|• Type||District Council|
|• Council Chairman||Rita Savage (SLPP)|
|• Total||3,468 km2 (1,339 sq mi)|
|Time zone||Greenwich Mean Time (UTC0)|
Bonthe District is a district comprises several islands and mainland of the Atlantic Ocean in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone. Its capital is the town of Mattru Jong and its largest city is Bonthe, on Sherbro Island. As of 2012 the district had an estimated population of 140,845. The district is the least populous in Sierra Leone. Bonthe District is subdivided into eleven chiefdoms.
The District occupies a total area of 3,468 km². The District of Bonthe borders the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Moyamba District to the northwest, Bo District to the southeast and Pujehun District to the south.
Bonthe district is primarily inhabited by the Sherbro people (who are the native people of the district); and the Mende people, who immigrated to the district from Mende-dominant areas in the southern part of Sierra Leone.
Bonthe District has one of the world's largest deposits of titanium ore (rutile) in the world. Sierra Rutile Limited, owned by a consortium of US and European investors, began commercial mining operations in Bonthe in early 1979. Due to poor mining policy, the region has little to show for this huge economic potential. There are no good roads, water supply or electricity. Bonthe District continues to suffer from one of the worst environmental degradation episodes in living memory.
Bonthe District is mainly inhabited by the Mende and Sherbro people. The Mende are the largest ethnic group in the district; followed by the Sherbro people.
Bonthe District is divided into two political administrations; the district headquarters town on the Sherbro Island is headed by a Municipal Mayor, and the main land is governed by a district council Chairman based in Mattru Jong. The Bonthe District is headed by the District Council Chairman; he and the Municipal Mayor are the highest local government officials in the district of Bonthe. The District Council Chairman and the Municipal Mayor are responsible for the general management of the district and for seeing that all local laws are enforced. The District Council Chairman is elected directly by the residents of Bonthe District. The current District Council Chairman of Bonthe District Council is Mrs. Rita Savage of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP). She was elected in a landslide victory in the November, 2012 Sierra Leone local government election.
The district is made up of eleven chiefdoms as the third level of administrative subdivision. Although the headquarters town, Bonthe, is located on Sherbro Island, it is part of neither of the two chiefdoms on the island: Sittia and Dema. Instead, the town is part of the Bonthe Sherbro Municipality, outside of the chiefdom administrative structure.
Members of Parliament
Bonthe District is a stronghold of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP). In the 2012 Sierra Leone presidential and parliamentary Elections, the SLPP won the majority of the votes in Bonthe District. The party also won all of the three seats in the Sierra Leone Parliament from Bonthe District.
The District has only three Representatives in the Parliament of Sierra Leone, of which all three were elected for a 5-year term in the 2012 Sierra Leone General Elections. The district is a stronghold of the main opposition party, the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP). Below are the list of Representatives in the Sierra Leonean Parliament:
|Kaine P. Thomas||SLPP|
|P.C. Kaipoma||Non party-allied|
The main economic activities include fishing, rice growing and palm oil plantations. Mattru is the main city, located 52 miles southwest of Bo, along the Jong River, which provides access to Sherbro Island and the Atlantic Ocean.
Effects of the civil war
Bonthe district was first among the districts in the Southern Province to undertake voluntary resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 1997 among all economic hardship and combatant activities. The District suffered the mass exodus of IDPs when Sierra Rutile Company (the largest foreign exchange earner, taxpayer and employer of mine workers) suffered damage and destruction when attacked by fighting forces in 1995, and during all phases of the war. The company terminated its operations.
Many indigenes, however, believe that the resettlement and rehabilitation activities of IDPs and restart of mining operations will help fast track the recovery process. They believe this could complement government in consolidation of peace and the drive for recovery.
- "World Gazetteer: Bonthe".
- Sherbro Island is commonly known as "Bonthe Island". Smith, L. Alison; Gambette, Catherine and Longley, Thomas (10 March 2004). Conflict Mapping in Sierra Leone: Violations of Humanitarian Law from 1991 to 2002 (PDF). Freetown, Sierra Leone: No Peace Without Justice. p. 412, note 1157.
- "The 149 Chiefdoms of Sierra Leone". Sierra Leone Web. Archived from the original on 18 August 2000.
- Smith 2004, p. 412
- "Mattru". world-gazetteer.com.
- Parts of this article reproduced with permission from http://www.daco-sl.org