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Controversy over inauguration of new Regional Chief Imam

03,Mar 2016
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The United Council of Imams (UCI) Sierra Leone on Saturday 27th February 2016 inaugurated Alhaji Sheku Jilani Abdulai Sheriff as the Regional Chief Imam, east which makes up of two regional chief Imams for the same position in the region.
Alhaji Zakie Mohamed Waganeh of the Kenema Centre Mosque was also appointed by the traditional authorities led by the Paramount Chief PC Alhaji Amara Bonya Vangahun of Nongowa Chiefdom, Kenema District as Regional Chief Imam.
The inauguration ceremony which was organized by the United Council of Imams, took place at the Blama Road Mosque in Kenema where Muslim jamaats across the country were in attendance.

The new inaugurated Imam thanked all and sundry for giving him the leadership position in the name of Islam, and welcome all to team up with him to work in the interest of the region. He used the occasion to call on the government and other humanitarian organizations to provide an Islamic centre for the Muslim jamaat in Kenema.
At the end of the inauguration ceremony, the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police, Alfred Karrow Kamara invited the National President of the United Council of Imams Sierra Leone, Alhaji Yayah Deen Kamara and his team to the regional police headquarters in Kenema upon complaint he received from traditional rulers in Kenema.
It could be recalled that there has been a long standing conflict between the Muslim jamaat in the eastern region that led to the appointment of the two regional chief Imams which most people here described as tradition versus Islam.
The leadership struggle sparked up after the death of the late Regional Chief Imam, Shek Alhaji Gibril Kamara in 2013.
The Paramount Chief of Nongowa Chiefdom and other local authorities then appointed Alhaji Zakie Mohamed Waganeh who was doing the work of the late regional chiefdom Imam at the central mosque in Kenema while the late man was on sick bed.
This development did not go down will with some members of the Muslim jamaat who argued that the deputy regional chief Imam, Alhaji Alpha Bah of Dama Road Mosque was to be the Acting regional chief Imam which was endorsed by the United Council of Imams during their last national convention held in Kenema in 2014.
The AIG east allowed the two parties to explain themselves but later suggested to them not to have a winner situation as they all belong to the same religion and council. He therefore called for an amicable solution to the problem before it degenerates into conflict, adding that as police their constitutional mandate is to protect life and property thereby ensuring total peace at all times.
He requested the national president of UCI and team to visit the paramount chief to find the way forward.
After the meeting with the paramount chief, both parties agreed to a peaceful settlement. The executive of UCI and the traditional rulers are to soon meet in Kenema to lay the issue to final rest; that will happen after the paramount chief had consulted the 44 paramount chiefs in the region as he promised and then communicate the date with the executive of the United Council of Imams Sierra Leone.
The new regional chief Imam got his University education in Iran.

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