The appointment of a new Chiefdom Imam for Kpanga Chiefdom has sparked a contentious situation within the Sheriff Family Union of Pujehun District as the current Chiefdom Imam, Alhaji Gassimu Sheriff, faces immediate removal and replacement with Sheik Sulaiman Mohamed Sheriff, a decision that has divided the family’s opinions.
The controversy arose when some members of the Sheriff Family supported the removal, while others opposed it, leading to confusion and concerns about maintaining peace and harmony within the district.
In a letter addressed to the Paramount Chief of Kpanga Chiefdom, dated 24th July 2023, the Sheriff Family Union of Pujehun District expressed their concerns regarding the appointment of the Chiefdom Imam for Kpanga Chiefdom, citing a Memorandum of Understanding passed down from their ancestors, the family holds the responsibility of appointing the Chiefdom Imam, a decision according to the letter that has been gracefully followed and respected by ruling houses till date.
However, the letter further stated that the present Chiefdom Imam, Alhaji Gassimu Sheriff, has allegedly deviated from the values of the noble Family, as he had been accused of engaging in an inappropriate behavior, including drinking at bars and smoking Marijuana and also carries the nicknames “Tear Gass” and “Alhaji Techno.”
Additionally, he has been accused of having sexual intercourse with another man’s wife in a bush, a matter that is purported to be in the knowledge of all section Imams in Kpanga Chiefdom and Chiefdom Imams across the District.
“He has become so much defiant and disrespectful towards the Sheriff Family which has caused significant embarrassment to the family”, the letter emphasized.
Despite a family meeting held on July 23, 2023, to address the issue, Alhaji Gassimu allegedly refused to attend, leading the family to decide on his immediate replacement, though other members of the family known as Sheriff Family Union National and International have opposed the action in another position letter dated 30th July, 2023, in which they expressed their strong dissatisfaction over what they described as unlawful removal of the legitimate and the substantive chiefdom imam.
They furthered described the letter as a misguided letter that was masterminded by few handpicked Sheriff Family in Yonni Town and signed by only one individual, thus can lead to further doubt of authenticity.
“We the Sheriff Family Union National and International totally condemn and cannot accept the so called decision which is tantamount to undermining the peace and tranquility in our darling Kpanga Chiefdom” the letter stated.
In light of the situation, the District Security Committee (DISEC) in a recent emergency meeting held on 2nd August, 2023 has requested the Sheriff Family to conduct internal consultations to appoint a single Chiefdom Imam to ensure unity and stability. The committee emphasizes the need for justified reasons behind the removal of Alhaji Gassimu Sheriff and calls for the inauguration of the new Chiefdom Imam to be put on hold until proper selection procedures are followed.
Moreover, DISEC insists that the Sheriff Family collaborate with various key stakeholders, including the Council of Imams, Social Welfare, Inter-religious Council, Council of Paramount Chiefs, and the District Officer, to gain approval for any Imam appointment in the District.
To streamline the process, DISEC requires the Sheriff Family to present a single unified letter representing the entire family’s endorsement of the Chiefdom Imam in Kpanga Chiefdom. Additionally, all members of the family must attend a meeting with DISEC to determine who has the legitimate right to appoint the Chiefdom Imam.
In conclusion, DISEC has requested that the Sheriff Family provides their Police clearance to ensure peace and security during the appointment process. Any program with potential security concerns must be addressed and resolved by DISEC before implementation.
The committee assures the family of its readiness to provide necessary advice and assistance throughout the selection process, aiming to reach an agreement that maintains peace and harmony within the district.