By Elias Bangura & Abubakarr Kamara :
Kasunko Chiefdom Development Foundation (KaCDeF) has been launched over the weekend on 26 April 2014 at Fadugu Town in Koinadugu district, to complement government in the area of development.
Kasunko Chiefdom is a part of Constituency 47 and is composed of eight administrative units – Kasunko, Kakelay, Kagbokobo, Kayaka, Tamiso I, Tamiso II Mandingo section, and Fullah section – and it is also composed of 14 major towns and 78 villages with an estimate of 3,978 farm families of which 90 percent are vulnerable farm families due to the eleven years rebel war. (2003S/L Governance/FAO estimate).
Because of this lack of development, the five sections have come together to form an association to bring development into Kasunko chiefdom, because they assume governments, before and now, has wholly forgotten about them.
The association was launched by the Kabala District Officer, Thomas Lansana Kamara, who traveled down to Fadugu for the launch. He was impressed with the move of the whole chiefdom in coming together because he noticed KaCDeF’s membership cuts across including those who are resident in the chiefdom and those in Freetown and other places.
“KaCDeF, I have noticed and seen, is everyone’s business,” he said before the launch at the Fadugu Court Barry. “This is an association where everyone in this chiefdom should belong – and contributions towards its activities should come from everyone and should be in cash or kind, according to your ability.”
He said the whole thing about development is about setting your mind to it, and once that is done you can achieve anything you want to achieve. But two things are necessary, he said, which are trust and accountability.
“And another thing, make sure whoever donates towards the progress of KaCDeF should be acknowledged and appreciated. Before I launch the association, my advice is that everyone above 18 years should belong. Make KaCDeF a point of sacrifice, and I am humbly pledging Le 100,000 to it. Long live the people of Kasunko and long live Sierra Leone.”
Earlier, in giving an overview of the association, president of KaCDeF, Pastor Robert Malaika Koroma, said Kasunko as a whole has a lot of catching up to do in terms of development, compared to other parts of the country.
“Since independence, Kasunko Chiefdom has never been recognized officially to be brought on board in the area of development, hence our forming KaCDeF, to address some of the perennial problems that have plagued us over the years.”
He said the chiefdom has eight administrative sections – this has been taken into account and has been captured in the KaCDeF constitution and a five-year strategic plan, all geared towards delivering the much needed development that Kasunko has been yearning for since independence.
“Since KaCDeF has been registered as a community base organization, we think it should be strong financially. Most importantly, we want to be able to engage government on development, including NGOs, and non-religious entities towards the development of Kasunko.”
The needs of Kasunko range from roads, healthcare centres, agricultural facilitation, schools and recreational centres.
“KaCDeF plans to go on commercial ventures, open a guest house here in Fadugu, build stores for our traders, provide power saws, a radio station, gravity water pipe outlets, open a website, and stand up for the welfare of members. Best of all, KaCDeF has given to you and me an opportunity to meet and know each other. I know KaCDeF will grow from strength to strength, because we are all well-meaning and sincere.”
And in that vein, he added, KaCDeF has decided to donate some wheelbarrows, shovels, pick axes, and shovels towards the self-help road projects being undertaken at Karassa; plus a full scholarship to the first two passes at NPSE for the next three years of junior secondary; including also the first two passes at BECE, they will receive a full four year scholarship of senior secondary schooling.
KaCDeF’s Education Committee Chairman who made the donation, Rev Samuel Sama Kamara, said education is key – and it is because of the lack of it that has made Kasunko to be worse off today: this should no more be the case but parents should make a determined effort to send their children to school.
Since education is crucial, concerted efforts are underway to have all the community schools in the chiefdom to be assisted by Government because the different communities are unable to maintain these schools.
Paramount Chief Baio Serry III of Fadugu said his heart is full of joy about everything; that indeed KaCDeF has done very well.
“They have thrown the ball to us to come on board towards the development of our chiefdom, “he said. “Many others went away from here and have become ashamed of us, but not these: now let us show them support and cooperation. I am begging every child of Kasunko not to let them down.”
Member of Parliament of Constituency 47 (comprising Kasunko and Bafodia), Hon Mohamed Lamin Mansaray, said Kasunko used to be a Class A chiefdom but today it is a Class C chiefdom; as such it is everyone’s business to restore it to its former status.
He appealed to KaCDeF to work towards Kasunko’s development because presently it is being besieged with timber logging which is going on in every part of the chiefdom with little benefit to the people. The effect of deforestation, he said, is very grave and it is why the Ministry of Agriculture has written a letter to the effect for people to desist from reckless logging.
“We want to make Kasunko a new Kasunko,” said Hon Mansaray. “We are ready and so let no one stand in our way.”
As a gesture towards the move taken by KaCDeF, he made a donation of exams materials to over 300 pupils writing the NPSE exams in Kasunko chiefdom.
Chairman of the program, Will Bantama, said he is proud of everyone, especially KaCDeF for having made Kasunko a priority – as such, everyone should have an open mind and discuss freely the issues affecting the whole chiefdom.
The issues are many – and KaCDeF has as its specific objectives towards assisting in the co-ordination of developmental projects operating in the chiefdom; stimulate and promote the establishment /strengthening of community based development groups /organizations in all sections of the chiefdom; facilitate the rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads in the chiefdom; coordinate all development activities in the chiefdom in close collaboration with appropriate governmental and other development agencies; support community-based groups to identify and establish functional links with partner institutions within and outside Sierra Leone; and serve as a vehicle for channeling of resources for the improvement of agriculture, education and health infrastructure in the chiefdom.
Several stakeholders made presentations including Secretary General of KaCDeF, Abubakarr Kamara; councilors of Ward 160 & 160, Ballay Mansaray and Eddie Thoronka; and youth leader Foday Thoronka.
Questions and answers formed part of the launch, and the vote of thanks was made by Chief Payo Mansaray.