Hundreds of spectators and cultural groups from across the Upper River Region –URR- Thursday, November 28, gathered at Sutukonding village Bantaba in Wuli West District for the maiden edition of URR Unity Festival.
The festival which attracted participants from different political parties, tribes, young and old, was organised by Beakanyang Kafo and funded and supported by the International Republican Institute (IRI).
Yahya Sumareh, board chairman of Beakanyang reiterated his organisation’s commitment in promoting political tolerance, pluralism and peace in the region, while commending the IRI for supporting the Gambia through its democratic transition.
Executive Director of Beakanyang Nfamara Jawuneh, thanked the people of URR especially those of Wuli West, Sandu, Jimara and Kantora for their large turnout at the festival.
According to him, the aim of the URR Unity Festival, which was anchored on hashtag #URR Kankiling, was to provide a unique opportunity for the people of the region to celebrate their diversity and to promote social cushion and tolerance among themselves.
He urged the people of the region not to allow politics to divide them, saying they should instead embraced one another while respecting each other’s’ rights to political participation and other fundamental rights.
“We all know that the developments going on in the region, such as roads and bridge construction will be hampered if there is no peace in the region and the country as a whole,” he said.
Alhagie Kijera, Sutukonding ward councilor urged people of the region to forgive each other and reconcile among themselves.
Mariama Trawalleh, a female representative at Basse Area Council urged women to be active participants in politics but urged them not to allow it to destroy their relationships.
Alieu Kebbeh, chairperson of URR Inter-Party Youth Committee thanked Beakanyang for organising such an important activity for the people of the region.
He used the opportunity to call on the government to provide more support to the young people of the region, while urging youth themselves to remain proactive and to effectively participate in the development of the nation.
In his opening remarks, Momodou Jallow, representative of the Head Chief of Wuli West applauded Beakanyang for their innovative ways of engaging communities in the region.
According to him, as local authorities, they were pleased to be associated with such progressive activities.
He advised participants to embrace peace and tolerance while reaffirming their resolve in supporting such activities in the region.
Speaking earlier, Alkalo of Sutukonding, Mawdo Jatta and Youth Leader of Sutukonding Alhagie Jawuneh thanked Beakanyang for choosing their community for such an important event and welcomed the participants to join the ambience.
Meanwhile, all the tribes in the region including Fula, Mandingo and Sarahule showcased their rich cultures at the festival as well as local artists and drama performances by youth.