6th Floor, Youyi Building, Freetown.7 March, 2022- The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Amb. Tamba Lamina has engaged provincial Secretaries, Senior District Officers and District Officers ahead of about 21 Paramount Chieftaincy Elections that are poised to commence in a short while and discuss the Ministry’s expectations from them and the need for transparent, free, fair and organized elections.
“As a Ministry we are expecting Provincial Secretaries to ensure that the system is correct, the data are correct and if there is any doubt, especially in the validation of taxes or the creation of Chiefdom Councilors’ list,
you are mandated to express the doubt and make sure it is clear before proceeding. This is not a Government that accepts over bloating in any Paramount Chieftaincy Election” said Minister Lamina as he addressed the Provincial and District administration heads in the meeting.
He continued by citing Port Loko and Tonkolili as examples of areas where Paramount Chieftaincy elections were put on hold due to the numerous complaints of over bloating. Adding that since the Ministry wanted to embark on other similar elections, it is necessary to engage the said stakeholders around what the expectations were going to be.
Minister Lamina pointed out that there is no provincial Secretary or District Officer that would not be aware when something is not right as far as Paramount Chieftaincy is concerned based on their experiences, adding that their roles are to correct those wrongs and make sure that the elections come out in a manner that would be acceptable by all and sundry.
“Chieftaincy elections overtime have become very contentious, highly competitive involving skilled professionals that are expressing interests in wanting to become Paramount Chiefs, so you cannot fool them. The best you can do is be transparent and accountable for the actions that you take,” he advised.
He announced that the Ministry is lucky to have got a lawyer as focal person in the Attorney General’s Office that works directly with the Director of Local Government to guide him on legal matters in Paramount Chieftaincy elections. He emphasized that the Ministry is highly relying on the Provincial and District administrations for correct data in the areas of those elections.
However, he noted with concern that the Ministry is well aware of the challenges the said stakeholders are faced with ranging from poor conditions of service, mobility problems and accommodation amongst many others. But he said with all that they should strive to produce result as all is not also okay with the Ministry, but the work should not be stagnated for that.
The meeting which was chaired by the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) Thomas B Lansana later extensively discussed among other things local tax collection, revision/Tax Assessment Lists, declaration, elections and mobility.