From the Editor’s Keyboard

President Koroma and the War Victims Trust Fund

11 August 2017 at 15:53 | 1973 views

Editor’s Note: This article was first published here on October 22, 2009.

By Bai-Bai Sesay, PV correspondent, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

After our country, Sierra Leone, witnessed one of the bloodiest civil wars in Africa, the time has come for the government of Ernest Bai Koroma (photo) to make history as the first government to set up a trust fund for our war victims.

This, we all know, will make him more popular among Sierra Leoneans both at home and abroad. Apart from making our head of state popular, I do believe this trust fund is another way of bringing sustainable peace and stability to our beloved Sierra Leone as it will help our war victims to cope with daily life.

The establishment of a War Victims Trust Fund is a thing any government coming from a devastating war should not take lightly but think about seriously and implement quickly. This is a matter the government of President Koroma should address immediately with his cabinet ministers by explaining the good side of it in the interest of those who suffered from the war.

As a concerned citizen, I believe our President has the country at heart and he is a man who always listens to advice as long as it is of public interest. I have information that the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) has notified his government about the number of war victims it has registered so far. I believe the figure is approximately thirty thousand victims this year in all 149 chiefdoms and the Western Area.

President Koroma is willing to succumb to anything as long as it is for the good of the country. This is where I want my president and his government through NaCSA in collaboration with the UN agencies to start working on setting up a trust fund for the war victims.

As we all know, a Trust Fund is a mechanism to encourage voluntary contributions from all categories of people for the sustainability of the programme and the provision of benefits to the victims of the war over the next several years.

I heard that his government had provided some benefits to these victims including surgeries to remove bullets lodged in their bodies, fistula surgeries for sexually violated women, micro grants, group psychosocial support and symbolic reparations.

Sierra Leoneans should embrace this trust fund idea with the support of donors in order to sustain the programme. The President should call on all Sierra Leoneans, the donor community, international organizations, government institutions, embassies, Non Governmental Organizations and others to donate to this Trust Fund towards the victims of the eleven-year civil war.

We should congratulate president Koroma and his government for a job well done. This is something we should not hide behind doors but something we should praise him for. Such opportunities, if given to the War Victims by providing the above mentioned will promote peace, healing and reconciliation in our beloved and blessed country.

Let us reflect on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report of 2004 on the war victims. The time has come for the government of Ernest Bai Koroma with support from the international community to set up a Special Trust Fund for the War Victims in this our beloved country.

As a Sierra Leonean, I believe the trust fund will create an impact on our brothers and sisters who suffered and are still bearing the effects of the civil conflict.