Eight newly elected Paramount Chiefs from Kenema, Kailahun and Kono Districts were on Wednesday 7th April 2010 officially recognised by President Ernest Bai Koroma and presented with their Staff of Office at an inauguration ceremony held at the Holy Trinity Parish hall in Kenema City.
In his statement the Minister of Internal Affairs Local Government and Rural Development Hon. Alhaji Dauda Sulaiman Kamara said the Chiefs are ever ready to turn around their tradition that will lead to the development of the country. He said as Local Government Minister he has maintained a good working relationship with all Chiefs across the country. He called on them to generate their own revenue as much as they can for the development of their Chiefdoms and the country as a whole. The chairman of the ceremony who is the Resident Minister East William Juana Smith used the programme to trace the origin of Paramount Chieftaincy in Sierra Leone which he said was in existence before the advent of colonialism and was later harmonized and absorbed into the present day political administration of the country. William Juana Smith also said the pre-colonial era showed the power of Chieftaincy. He described a Paramount Chief as the direct representative of government and called on the newly elected Chiefs to serve as agents of change and peace promoters within their communities in their capacity as custodians of the Customary Laws. He called on the Chiefs to work in the interest of their communities and assured them of his government’s support at all times as long as their activities are confined within the framework of the law.
In her statement the chairperson of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Dr. Christiana Thorpe said the election was conducted under the dictates of section 28 of the 1991 Constitution and the Chieftaincy Act of 2009.
Addressing the newly elected Chiefs the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma said the day showed further commitment of his government to the Institution of Chieftaincy in this country. He also said Chieftaincy started before the arrival of colonial masters in this country and it is our responsibility to make it more relevant and credible. He described the Chiefdom as the smallest unit of administration in this country and that nobody should doubt that his government will continue to build on it so that the Institution will continue playing their role in executing government policies and monitoring the policies agreed to be implemented in this country.
He noted that the country still has problems of smuggling, problems of drugs and boundary disputes between Chiefdoms. He called on the newly elected Chiefs to focus their attention in monitoring issues in their Chiefdoms and to make progress in the areas of education, health and agriculture. He cautioned them that they are not chiefs for only those who supported them but chiefs of the Chiefdom so that development will take place in every corner.