As Battle For Traditional Healers’ Presidency Intensifies in Sierra Leone
Chiefs Urge Aspirants to Promote Unity
Tribal chiefs and other traditional stakeholders in the Western Area on Friday 11th January, 2019 urged intending aspirants contesting for the presidency of the Indigenous Traditional Healers Sierra Leone in a meeting at Waterloo to promote unity in order to progress in their work as life savers. Chief Young, Chief Kaimaleh Benga and Gadafie flanked by supporters
The meeting, which was organized by one of the aspirants, Mohamed Gadaffi Sheriff, was summoned as a result of the growing tension among intending aspirants and their various supporters.
In his keynote address, National Secretary General of Council of Tribal Heads, Chief Young, who is also the Mende Tribal Head in the Western Area, said he is not an herbalist but a member of the ‘Poro’ society which, he said, belongs to the Mende ethnic group but said has been hijacked by the Themne ethnic group. He observed that the potency of the leaf has dropped drastically because it is not handled according to the dictates of the tradition.
Chief Young told the meeting that it is not the responsibility of the chiefs to crown the President of Traditional Healers but members of the organization. “We have listened, seen and observed as messengers and we shall report to the appropriate authorities on the strength of Gadaffi and any other aspirant we may visit in future,” the Mende Tribal Head said.
He said he is afraid if herbalists remain divided because they have a big task to perform. Chief Young therefore entreated them to come together and remain united, adding that they would not achieve their goals as an organization if they fail to embrace peace and unity. “When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers,” Chief Young quoted a maxim, whilst he emphasized the secret God gave herbalists to cure the sick. “Go and unify yourselves,” he urged traditional doctors.
The Western Area Sherbro Tribal Head, Kaimaleh Benga reiterated that they have observed the strength and power of Gadaffi, noting that it is the Central Government that endorses someone for the Traditional Healers presidency and assured that the President is ready to address whatever the Western Area decides upon. “We came here to observed Gadafie’s strength”, he maintained and dilated that they are very impressed over the growing support of Gadafie among herbalists. “We are going to access other contestants to equally see their strength”, said the Sherbro Chief and assured that they would tender their final assessment report to His Excellency Julius Maada Bio for perusal.
In his statement, Mohamed Gadafie started with his campaign slogan “nor more less Pikin, Baboon woke Baboon eat” and explained that their forefathers succeeded in playing with the leaf because there was no bad heart or hatred among themselves. He said the leaf loves everyone but herbalists hate and fighting one another.
He said herbalists issues were not discussed in State House and mentioned that herbalists were first recognized by late President Kabbah followed by former President Ernest Bai Koroma.
Gadafie maintained that with all the minerals the country endowed, we are still suffering as a nation because they are not given opened hands as traditional healers by the Government to appease the devils in the land. He pleaded with President Bio to allow the tradition excel. He said the negligent of the tradition contributed greatly to our unending sufferings and proffered that if the devils are happy we shall prosper as human beings. Gadafie further discussed that herbalist work is all about creating happiness and maintain the tradition. He appealed to the Chiefs to tell President Bio that hardship is multiplying with all our riches.
He described a herbalists as not a politician but there to serve the oppressed and recalled how Police let free a herbalists who was hired to kill somebody and condemned herbalists that are destroying lives and encouraged ministers, councilors and all other stakeholders to leave them find a better solution to appease the devils. He concluded by advancing that there is no leader that stays in power for ever.
The Chairman of the occasion, John Gbanabome Kabia also spoke on the important of ‘one word’ in the country for Government to allow them practice their tradition to get rid of all the devils that are stopping the growth of our beautiful nation. “Let there be a President who would be able to unite all herbalists and bring them under one umbrella”, he told the gathering.
He discussed that when the rebel attacked the country, it was the civilians that suffered and maintained that the Paramount Chiefs spearheaded the creation of the Civil Defence Force (CDF) which he said, comprised people with the knowledge of the leaf and condemned the different camps among traditional healers.
The Mammy Queen, Mrs. Sonita Kanu said herbalists are not receiving monthly salaries but depend on the leave for their livelihood and stated that they have endorsed Gadafie as their next President because according to her, Gadafie knows the leaf work and has the ability to bring herbalists together for sustainable peace and unity. She concluded that they as Soweis have been marginalized by senior members of the union.
By Abdul S. Kamara
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