Alhaji Dumbuya: The APC – North America Peacemaker
As a young man growing up in a ruling family, Alhaji Al Hajj Serray Dumbuya observed his grandfather preside over conflicts in his Port Loko community. He always admired the fact that, no matter how tough a case was, his grandfather was always able to resolve the issue peacefully leaving both parties feeling satisfied.
Having experienced how justice is dispensed in the traditional Africa communal setting, in a fair and just manner, he knew from a young age that he wanted to be able to do the same, to bring people together, resolve issues and help people live in peace.
That was why when he began contacting the various factions or parties within the APC-NA for a peace meeting, those who know him only wished him the very best. Considering the manner in which the issues within the branch had escalated and publicized and the deep rancour and animosity that had simmered, it was a tall order for one man to want to engage in.
Despite the challenges, he was not deterred. He kept trying and praying for God’s help, guidance and patience. A lot of patience was needed as he had to put up with a lot from all sides who were constantly ready to express their views and conditions; sometimes making it seem like peace will never come to APC-North America.Â He kept pushing and was able to convince all until representatives of the seven suspended APC Chapters, Ambassador Bockarie and representatives of the interim executive showed up at his Lanham residence.
As peace and normalcy returns to APC–North America and a united force is once again working together for the good of the party, Alhaji seems to have followed what the Quran admonishes about peacemakers for Surah 42 called Ash Shura-the consultation verse 40 states clearly that “whoever promotes peace his reward rest with God, for verily God does not love evildoers.” The same verse can be translated by biblical followers in Matthew 5:9 as “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.”
Many in the Sierra Leonean community proudly tell me that though quiet, he does not seek the spotlight. In fact, if anything, he likes to work behind the scenes as he continues to use his passion for bringing people together for the common good, to solve conflicts in the various communities where he has resided. He has mediated conflicts among friends and work mates and even though it is sometimes a difficult venture, he tells me “someone has to do it.Â We need to learn to live with each other in peace.”
A native of Port Loko and having being surrounded by people with a profound dedication to public service, Alhaji Al Hajj Serray Dumbuya always knew that he wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. He knew he wanted to empower people and help them become useful in their communities.Â
In his current position as program director at United Communities Against Poverty, Inc in Capitol Heights, Maryland, he is doing just that. He does not just do so to make a living; he continues to help many who come his way in his Sierra Leonean community. It sure makes a difference when you get paid for something you enjoy doing. UCAP dedicates their services to serving as advocates for communities that are disproportionately affected by poverty, inadequate health access, educational imbalances, homelessness, and unemployment.
Those who know him tell me it is not a surprise because his uncle, late Sorie Ibrahim (SI) Koroma, former vice president of Sierra Leone, may have inspired him to want to serve others in whatever community he finds himself as he participated in his late uncle’s self help projects that he instituted in Port Loko.Â Â He recalls how he and other young boys of his age used to carry cement on their heads to contractors to be used for the construction of the Port Loko government hospital and other self help projects.
Asked to share memories of his late uncle, “he not only wanted us to succeed academically but he always admonished us to work hard and sacrifice in whatever we do and to help others in our own little ways” he tells me in a soft voice. S.I. Koroma was the man who you come close to “only to read your school result to him. You are his friend, his favourite and he will buy you anything when you pass your exams with flying colours or you took the first position in your class. He inspired me to work hard to earn his favours,” said he.Â It is clear the soft-spoken Alhaji listened to his late uncle as he not only succeeded academically but also strives daily to work hard in everything he does and help those that he can.
After he sat to the SC/GCE at Schlenker Secondary School, he was employed at Lungi International Airport as an Accounts Clerk for a period of two years before securing a scholarship through the APC Youth League for studies in Czechoslovakia, (now Czech Republic). From 1984 through 1989, he completed a five year Masters Degree program in Social Science and Law followed by a Jurist Doctorate (JD) in 1991.
Upon completion of his studies, he moved to the USA in 1991 and in 1999, enrolled in the Masters of Social Work (MSW) program at the University of Maryland which he successfully completed in June 2002. Since 1991, he has dedicated his life working in the Social Services field and has held among many others positions such as Mental Health Counselor, Behaviour Specialist and Social Worker.
A devout Muslim and an active member of his Lanham Muslim Jamaat, he is highly respected for making conscious efforts to performing his five daily prayers. That he finds time to meet his religious obligations in a country where it is always about working and paying bills exemplify his character and firmness of purpose. In a Muslim community with people of diverse backgrounds, his conflict resolution skills have been tested over and again but he has always succeeded in bring peace when unity eludes them.
As Secretary General of the Port Loko Descendants Association USA, he and members are actively engaged in raising funds for the development of Port Loko district. He is also sponsoring the construction of an elementary school for the children of Port Loko which he hopes to commission later this year when he visits.
Having been afforded with a decent education, he clearly understands the value of education which is one of the priorities that he invests in. He is also actively seeking funds for an organization called “Kids Arise” in Port Loko; an organization formed by kids who lost their parents during the rebel war. He has provided one of the houses owned by his father for use as office.
During his visit to the United States a few weeks ago, he organized and invited Hon. Alhaji Abu Bakarr Samuel Sumana, Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, to visit and observe Friday prayer (Jumah) at Prince George’s Association mosque in Lanham, Maryland, where he is also a member of the executive committee charged with the responsibility of organizing the pilgrimage to the holy land of Mecca. He is a proud member of the APC Washington, DC Chapter.
Besides his passion for conflict resolution, forty-five year old Alhaji Dumbuya is also an ardent reader and enjoys jogging and playing table tennis.
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