What looks like a ‘forceful appeal’ was over the weekend demonstrated by APC top brass right at the Kailahun Court Barry when the Resident Minister Eastern Region William J Smith ordered the chiefs in Kailahun to either support his government or to handover their staff.
The Minister who started off with a song: “fire!fire!Fire!Fire!Fire dea kam” requested each and every chief in that district to support the APC government as the government of the day, and reciprocate the same support given to the past SLPP regime.
He explained that, the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone which committed a whole page to the institution of traditional Chieftaincy was developed by the APC government to uphold the respect and dignity of chiefs, who exhibit loyalty to the government of the day.
Mr Smith reminded the Chiefs that, the staff they now hold was ordered from England by and was given to them by government. “We are not here to depose any chief but we need your support because that staff belongs to us otherwise we will withdraw our staff” he threatened.
He pleaded with the Chiefs to emulate Kono chiefs who accompanied the Vice President to Kailahun to manifest their full support for the APC government.
The Vice President of Sierra Leone Samuel Sumana recalled that, he was the only one from the opposition that was accorded the opportunity during the past presidential and parliamentary elections to campaign in the Kailahun Court Barry.
He said the APC government has great regard for traditional leaders which he said was demonstrated immediately after taking over government, by inviting traditional rulers and members of the opposition parties to state house to foster national unity and political inclusion. The APC government, he went on has no plan to change Paramount Chiefs after every five years, but requested the Chiefs in the eastern region to throw their support behind APC in order to develop the Region. He said government was concerned with the occupation of Yenga by Guinean troops but confirmed that dialogue was going on between the two countries with regards to the way forward. On the issue of the deplorable condition of the road network in Kailahun, he said $105 Million is needed to rehabilitate the said road, adding that they have received some and government would be motivated to go in search of the remaining if they are given support in the forth coming local council elections.
In his welcome address Hon. Paramount Chief of Luawa Chiefdom Kailahun District, PC Mohamed Kailondo Banya attributed the visit of the Vice President to sustainable peace and development in the country, he therefore on behalf of everyone in that District put behind all grudges and grievances in the spirit of peace and national unity.
Pleading with government through the Vice President to help develop the District, the Chief catalogued the continued occupation of Guinean troops at the Yenga enclave, the inadequate seedlings for farming, the youth unemployment rate and the deplorable road network between Kenema and Kailahun and between Kailahun and Kono.
PC Banya also pleaded with government to regulate prices for agricultural products to motivate farmers to take agriculture seriously.
The out going Chairman of Kailahun District Council Augustine Kortu recalled that during the past elections Kailahun Court Barry became controversial throughout the country, adding that there is need for government to transform the Kailahun Court Barry into a Historical Monument to attract tourists to the District.