By Sheku Tanga
The Movement for Resettlement & Rural Development (MoRRD)- a Civil Society Organization based in Kenema has in partnership with Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), launched, “Strengthening Citizens’ Access to Affordable Justice project” in Kailahun. The event took place on Friday 29th of March 2019 at the Kailahun District Canteen hall. The launching ceremony was attended by Community Stakeholders, CSOs, Women’s groups, Local Courts Chairmen, FSU, ONS, LAB, Journalists and host of other partners.
Giving the overview of the project, the team leader for MoRRD, Lahai Galiwa informed the gathering that the project started in October 2017 and ended in March 2019. Galiwa said progress made on the initial project encouraged OSIWA to provide an add-on support to MoRRD for the project to continue till March 2020. Key components of project include; Paralegal Services, Community Mediation, Advocacy and Legal Empowerment and Education. Various stakeholders made meaningful contributions during the launching, among them; the Paramount Chief `s representative, ONS, and the FSU representative who all appealed to MoRRD for institutional support in-terms of stationery and other logistics to enhance their work.
In his contribution, the Local Court Chairman in attendance appealed for MoRRD and Civil Society intervention to ensure that Government fully implements the Local Court Act of 2011. The Chairman said only the Native Police officers are on pay-roll within the Local Court system. “The lack of salary in the Local Court management is one key challenge that encourages corruption and compromise in the Local Courts”, the Chairman lamented. The launching was followed by a five (5) day refresher training of 8 MoRRD Paralegals working in four (4) Chiefdoms in Kailahun District.