By: Sylvester Samba……………………………………….
After the Pendembu meeting on August 31 this year which was overseen by Fambul Tok International- Sierra Leone, Paramount Chiefs in Kailahun district set a date for their usual monthly meeting in Daru. The Kailahun Inclusive District Peace and Development Committee (IDPDC) used the opportunity to facilitate the process and invited Councilors to that meeting to resolve the issue of revenue generation.
In the Daru meeting which took place on Saturday 7th October, 2016, stakeholders including Councilors, Paramount Chiefs and Community members unanimously agreed to collaborate and jointly collect revenue for the development of their various chiefdoms. It was a family meeting as both Councilors and traditional leaders mingled with each other.
In his remarks, the District Officer for Kailahun, Gadiru Kabba emphasized the need for effective revenue collection for the development of the district. He said in the interest of peace the people of Kailahun have to work together to harmonize revenue collection.
The Executive Director of Fambul Tok International-Sierra Leone said that the issue of revenue collection in Kailahun has been very challenging especially when both Council and Local authorities accused each other of non- compliance.
He said both parties should strategize effectively to work together and raise revenue for the development of the district.
Chairman, Kailahun District Council, Alex Bhonapha appreciated the efforts of Fambul Tok for its tremendous work to bring Councilors and local authorities together to discuss pertinent issues on revenue generation.
He said over the past two years there have been lots of issues especially dealing with revenue generation. He stated that the framers of the local government Act of 2004 did not cascade the Act to the understanding of the people. He said he welcomed the idea of working together with chiefdom authorities to get the much needed resources for the development of the district.
At the end of the meeting, Paramount Chiefs and Council agreed on percentages. The Council is expected to get 60% and Chiefdoms will get 40% of total revenue collected each year.
In the interest of accountability and transparency an agreement was reached for Council to print new receipt books to be signed by Council and Paramount Chiefs.
One of the several problems that continue to affect development of Kailahun district has to do with sour relationships among traditional leaders (Paramount Chiefs) and Councilors.
It is evident that there are poor working relationships which contribute to the backwardness and underdevelopment especially in post Ebola communities.
There are instances where traditional leaders are accused of not paying chiefdom and other charges to the Kailahun District Council alleging Council has not undertaken any development programmes in their chiefdoms.
Equally, the District Council is blaming traditional leaders of not paying precepts to Council. The trend continues.
The Inclusive District Peace and Development Committee members, after independent investigations found out that the sad situation is responsible for the many challenges and without delay a date was set to bring local authorities and Councilors together. The meeting was held in Pendembu on August 31, where both parties discussed issues and suggested solutions to them.
The Pendembu meeting was successful as it laid firm foundation for peace and the beginning of cooperation to raise the much needed own source revenue.