By Amin Kef-Ranger
Currently, tension is mounting within Morifindugu Chiefdom, in Falaba District, Northern Sierra Leone, as deep seated dissatisfaction continues to ferment vis-à-vis the upcoming Paramount Chieftaincy election slated to take place on the 16th June, 2022.
Two of the aspirants that have come forward to contest for the position, Mohamed Kombo Marah and Fulla Lahai Marah, have bitterly objected against four other individuals who also came forward to contest for the same position, claiming that according to law and tradition they have no right to contest. The individuals they are opposed to are Mohamed Saio Marah, Bockarie Sorie Marah, Captain Amara Alimamy Marah and Damba Bockarie Marah of Tuba Village.
According to our Northern reporter, who has been intensely following the situation on the ground, Mohamed Saio Marah, Bockarie Sorie Marah, Captain Amara Alimamy Marah and Damba Bockarie Marah are considered to be total strangers to come forward to claim the Paramount Chieftaincy position but they are using their influence and money to ensure that they succeed in fulfilling their ambition.
He continued that despite objections raised, a Declaration Session has been held on the 23rd May, 2022 and the Provincial Secretary in that part of the country has given clearance for Mohamed Saio Marah, Bockarie Sorie Marah, Captain Amara Alimamy Marah and Damba Bockarie Marah to go ahead and contest. As a matter of fact the four have been awarded symbols to contest.
Our reporter intimated that after thorough and painstaking investigation, during which he contacted some elders of Morifindugu Chiefdom, who gave him an historical rundown, one of the contestants, who is raising objection, Mohamed Kombo Marah’s grandfather was Manteneh Kekura Marah, who contested in a Paramount Chieftaincy election that was held in 1934 and won but the results were nullified. He continued that he again contested in 1940 and lost to Manteneh Bockarie Marah who ruled as Paramount Chief until 1959. “However, during his reign an amalgamation of chiefdoms was done and he ceased to be the Paramount Chief and became the Chiefdom Speaker,” he narrated. Our reporter said the other challenger, Lahai Marah’s father ,Paramount Chief Manteneh Bockarie ruled until he died in 1967.
According to him, Manteneh Kekura Marah and Manteneh Bockarie are the two bona fide Ruling Houses that have right to claim the Paramount Chieftaincy position in that part of the country. He pointed out that it is against that backdrop that the emergence of Mohamed Saio Marah, Bockarie Sorie Marah, Captain Amara Alimamy Marah and Damba Bockarie Marah, as claimants to the position, has been heavily frowned on.
“In fact from what many elders I interviewed told me these four who are being protested against have been long away from the chiefdom and besides they have not contributed in any meaningful way to bring development to the chiefdom but are now coming forward to contest,” he stated in his report.
Our reporter further stated that there is an existing legislation dating back to as far as 1961 of which a provision states that any ruling house that was not existence before 1961 is not qualified or eligible for any individual to come forward and contest under it. He said what that simply means is that the ruling houses under which, the new comers, Mohamed Saio Marah, Bockarie Sorie Marah, Captain Amara Alimamy Marah and Damba Bockarie Marah, are claiming to contest under are not eligible as per tradition to take part in any election.
The tension that is building up, according to our reporter, if not checkmated and ensure that the right steps are followed by the Ministry of Local Government and other relevant stakeholders will degenerate to untold incidents and leave deep seated grudges which will last over time and impact negatively on peaceful co-existence and tranquility within the chiefdom and by extension the district. He suggested that the Provincial Secretary should revisit his decision.
Already, plans are underway to petition the candidature of Mohamed Saio Marah, Bockarie Sorie Marah, Captain Amara Alimamy Marah and Damba Bockarie Marah. It could be recalled that in 2017 de-amalgamation was done which made Morifindugu ceased to be a Section and become a full-fledged Chiefdom that should have its own Paramount Chief.
Already the tension keeps rising unabated leaving the chiefdom sitting on a time bomb.
Frantic efforts made to have the Provincial Secretary’s side proved futile but that will still be pursued.