Titus Boye-Thompson, Communications Expert
Young people in Kabala have shown remorse, regretting the unseemly incident in the last weeks when they went on rampage in the District Headquarter Town, burning down public property and a fracas that resulted in some deaths by shooting. In a packed meeting at the Council Offices on Saturday 27th August 2016, Youth Chairman of Kasongo Youth Council and vice Chair of Koinadugu District Youth Council made a passionate plea for clemency on behalf of all young people in the District and particularly so for the District Youth Executive, some of whose members have fled the District to avoid criminal investigation and prosecution.
Yapoh Sesay informed the gathering of stakeholders, the Police and other members of the community that the youths are now regretful for their impulsive action and stressed that Kabala Youths have always been peaceful and law abiding. He commented on the leadership style of the erstwhile District Youth Chairman as one of inclusiveness, having brought in measures to engage young people across the District through establishment of local youth councils and networks to ensure that the voice of young people are heard and that their actions are more coordinated. He lamented the incident that have caused lives of young people to be lost and the burning of public buildings as an issue that was not properly handled and that for the wanton destruction that has been caused, the young people are now very regretful for their actions.
Yapoh Sesay was quick to stress that he was absent when the incident started due to an issue that demanded his attention at Kasongo, alongside the chief and other elders of that community. He praised the District Youth Chairman as a person who had love for Koinadugu District citing that his first achievement upon taking up office was to solve an outstanding issue between the Paramount Chief of Komboya and the Youths. He however reiterated a point made by a previous speaker who raised issue about Police Officers who have served for a long time in the community, indicating that when that happens, they tend to act with some degree of impunity and disregard for local traditions and customs.
He raised particular issue about a certain Inspector of Police who he said was known to have a bad relationship with youths and was in effect in constant conflict with them. “I want also to appeal to the authorities in saying that that the demonstration was not intended to be violent or aggressive.” He said. He recounted reasons why in his own opinion, demonstrations are not reasonable ways of venting disaffection in African countries because of the way errant, disgruntled and misguided youths would drag such activities to lawlessness and mayhem.
The second in command of the Youth Council apologized for what happened. “I only wished that the youths had waited until the President returned to seek his counsel on the matter of the Youth Village before going to such extent to bring violence and lawlessness in this District,” he concluded.
The Inspector General of Police Francis Alieu Munu responded to Yapoh Sesay’s impassioned plea that he would request that inventory be taken of the items at the Youth Centre and for the young people to continue to enjoy that facility but observing the curfew that is still in place. IG Munu also promised to state the position of the Police to the presiding Magistrate on account of those held in custody that subject to the proper guarantees and sureties in place, there would be no objection to them being granted bail.
IG Munu also acquiesced to a request from the Minister of State, North for the release of bikes owned by young people that have been held at Kabala Town and Mongoh. He also promised to act on the request by Femi Mansaray, MP for a Police Post at Bafordia. The meeting which was attended by luminaries in Kabala was agreed that the youth action to demonstrate that resulted in such wanton loss of life and property was ill advised and impulsive.
The stakeholders however pleaded on their behalf for some consideration that Kabala has always been a peaceful society and that they are committed to strengthening the local institutions and networks, especially the Chiefs to be empowered so that they can exercise more control and authority over the people.