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2 Paramount Chiefs clash in eastern Sierra Leone

By Mohamed Vandi in Kenema

Police in Kenema are investigating a case of defamation reported by the Paramount Chief of Small Bo Chiefdom, Dafie Benya against a Paramount Chief Member of Parliament of Langurama Chiefdom, Prince Pewe. It followed accusations, counter-accusations and even recriminations between the two traditional leaders and their supporters over the alleged attempted killing by juju means of one of them by the other.

The police media officer of the Kenema police division, Constable Brima Musa told Politico that Benya reported that his colleague, Pewa had connived with his sub-chiefs of Langurama to defame him that he had plotted to kill him.

Witnesses of Chief Benya, according to police, have made statements, but that they still awaited Chief Pewa to hear his own side before sending the case file to the State Council for advice.

Constable Musa said that they had written to the Resident Minister, East and to the Provincial Secretary requesting them to prevail on Chief Pewa to report to the station and make a statement, but that efforts had so far proved futile.

The police also sent another set of letters to the Local Government Minister and the Speaker of Parliament with similar request which they said was the standard procedure of inviting a Paramount Chief to the police. Chief Pewa has still not reported, the police say.

However, Politico was able to talk to both Paramount Chiefs, the man who allegedly planted the juju, the man who allegedly prepared it and other stakeholders.

Chief Dafie told Politico in Blama that he had reported a case of defamation against those he alleged connived and lied that he had hired somebody to plant a charm with the intention to kill Chief Pewa. He said he had the right to protect his family name and to prove his innocence, and described the allegations as baseless and intended to smear his “good reputation”.

Chief Pewa on the other hand denied that he had any case to answer to the police. He told Politico that he had never accused anybody of plotting to kill him, but that his Chiefdom Speaker, Amara Lukullay reported his Section Chief Jayah Ndomawa for placing a charm to kill the Paramount Chief. “I did not report anybody to the Provincial Secretary or to the Resident Minister, but my sub-chief did it on behalf of the chiefdom people, so there is nothing I can answer to the police for,” he said

Chief Pewa narrated that the entire incident occurred on the 6th August, 2013 as he, his Chiefdom Speaker, the Section Chief and a Nurse Fatmata were travelling from his chiefdom to Kenema. He said they got stuck along the road where a vehicle had broken down, making it impossible for his vehicle to proceed.

The chief said that everyone had to alight from his vehicle and while he was concentrating on the broken vehicle some youth brought Chief Ndomawa and reported that they had seen him planting something by the road side. He said they later discovered that it was a charm which was later opened and interpreted to have been meant to kill him. He said that it was during interrogation that Chief Ndomawa associated Chief Benya, Manu Ndawa and the alleged medicine man Mualimu Kallon who resides in Bo, to the incident. The chief said the matter was later forwarded to the Provincial Secretary’s office where Ndomawa narrated the same story to the Resident Minister, the Provincial Secretary and other dignitaries.

According to Chief Ndomawa, Chief Benya contracted him to plant the charm with a reward of Le 5 million and a brand new motorbike.

Chiefdom Speaker of Langurama Amara Lukullay admitted to having complained to the Provincial Secretary and the Resident Minister on behalf of the chiefdom people. He said that nobody would plan to harm their chief and expect to go free.

Chiefdom Speaker for Small Bo said the entire incident was a conspiracy, asking how Chief Benya could have promised Ndomawa Le 5 million and a motorbike “for just planting the charm”. He also wondered how Ndomawa who is said to be very close to Pewa would have been contracted for the plot when there were so many people in Small Bo Chiefdom loyal to chief Benya.

When contacted on record at his Bo-Kenema Highway residence in Bo, Mualimu Wahid Kallon first swore by the Quran that he would speak with God as his witness. He denied the allegation that he had prepared a charm to kill anybody including Chief Pewa, adding that they were relatives. He described the allegations as false and a ploy aimed at discrediting chief Benya.

Mualimu said that it was Chief Pewa who had introduced Chief Benya to him and that he had known Chief Benya as a nonbeliever in fetish. He said that it had gone well over a year without communicating with the two chiefs until when he called Chief Pewa to enquire about the said allegations.

He said nobody had invited him to the police, but that his wife told him that Chief Pewa had called her several times threatening that police were going to arrest him.

He said that there had existed a very good relationship between him and Chief Pewa and that if the allegations were true, he was with the opinion that Chief Pewa would have called him peacefully rather threatening him police arrest.

Mualamu Kallon’s wife, Haja Mariama Kallon confirmed that she did receive calls from Chief Pewa threatening that police were going to arrest her husband.

Paramount Chief Sallay Satta Gendemeh in Kenema told Politico that they were in the process of settling the matter out of police. She said the council of Paramount Chiefs had an obligation in settling disputes between and among their members.

There is a groundswell of speculation and conjecture that the real cause of the allegations and counter-allegations bordered on national politics especially between the country’s two main political parties with either side supporting different sides.

© Politico 17/10/13

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