Thousands of inhabitants in the Malen Chiefdom, Pujehun district including local authorities, held a mammoth meeting in Sahn (the Chiefdom headquarter town) on Monday 27th June, 2016 to vent out their frustration and anger against some so-called CSOs (Civil Society Organizations) and NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations). The people of Malen Chiefdom and their local authorities publicly urged these CSOs and NGOs not to interfere with their way of life.
Displaying huge placards and banners, some of which read, “FIAN-Belgium and Green Scenery: Don’t Divide Us”, “NGOs Leave Us To Work & Live In Peace”, “Green Scenery and FIAN-Belgium: Stop Your Interference,” “Our Future Is In Our Hands”, the people of Malen Chiefdom said unequivocally that they are very much comfortable with the operations of agribusiness giants, Socfin (Sierra Leone) Limited in their Chiefdom.
A Section Chief in Malen Chiefdom who also took part in that big public meeting on Monday told the Global Times last night, “We are really fed up with these NGOs and CSOs…They have become a nuisance in our Chiefdom… We have told President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma (on a visit to our Chiefdom) that we are satisfied with the relationship we have with Socfin…The company has employed about four thousand people (especially from this Chiefdom)…The company has built schools for our children, Mosques for the Muslim community, Hospitals and Clinics for us, community toilets have been built, they have constructed roads, our Chiefdom is now booming with business activities, we now have a bank here, all of these happened because Socfin is here”.
The people of Malen Chiefdom have stated openly that, “There is no illegal activity going on in our Chiefdom… No human rights violations, no land grabbing and no intimidation”, they said in a letter to Green Scenery dated Monday June 27, 2016.
The people of Malen Chiefdom denied the NGO and CSOs’ narrative that, they were forced to lease their land to Socfin. “That statement is a big lie and we cannot accept such untruth to continue to be told by NGOs and CSOs any more…This misleading narrative has got to stop now,” the Chiefdom Spokesman said.
See letter to Green Scenery below.
Mr. Joseph Rahall
The Executive Director
Date: 27th June 2016
Mr. Manu Eggen
We have noticed various newspaper publications and got copy of a letter claimed to be sent by 42 NGOs and 120,000 signatures presented to the President of Sierra Leone.
In your publications and letter you claim to defend the rights of indigenes of Malen Chiefdom. Today Monday 27th June, we have gathered here in Sahn Town, with 500 local leaders and representatives of the people and have unanimously declared that we DONT want and DONT need your interference with Malen Chiefdom and the presence of the investor Socfin Agricultural Company.
As far as we the people of Malen Chiefdom are concerned, there are no illegal actions going on including, land grabbing, human rights violation, intimidation as you alleged. The Socfin project has provided jobs for the people of Malen Chiefdom which has increased a positive economic impact added to its
Corporate Social Responsibilities are strides in the right direction which did not exist before, hence our lives have changed much for the better.
On Corporate Social Responsibilities, Socfin is building roads, schools, hospitals, communities toilets and barrays, paying teachers, support medical staffs, provide 24 hours ambulance service for the communities, 24 hours Electricity to the Sahn hospital, mechanized rice farming on boliland and IVS, etc which has contributed in making Malen the most developed Chiefdom in Sierra Leone and we the people are very happy with such developments. Please tell us, what is your interest of telling the world this incredible story differently? Who are you trying to help? Certainly yourselves! Clearly, your actions are hindering the development and prosperity of us here in Malen and Sierra Leone as a country which is classified as a dangerous move and you must STOP it.
We kindly appeal to you to put your interest somewhere else and you including the former Member of Parliament, now MALOA, who lost the democratic elections because he has been against Socfin from the beginning. Leave us in peace and leave us alone. NGOs can have a positive turn, but your actions are proving too destructive and you are nowhere supported by the people of Malen Chiefdom.
So please Mister Rahall, Mister Eggen, Mister Sama and all NGOs divert your attentions somewhere else and LEAVE US AND SOCFIN IN PEACE. We can solve problems we may have ourselves very well and do not need nor want your “help”.
To talk about land grabbing is nonsense, consultations were held in 2009 and 2010 respectively within the entitle Malen Chiefdom regarding Socfin’s project which was an up to now is a laudable process and the big majority of people agreed to lease their land. However, some people decided NOT to give-up their land and up-to-date such people retain their land and were untouched by Socfin. This group of people include the likes of Mr. Shiaka Sama, Mr. Sema Mattia, Lawyer Brima S. Kebbie to name but a few.
The people of Malen Chiefdom are astonished to hear that they were NOT informed or did not agree to lease their land to Socfin, this is a big lie and we cannot accept such untrue and unfounded statement.
Nobody’s human right is threatened by Socfin or their presence in the Chiefdom as long as you are within the ambit of the laws of the state.
Our lives have greatly improved, we have schools, hospitals, fish pond, scholarships for our children and so on and if we are not happy we can always talk to the company and our Paramount Chief.
Read the original article here: http://www.globaltimes-sl.com/malen-chiefdom-revolts-against-ngos/