People of Jimara in the Upper River Region, have reaffirmed their commitment to promote and maintain peace amongst themselves. During a peace Bantaba held at Hella Kunda over the weekend.
The peace Bantaba was organized by Beakanyang; a local organisation, and was attended by over one hundred people, including traditional leaders, political party representatives, village development committee members, Inter-party youth committees and women leaders.
Participants also signed their pledges as a sign of their commitment to promote social cohesion and political tolerance.
Speaking at the start of the event, Nfamara Jawneh, Executive Director of Beakanyang thanked participants for their turnout to the Bantaba, saying the event formed part of their ongoing program that seeks to promote political tolerance and pluralism in the region.
“We are fully aware that since the change of government in 2016, communal conflicts have surged in the region including here, in Jimara. We have realized that conflicts related to politics, caste system and animal encroachment into farmlands have all increased in the region over the years. We cannot continue to live in such an unfortunate situation as a region without addressing,” he said.
He said that was why they have also launched a weekly radio program at Radio Basse called of Peace Hour radio, to promote political tolerance and pluralism in the region.
Mr Jawneh said the radio programme hosts National Assembly Members from the region and members of Inter-party Youth Committee to dialogue with the people on the importance of maintaining social cohesion and harmony.
He disclosed that the objective of the Bantaba is to provide a platform for dialogue among the people of Jimara and to help them identify the main causes of conflict and map out strategies to mitigate them.
“It is our hope that at the end of this forum, you will identify the main causes of political intolerance, conflicts and other factors undermining peace in your communities and also provide possible solutions to such a problem,” he said.
The National Assembly member for Jimara, Alhagie Sowe, thanked Beakanyang for promoting peace in the district. He urged the people of the region to reconcile and forgive each other for their past misunderstandings.
“We must put aside our political and other differences and focus on the development of Jimara,” he said.
He admonished the participants to take the forum seriously and to share the knowledge from it with other members of their communities.
Representing the Chief of Jimara, Baa Touray of Bakadaji village said as Gambians, people must all jealously guard the peace in the country.
Speaking earlier, Aja Jarai Jagana, lady Councilor of Jimara commended the hosting of such an event in the district, saying there are many problems in the communities in the district that such forums could help to resolve.
Fanding Barrow, a board member of Beakanyang applauded the International Republican Institute for funding the conference and reiterated his organisation’s commitment in promoting peace and unity in the district and the region as a whole.