Before the coming of the white man in Africa, Chieftaincy was held in high esteem until recently when the behavior of some chiefs themselves reduced that once respectable institution into a laughing stock.

Before this time, it was taboo for someone with the title of a chief to involve or engage in stealing, because men and women with such titles were not only society’s role models, but custodians of lands and guardians of their Chiefdom’s customs and traditions.

However, while the majority of our Chiefs still uphold the values of Chieftaincy and command respect in their communities, a traditional and ceremonial chief in the Yoni Mabanta Chiefdom was recently accused of being involved in stealing goats and sheep in his hometown of Roniatta.

The Chief, Pa Kapr Lawyer Koroma is not only a Chief but has also gone through the “Kantha,” a traditional rites ceremony that traditional Chiefs in Yoni Mabanta have to go through before they can officially hold the traditional title of Kapr, and or Paramount Chief.

Apart from being an elder, the ceremonial Chief plays a key role in the administration of Roniatta town and the Chiefdom. Perhaps, many are suggesting that it could be the reason the old man quietly sneaked out of the Chiefdom since information about his alleged involvement in the suspected theft quickly went viral and left widespread speculations and debate among people in Yoni Mabanta.

The ceremonial Chief reportedly left the Chiefdom after the news about his involvement in the scandalous and shameful allegation that has exposed not only him but his family to ridicule.

Though one of his sons, Edward Koroma, denied the allegation and referred to it as politically motivated, multiple sources contacted around the Chiefdom indicted and implicated the ceremonial Chief and one of the elders in the town in the offense.

Almost all of those interviewed said the Chief had hands in the said theft.

But the son said his father was implicated because of his allegiance to the main opposition party, the All People’s Congress.

Those accusing his father, Edward Koroma said are not only supporters of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party but are also relatives of the SLPP Tonkolili District Chairman, Ahmed Saybom Kanu.

Roniatta, a strategic town in Yoni Mabanta Chiefdom is the birthplace of Dr. Samuel Bangura and Ahmed Saybom Kanu, the current Tonkolili District Chairmen of the main Opposition APC, and the ruling SLPP respectively.

Though major skirmishes or political brawls weren’t reported in the town during and after the country’s last elections, other reports unearthed indicated that politics in general, and especially the June 24th, 2023 elections, and its outcome have left the once united Roniatta divided to the extent majority of the people in the town are not in speaking terms.

“As am talking to you my brother, our town is currently divided into political lines. Even some of our elders are not on good speaking terms with each other because of SLPP and APC. Some are loyal to Sam Bangura of APC while the others are supporting Saybom of SLPP,” an anonymous resident said.

Stealing goats, sheep, and other household creatures in the town and its environs, according to Samuel Turay, Yoni Mabanta Chiefdom Speaker, has of late become the order of the day and alarming.

“We have several reports of goats and sheep missing mysteriously, and each time our efforts to get those behind such acts will always go in vain,” the Chiefdom Speaker said.

The recent one that exposed the chief and others in a police cell, the Chiefdom Speaker said, happened in Magbesseh, a village near Roniatta.

“We got the report from some elders of Magbesseh village that a number of their animals including goats, sheep, and others were stolen at night,” the Speaker said.

After all, efforts to get those behind the reported theft have failed, TheSpeaker said it was suggested that they go in search of a sorcerer to end this menace in their Chiefdom.

Later, the Speaker said the entire community with the approval of the Paramount Chief brought in a sorcerer from a faraway Chiefdom around Port Loko District.

Surprisingly, the Speaker said it was disgraceful when they later learned that one of their elders, the Chief and head of traditions was involved. When summoned to the scene, the Speaker said the Chief publicly denied the allegation, even though the other boys named together with him in the presence of the community admitted that they gave one of the goats to the old man.

“The sorcerer identified and named the Ceremonial Chief and some other boys. Even when the young boys admitted that the Chief was aware of the theft and was given one of the goats, the old man still denied any wrongdoing,” the Speaker said.

Because he repeatedly denied it, the sorcerer, Speaker said, asked them to give him time so he would identify the place where the alleged Chief buried the bones of the goats that were cooked at his residence.

“The herbalist even promised the crowd that he would take out the bones buried in the backyard of the Chief and show them to the public.
It was at this juncture Edward, the son of the suspected Chief called his brothers to rush to the backyard and take out the bones, and even when the sorcerer attempted to go to the house, his children refused to give way and disrupted the entire process,” the Speaker told this reporter.

And since then the whereabouts of the Chief was not known even when the police wanted him for questioning.

A Police source at the Mile 91 Police station where the matter was reported said they have obtained statements from the suspects in their custody in respect of the matter.

The Chief, the police source said was implicated, and he has a case to answer.

“One Abu Kargbo who is the ring leader that brought in the vehicle to transport the animals from the village told us they gave one of the goats to Chief Pa Kapr Lawyer,” the Police source who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

This reporter can also confirm that Edward Koroma, the son of the suspected Chief was arrested and spent days in detention for allegedly hiding his father from the Police.

Police in Mile 91 said they are investigating the matter because it’s a serious offense.

More Details to follow…