From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, President Ernest Koroma Presents New Staffs to Chiefs
Apr 21, 2011, 17:26

President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, has retrieved all one hundred and forty-nine (149) old staffs of office from elected Paramount Chiefs (PCs) and replaced them with brand new modern ones.

The presentation ceremony of the new staffs to the various Paramount Chiefs (PCs) took place in a special Durbar held at the Coronation Field, Bo City in Southern Sierra Leone on Tuesday 19th April.

The ceremony attracted various distinguished personalities including Vice President Chief Samuel Sam Sumana, cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, members of the diplomatic and consular corps and traditional rulers.

Earlier on Tuesday, President Koroma and entourage arrived in the southern city of Bo, and officially opened the National Conference of Paramount Chiefs (PCs) at the Bo City Hall. This was immediately followed by the Durbar of Paramount Chiefs where the retrieval of old staffs and handing over of new ones were done.

President Ernest Bai Koroma

The display of various cultural performances amongst Paramount Chiefs and their subjects formed part of the occasion.

In his statement, President Ernest Bai Koroma said the ceremony was in line with the country’s 50th Independence anniversary celebrations.

According to him, Paramount Chiefs were the first fighters in the country’s struggle for independence during the colonial period. “Let me recall here the struggle of Bai Bureh, Nyagua, Alimamy Suluku, Kai Londo and many others against foreign rule,” he said.

President Koroma further recalled how in 1961 Chief Bai Farma Tass of Kambia, P.C Julius Gulama of Moyamba and PC Nbiriwa of Kono among others were at the forefront in the struggle of independence.

The President congratulated the people of Bo for hosting the ceremony, saying the city has a history dating back to colonial days as the epicenter of traditional activities, administration and progressive governance among chiefs. The establishment of the Bo school for sons and wards of Paramount Chiefs in Bo was one of such activities, he said.

Ernest Koroma said Bo district was the place where the protectorate assembly was constituted where chiefs were groomed for integration into modern democratic practices.

President Koroma assured that his government would enhance the progress and cultural governance of chiefdoms. He spoke of the need for chiefs to not only be united but to fight against exploitation in the various chiefdoms and work towards achieving the goal for progressive development.

According to the President, it’s high time chiefs started working on changing the perception of people who believe that chiefs are mainly concerned about court fines and local tax.

He expressed regret that some chiefs have betrayed their very tradition for uncultured leadership. “We urge those chiefs to return to their great traditions of good governance,” he pointed out.

Koroma maintained that the world has become a global village, noting that the good and bad performances of chiefs are now being highlighted and compared. He therefore urged the chiefs to encourage their subjects, especially youths and women within their jurisdiction as in his words “they serve as the pillars of governance.” He appealed to the traditional leaders to always endeavor to uphold the ideals enshrined in the country’s motto of ‘Unity, Freedom and Justice.’

Further, the President said he was retrieving the staffs of office which were given to the PCs since colonial days and replace them with symbols of modern and more confident Sierra Leonean staffs of office. “The chiefs were still using symbols of the colonial Queen Victory I,” he said, adding that he was issuing a new symbol of authority to the PCs in all the 149 Chiefdoms.

“A staff of office bearing the coat of arms of Sierra Leone and a medallion of office to put on during ceremonial functions and formal occasions is what I am presenting to the PCs,” the President said, while noting that Paramount Chiefs should be recognized at a time like this when the country is celebrating fifty years of independence. “The new symbol of authority given to the Paramount Chiefs bears the new Sierra Leone,” the President said, while reiterating the need for PCs to always uphold democratic tenets.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.