By Joseph Milton Lebbie.
As the term of office of the Paramount Chief Member of Parliament (PCMP) for Bonthe District, Honorable Alex Jina Jengbe Kaipumu of Bum Chiefdom fast draws to a close, six Paramount Chiefs in the district have contested the position for the coming March 2018 general elections.
The six contenders are the incumbent PCMP, Alex Kaipumu, the PC Honorable Alie Badara Sheriff of Jong Chiefdom, the newly-elected National Secretary-General of the Council of Paramount Chiefs, PC Mohamed Soko Koroma Messi of Kwamebai Krim Chiefdom who is also the Bonthe District Secretary of the council, PC Melrose Foster Gberie of Kpanda Kemoh Chiefdom who is the Bonthe District Chairman of the council, PC Jonathan Bakie Kaba-Kaba Tucker of Nongoba Bullom Chiefdom and PC Thomas Lahai Ndokoi Koroma of Sittia Chiefdom.
According to investigation conducted by this press, the contest is about to tear apart the Bonthe District Council of Paramount Chiefs as much disunity seems to have set in following the refusal of the incumbent, PC Kaipumu and the former PCMP Sheriff to step down and give chance to others who have never been to Parliament as requested by the council in with the resolution they took in the Southern Regional Meeting in Moyamba in 2013 where it was agreed that no Paramount Chief should contest the position twice consecutively and that resolution was cascaded to district level.
The Global Times also gathered that about five months ago, the Bonthe District Council of Paramount Chiefs discussed the resolution in a meeting in Kpangbama, Imperri Chiefdom where the nine Paramount Chiefs who were in attendance agreed before the host Paramount Chief, Hawa Kpanabom and the District Officer, Bonthe, that only one person should be appointed to represent the PCs in the district in the next Parliament.
It was against this background that a subsequent meeting was reportedly convened on September 30 this year in Tihun where the council demanded that the former PCMP Sheriff and the current PCMP Kaipumu should step down but both PCs are reported to have disobeyed the council by registering their avowed determination to vie again though PC Sheriff is reported to have initially accepted but later changed his mind after hanging heads with PC Kaipumu.
In an interview in his office in Mattru Jong, PC Sheriff said he was very much aware of the Moyamba resolution but recalled that in 2012 elections when His Excellency the President, Ernest Bai Koroma, advised the Bonthe District Council of Paramount Chiefs to forget about elections and appoint him for a second term in Parliament, members of the council disobeyed President President Koroma and insisted on election which was conducted and he lost to the current PCMP Kaipumu.
PC Sheriff pointed out that though the council appointed him as PCMP in 2007, the members set a bad precedent in the 2012 polls by insisting on elections and that precedent should continue, concluding that he has consulted with the incumbent PCMP and that, based on the advice of their people with whom they have hung heads, both of them are not stepping down for anybody but were ready only for election to the position.