Couple of months ago, in the North/East and West of Sierra Leone, thirty-eight chiefdoms have been de–amalgamated, including four in Bombali: Gbantie, Bombali Shearay, Magbaimba and Kamaranka; eight in the newly established Falaba district: Neya, Kulor –Saradu, Mongo, Morfindugu and Kebelia, Dembelia Musia, Kamadugu Yiraia and Barawa – Wollay; nine in Tonkolili: Kalantuba, Kafe, Mayeppo, Kholifa Mayossoh – Mamuntha, Konike Folawusu, , Yele, Masakong Mala and Yoni Mamaila; five in Port Loko district: Bureh, Maconteh, Maforki, Kamasondo, and Thainkatopa; three chiefdoms in Kambia: Braimaia, Gbinle and Munu – Tala and four in also the newly established Karene district: Tambaka Yobangie, Mafonda Makerembay,Romende and Safroko.
Initially, some chiefdoms were single - but have now been divided into three, for instance: Gbonkolenken in the Tonkolili district and Mongo, in the new Falaba district. The six old chiefdoms that existed include: Gbantie in Bombali, Sanda Magbolontoh in Port Loko, Wara Wara Bafodia/Sulima in Falaba, Kholifa Mabang in Tonkolili and Loko Massama in Port Loko districts.
In the meantime, vacant chiefdoms across Sierra Leone are being overseen by old and newly appointed Regent Chiefs until elections are held. By law, Regent Chiefs all over Sierra Leone are part of the electioneering process, but are disqualified from contesting for chieftaincy – by the Chieftaincy Act.
The Provincial Secretary North said: “As scheduled by the Local Government Ministry, chieftaincy elections can be held before end of the year, so as to give ample time to Paramount Chief MPs that would be representing the various districts in Parliament”.
He also disclosed that the process to de – amalgamate every chiefdom cannot be done at a go inasmuch as criteria has to be met; which is not limited to the number of taxpayers, the number of villages and so on and on. Mustapha said: “The beauty of the de – amalgamation process is the tolerance and opportunity given to usually deprived and disadvantaged Sections of the amalgamated chiefdoms, as can be opportune now to routine chieftaincy, having waited too long either.
The Provincial Secretary North further made clear that one of the criteria for an individual to contest for chieftaincy in line with the Chieftaincy Act demands that the individual should belong to a ‘Ruling House’ which must have existed before 1961. He briefed that: “only a Tribal Authority that yearly pays his/her tax; who as well, yearly pays tax for twenty taxpayers - is eligible to vote in a chieftaincy election, depending on the compliance of the taxpayers in the chiefdom”.
According to Ahmed Mustapha, another Provincial Secretary for the North Western province has to be appointed by the head of Civil Service plus two District Officers for the two newly established Districts of Falaba and Karene. He declined to give date (s) for any of the chieftaincy elections. He also did not disclose when the District Officers will have to fill in the vacant positions for Karene and Falaba districts, despite asked.