PASSOLAHUN, Lofa – Citizens in the newly created Lukambah Administrative District, formerly located in Kolahun District, are expressing concern that the national government has not yet appointed authorities to run the district.
The act creating the Lukambah Administrative District was signed into law in 2014 and was presented to citizens of the district by Rep. Clarence Kortu Massaquoi of Lofa’s third district in March 2016 in Passolahun.
The district was created because two clans within Kolahun District, Lukasu and Hembah, wanted greater participation in governing. They also sought to better benefit from government-funded development programs.
However, since the creation of the district, the government has yet to appoint a district commissioner, a city mayor for the district seat of Passolahun, as well as a paramount chief and other essential officials.
According to an elder of the district, Joseph Kollie, residents had since agreed that the Lukasu clan be allowed to provide the first district commissioner and the Hemba clan to name the paramount chief.
He said as a result of these arrangements, they forwarded the names of three Lukasu sons as candidates to Massaquoi’s office for submission to the president. He named the three contenders nominated for the position as Frances Kpadeh, Augustine Armah, and William B. Kowo.
He added that since submitting the names of the candidates, residents have yet to hear from Massaquoi’s or the president’s offices.
Momo Kamara, a citizen from the Lukasu clan, attributed the delay in the appointment of officials to a division between citizens from the district residing in Monrovia.
He said immediately after the submission of the three candidates, K.B.K. Sando, a citizen of the district residing in Monrovia – whose brother, Armah, is a candidate – wrote a letter to the office of Massaquoi and other government officials requesting the disqualification of Kpadeh, alleging that he has a corrupt history.
Kamara disputed Sando’s claims. “For us, Mr. Francis Kpadeh is the right man for the job especially a new district like ours,” he said. “He had served twice as a district commissioner for Kolahun District in the 80’s and 90’s and twice as principal of Kolahun Central High School. He has the experience and qualification to become the first district commissioner for this district that is in need of development. We don’t need people to come learn on the job.”
Another issue complicating matters is the fact that some residents have decided to field a candidate against Massaquoi, whose legislative district encompasses the newly created Lukambah Administrative District. The decision by the group is surprising to some observers because Massaquoi is credited with the creation of the district.
An elder of the district, Sangay Kortu, expressed her disappointement with the group’s effort. “This is total wickedness on the part of our children who are deciding to put forth a candidate against the young representative who had made it possible for us to get a district of our own and being fully aware that we don’t have the population to elect a representative,” she said. “If even we have to feature a candidate, I don’t think it should be now. Because the district is too young for that, we need to focus the appointment of district authorities, the development of district administrative infrastructural and increase developmental initiatives and not concentrating our attention to removing Hon. Massaquoi who has done much for the people of Lukambah. Not even our own Senator, Kerkula B. Kpoto and Representative, Stephen Kiamba both of Hembah Clan allowed us this opportunity.”
Featured photo by Joseph Nyandibo