September 26, 2017 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Report reaching this medium has revealed that some residents of Leppiama, a section in Kandu Leppiama Chiefdom, Kenema district, are planning to stage a big demonstration against their Paramount Chief, Madam Theresa Vibbi III, for what they described as ‘complete deception’ in the de- amalgamation process as their area was sidelined.
They complained that even though they proposed to Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Maya Kaikai, to de-amalgamate their chiefdom, the paramount chief allegedly convinced the ministry not to adhere to the wish of the people, an allegation the ministry officers vehemently denied.
Kandu Leppiama is an amalgamation of two small chiefdoms – Kandu and Leppiama. Leppiama traces its origin to two warriors – Gbeneh and Gballay Kambaima. They signed a treaty with the British before they passed away.
Kandu chiefdom, on the other hand, traces its history to a warrior named Mbollom, who is believed to have migrated from the Kissi region of Kailahun. This chiefdom is notable in that a Kuranko village in the chiefdom still identifies itself with a history of slavery, tracing its origin back to a Kuranko slave owned by Mbollom. The current chief is Theresa Vibbi III, a Mende and Muslim elected in 1969.
One of the leaders of Leppiama, Foday Malo, claimed that they have raised series of concerns to chiefdom authorities and some government officers regarding de-amalgamation, but that no action has been taken to separate the chiefdom.
He added that they would have no option but to embark on a peaceful demonstration to express their views to the government and international community about their dissatisfaction for their being left out of the de-amalgamation process.
“We have made our concerns known to the relevant authorities. The Leppiama section in this chiefdom is being marginalised. We are deprived of all developments. The paramount chief is only concentrating on Kandu, that is the reason we are calling for this De-amalgamation. Other chiefdoms have gone through the process, so it is our right as Sierra Leoneans and as residents of Leppiama. I am speaking on behalf of my people,” said Malo.
However, Director of Local Government, Emkay Magba Kamara, told Concord Times that they are aware about calls for de-amalgamation by some section of the chiefdom, but that no official request has been made to the ministry.
He said they had engaged the people of Leppiama and that they showed no interest in the de-amalgamation process.
“The process is still ongoing but I want them to understand that it will take some time based on the required procedures,” he said.
During a ceremony held at the University of Makeni (UNIMAK) auditorium in the northern city of Makeni on 29 July, 2017 President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma formally declared a total of 41 de-amalgamated chiefdoms independent and subsequently installed regent Chiefs to superintend over the new chiefdoms until Paramount Chiefs are duly elected.
Explaining the rationale behind the de-amalgamation and redistricting, the president said it would help to deepen the decentralisation process, commitment and participation to ensure sustainable development. He described the occasion as important as the ongoing infrastructural development across the country.
Before the colonial era, the president revealed, there were 217 chiefdoms and 13 districts in all.
“Owing to the amalgamation concept initiated by the colonial regime, the chiefdoms were reduced to 147 and later to 149. With the de-amalgamation that has now come to effect with standard and informed criteria, the country has now got a total of 190 chiefdoms with seven districts in the north and seven in the south – east,” he said.