A local Civil Society, Network Movement Agency for Development and Democracy and Human Rights has ended a stakeholders meeting with local court officials in Gaura and Nongowa chiefdoms in the Kenema district.
Speaking to the press in Kenema city the Programme Coordinator for Community Action for Human Dignity Arnold Kaima disclosed that they received funds from the Justice Sector Development Programme (JSDP) to educate traditional rulers and local court officials on the mandate and responsibilities.
Arnold Kaima pointed out that injustice is one of the factors that ignited the eleven years civil war in Sierra Leone adding that some local chiefs are partial and are in the habit of imposing heavy fines on community members especially the youths.
This he says forced many young people to leave their communities to take up arms against their own chiefs and other authorities during the war.
Coordinator for Community Human Rights Defenders Mohamed Yeimoh says the network is not undermining the existence of traditional rulers but is making all efforts to sustain the peace Sierra Leone is currently enjoying.
He further said the Native Administration (NA) court is the legitimate court that should dispense or settle disputes between community members. Yeimoh says concerns were raised by chiefs who expressed disappointment over the conduct of the previous paramount chieftaincy elections by the Provincial Secretaries who they say sometimes request huge sums of money and materials to qualify their candidature.
This spurred Paramout chiefs to levy heavy fines to recover their expenses.