By Alusine Sesay
A total of 52 out of the 65 Loko sub-chiefs in the Western Area Urban and Rural have signed a petition against the Loko Tribal Head, Chief Aruna Sesay.
The petition, which has been forwarded to the Local Government Minister, J.B. Dauda, reads: “We the Loko Chiefs in the Western Area want to take this opportunity to thank H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma for the good works he has done for the Lokos and the nation as a whole. We the Loko Chiefs in the Western Area have resolved to petition Alhaji Aruna Sesay because of the following reasons.
“Alhaji Aruna Sesay has no respect for anybody. He molest and even uses abusive language on us the chiefs publicly with no regret,” they alleged.
The petition further alleged that Alhaji Sesay is in the habit of extorting monies from the chiefs and any chief who dares to raise an objection or question his authority will face molestation or suspension.
Also, the petitioners alleged that their tribal head is accused of having regard for only the president with regards to matters of concern to his tribesmen in the Western Area, which they say contravenes the ideals of democracy.
Chief Alhaji Aruna Sesay was appointed in 2008 amidst controversy, after a similar petition against former Loko Tribal Head, Chief Modu Freeman, by majority of Loko sub-chiefs in the Western Area.
Chief Modu Freeman, according to the petitioners, had reached the age of retirement and could not effectively foster the development aspirations of the tribe in the Western Area, hence their preference for a younger candidate with the energy to champion the cause of the Lokos.
Also, it was being rumoured that Chief Freeman was a staunch supporter of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and that he assumed authority during the party’s reign in power, replacing late Kandeh Kanu as Loko tribal head.
Chief Aruna Sesay was appointed to the dismay of many Lokos who questioned his lineage to the tribe as he cannot speak the language, although fluent in Temne. According to reliable sources, he hailed from Batkanu, a town which was once dominated by ethnic Lokos, but which is now dominated by Temne speakers, as the latter have swallowed up smaller ethnic groups, like the Lokos.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach Chief Alhaji Aruna Sesay for his reaction proved futile, as he did not respond to several phone calls made to his personal mobile phone to get his side of the story.