized.
Speaking on the phone line to the Awareness Times offices in Freetown late last night from his compound in Kabala, the Paramount Chief told Awareness Times that indeed his people had all yielded to the call for forgiveness and had forgiven the APC Strongman Bayuku Conteh. He however expressed the hope that Chairman Conteh will keep to his words and not re-offend the Chiefs and their subjects.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.