My visit to Kabala last week came to be the fourth and these entire visits had been on official assignment but the latest visit actually drew my attention to assert that, there are good, bad and perhaps ugly things that have accounted for the present status of the Koinadugu district. I had gone with a colleague at Awoko, Abibatu Kamara.
I could not be able to tell much difference between Kono and Kabala in terms of development, both infrastructural and in terms of the human resource of both districts. Perhaps one major difference is the fact that, Kono is a diamondiferous district while Kabala is known for cattle rearing and farming. The district of Koinadugu happens to be one of the five in the Northern provinces, with, from all indications vast population that is purely dominated by Limbas, Fullahs and Mandingoes.
Again, unlike Kono, a district that has of late become a political hot spot and a political warfare zone between the APC and the SLPP, Kabala is relatively peaceful, with maybe no political intimidation for now, although about 11 independent candidates have withdrawn their candidature for the pending local council elections. However in Kono I was able to see the political offices of the APC, SLPP and PMDC all functional, unlike in Kabala where the SLPP is permanently closed, but that I will delve into later .When I look at Kabala and Kono and then attempt to do a comparative analysis of the three in terms of peaceful coexistence, I can conclude that Makeni is political tolerant and peaceful.
The district is Muslim dominated. The people of Kabala appear to be peaceful, notwithstanding the political tensions are indicative of the pending local council elections. Being the way it is at the moment, I was compelled to ask myself what has gone wrong that the district cannot boast of its industrious sons like the late SB Marrah, Hon Kakay and others.
My arrival in the district headquarter town of Kabala was greeted with anguish that was registered in the faces of people, hunger and perhaps anger that with the big names from the district like Musu Kandeh, much has not reflected on the district with regards development .
There are good things to make reference to about the district; a hospital that is currently under refurbishment, a good prison where Journalists were allowed to go and see for themselves what was happening and even talk to prisoners. I had the opportunity of visiting a number of stakeholders in the district and frankly I must state that the reception we got from Ali Balansama Marrah the 3rd Paramount Chief was somehow encouraging. Even the Local Unit Commander and the council, Deputy Chief Administrator were all very accommodating. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that, it was the very first time we had approached such people for exclusive newspaper interviews – but they actually proved to be accommodating.
Likewise goes to one Dr Conteh at the Kabala government hospital, who despite the fact that he was busy doing an operation in the theatre, he was able to give time to us for an interview immediately after his first operation, before he could get himself ready to operate on another patient. I was particularly impressed to learn from this doctor that despite the problems they face in the running of the hospital, they are still committed to serve humanity. In the not too recent past, I queried that our medical officers needed the greatest attention from the authorities if for no other reason but the fact that the life a doctor saves could be that of the President or of a child in my village, behind Binkolo. Government must pay attention to the demands of our medical doctors and nurses. This is what I believe in.
Another good news is that, before this time, women have never been allowed to be involved in the decision making process in the district. The council in the district never had a female councilor. But I learnt that, there are a number of female aspirants for the pending local council elections and that one female aspirant has already gone unopposed in Fadugu. The development of a nation rest squarely on the hands of its citizens including women. So the fact that women have been encouraged to be part and parcel of the political setup in the district sends signals that, development is imminent for the district.
That said, there are some bad developments in the district of Koinadugu that must be addressed now. I was perturbed to learn from the Local Unit Commander, Momodu Y Koroma that about 11 independents have already withdrawn their candidatures for the pending local council elections. The LUC cannot tell why that occurred but my investigations showed that, such decisions emanated from the recent visit of the president to the district and that there had been calls from the powers-that-be that, people step down in favor of the APC candidates. Kabala used to be that political active district that even when the NDA wanted to get their national convention, Kabala was the host district. In fact even parties like the SLPP used to be vocal and vibrant in the district but, the opposite is now happening
The Local Unit Commander could not confirm reports of political intimidation in the district because, for him, ‘the people in the district are moving towards one direction’ and if I got that well, then it means, everybody is APC. But people may be interested to know why the SLPP’s offices in the centre of Kabala are now closed to the membership of the party.
I was curious to know what led to that and from what I gathered; the SLPP is now not in power, as said by one Okada rider and as such, they are almost dead. But I wonder if that should be the case because in a democracy, the coming into power of one party should not be seen as the death of the other. Or is it that the SLPP itself has accepted that they have died and have been buried in the political graveside? I doubt it anyway.
I and colleague Abibatu Kamara from Awoko were eager to meet with the SLPP aspirants for the chairmanship in the Koinadugu District Council but after several failed attempts, we were finally told by somebody that it was going to be difficult to locate him because, they[SLPP and even the PMDC] are not campaigning in the open. Well, an aide to us during our visits attributed that to the lack of funds within these political parties. But is it true that the SLPP lack funds to campaign mindful of the fact that, they left political office just few months back, or is it that they know the chances of them winning in Kabala are very very thin?
The SLPP must go the extra miles in telling the people of this country what they are up to. From all indications, it is like people don’t want to suffer and this is the problem with some SLPP folks. They were used to living a luxurious life whilst in governance and so when they are now in opposition, some think, it is just too unbearable that, they should give their support to the ruling party, thus, buying favor from the current government. Who would have ever dreamt of these people going APC under any circumstance? Is this synonymous to the attitudes of political ‘Kolonkos’?
The SLPP, PMDC and even the NDA must make their presence felt in Koinadugu and perhaps any other district that they had gone dormant. This is all what democracy is about. I am almost made to conclude by these SLPP folks that they want a repeat of this then one party era.
Let me take you to another issue on the district that I would describe as being ugly for the development of that district, and that has to do with the fact that, rape and unlawful carnal knowledge are on the increase. Musu Kandeh and other sons and daughters of Koinadugu must not seat by and allow this to continue. They have a stake in all of this. The future of that district’s development rests squarely in the hands of the children of Koinadugu and so perpetuating such crimes against them must not be tolerated. It is indeed disheartening that potential leaders of our country are being left vulnerable in the hands of selfish and greedy individuals who cares not for tomorrow but today.
As I stated earlier, the district is a Muslim dominated one and so it is unbelievable that, such crimes are reported to be coming up. The Local Unit Commander and his men must continue to pursue those people who indulged themselves in such act and it is good to learn that the police in the district have been discouraging an out of court or police settlement as in the case of Kono