Loko Elders to storm Local Gov’t Ministry, IMC over publication
Following the publication of a story in a local tabloid on Tuesday that implicated the Loko Tribal Head in the Western Area, Alhaji Alpha Saidu Sesay, elders of the tribe in a meeting yesterday resolved to engage the Director in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development today on some of the allegations that were raised in the story.
The Loko elders also resolved that they should make a formal complaint to the Independent Media Commission (IMC) against the local tabloid immediately they leave the Local Government Ministry.
The story alleged, amongst other things, that a cross section of members of the Loko community in Freetown has expressed serious concern over what it described as “the decision by the acting Loko Tribal Head for the Western Area, Alhaji Alpha Saidu Sesay to impose requirements for crowning chiefs within his tribe contrary to government policy.”
The story furthered that, “Anybody who wants to be crowned Loko sub-Chief in the Western Area must provide a total of Le1.23M, plus one bag rice, one goat, one ‘bata’ palm oil, one bag onions, one carton tomato, one bag salt, Maggie, pepper, groundnut and two pieces of white cloth (shartin) as handshake (Borah).”
The story also quoted a senior official of the Local Government Ministry as saying that “Chief Alpha Alhaji Alpha Sesay is in an acting capacity and that he is not mandated in law to crown any sub-chiefs for now.”
Furiously reacting to those allegations in an interview with our reporter, Alhaji Alpha Sesay pointed accusing fingers at the suspended Loko Tribal Head, Alhaji Kandeh Aruna Sesay with his ally Chief Alimamy Palmer for the negative publication in the local tabloid, as well as the senior official of the Local Government Ministry that was quoted in the story, for misleading the reporter.
According to Alhaji Alpha Sesay, he received an appointment letter from the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development on 28th July, 2015 clearly stating that “It has pleased His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, to appoint Alhaji Alpha Saidu Sesay as the Loko Tribal Head of the Western Area….”
He said on 2nd August, 2015, he held an interactive meeting with all the Loko Tribal sub-Chiefs, adding that during the meeting, he noticed division among the chiefs some of whom were not on speaking terms.
Alhaji Sesay said he made relentless effort to reconcile their difference on Friday 7th August, 2015 and succeeded, adding that following the reconciliation meeting, he took them to the Loko Mosque at James Street for Juma prayers.
He said he also took the sub-chiefs and other stakeholders to the Baptist Church at Circular Road to pray for God to intervene and bring peace and unity within the Loko tribe.
“I took them to all the Loko mosques and churches in the Western Area and consequently, I succeeded in bringing peace and unity among the sub-chiefs with the exception of Chief Alimamy Palmer who is still with the suspended Tribal Head,” Alhaji Sesay claimed.
He alleged that Chief Alimamy Palmer is always saying that one day Alhaji Kandeh Aruna Sesay will be reinstated because he (Alhaji Sesay) has only been given a temporary position.
“I worked faithfully, diligently and honestly for forty years before I retired; I never lobbied anyone to get my appointment from the President through the Local Government Minister,” Alhaji Sesay said.
He maintained that as Loko Tribal Head in the Western Area, his intention is to bring sanity to the Loko tribe some of whose members, he said, have defected to other tribes like some members of the Limba tribe did prior to the emergence of the late President Siaka Probyn Stevens in 1968.
“I love my tribe and it is my pleasure to unite them because I have noticed that some are identifying themselves with other tribes instead of their own,” Alhaji Sesay said, adding that some highly placed personalities with lost identities have proudly returned to their Loko root under his leadership, citing names like Elvis Kargbo Esq., Fio Edwards Esq. and the Minister of Sports, Paul Mohamed Kamara who are fully cooperating with him to promote the Loko tribe in the Western Area.
“But despite all my efforts to bring peace and unity among the sub-chiefs who were not on speaking terms, and to encourage some of our brothers and sisters in high places to see reason to come on board, the suspended Loko Tribal Head is going around telling people in certain quarters that I have not yet agreed on observing the chieftaincy rites (Kanta) as demanded by their tradition,” Alhaji Sesay said.
He added that it is for the love of bringing his people together that he has braced up to serve them in that capacity, but however vowed that as a devout Muslim who has made the pilgrimage five times, he will never join the ‘Kanta’ which he did not deem religious.
Alhaji Sesay promised to extend his peace message to the Lokos in the Diaspora when he would have united the entire Loko tribe in the country.
On his relationship with other tribal heads in the Western Area, Alhaji Sesay claimed that his relationship with them has been very cordial, adding that some of them will today join the Loko delegation that will today be engaging the Local Government Director and IMC on the alleged issues raised in the story that was published by the local tabloid on Tuesday.
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