The executive director of Beakanyang has urged the people of Jimara in the Upper River Region to put aside their various differences and maintain peace at all times.
Nfamara Jawneh was speaking over the weekend during a peace Bantaba held at Hella Kunda village.
The peace bantaba was organised by Beakanyang and was attended by over one hundred participants including traditional leaders, political party representatives, village development committee members, Inter-party youth committees and women leaders.
According to him, the event formed part of their ongoing programme 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,” he said.
He added: “We have also realised 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 unfortunate situation as a region without addressing,” he added.
Jawneh told the gathering that they must tolerate each and use their diversity as an asset to propel development.
“People are free to exercise their political rights without any form of harassment or intimidation and therefore we must stop all forms of actions that could undermine peace in Jimara and the country as a whole,” he said.
He reaffirmed his organisation’s commitment in working closely with the people of Jimara in promoting peace within the district.
He recalled that they have also launched a weekly radio programme at Radio Basse called “Peace Hour” radio to promote political tolerance and pluralism in the region.
He said the radio programme hosts National Assembly Members from the region and members of Inter-Party Youth Committee to engage in dialogue with the people on the importance of maintaining social cohesion and harmony.
He disclosed that the objective of the bantaba was 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 such problems.
“It’s 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 problem,” he added.
In his opening remarks, the National Assembly Member for Jimara, Alhagie Sowe, thanked Beakanyang for promoting peace in the district.
He urged 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 urged participants to take the forum seriously and to share the knowledge from it with other members of their communities.
Representing the chief of Jimara at the event was Baa Touray of Bakadaji village. He said as Gambians we must all jealously guard our peace.
Speaking earlier, Aja Jarai Jagana, lady councillor of Jimara commended the hosting of such events in the district.
According to her, there are so many problems in the communities in the district that such forums could help resolve.
Fanding Barrow, a board member of Beakanyang applauded the International Republican Institute for funding the conference.
He reiterated his organisation’s commitment in promoting peace and unity in the district and the region as a whole.
Meanwhile, Jimara is the place where both President Adama Barrow and Gambia Democratic Congress, GDC leader Mamma Kandeh hailed from.
In the past, there have been clashes between the supporters of the two prominent politicians.
Observers believe that this type of interventions by civil society organisations like Beakanyang could serve as a proper mechanism to promote reconciliation and social cohesion in the district.