Written by Nathaniel McClain-0886581624
Friday, 18 January 2013 11:59
Many, especially those who uphold beliefs in traditional practices in Liberia were seemingly expected to hit back at recent assertion Internal Affairs Minister Blamo Nelson made, that those possessing certificates as traditional healers and witch doctors should halt their practices and proceed to the ministry for renewal of their documents or else what they possess now are all invalid.
In the wake of such assertion by the government to suspend the practices of all herbalists, traditional healers and witch doctors until they renew their certificates in the country, several Chiefs and Zoes from Montserrado and Margibi Counties have protested that the government has no moral ground to suspend any traditional practice in the country outside of the law.
The Chiefs and Zoes said culture is the foundation for unity and coexistence therefore it should not be abused because of political interest or non membership.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Chief William Kayee of Montserrado County said the zoes in the country consider the pronouncement from Internal Affairs Minister Nelson as a direct attack on all cultural practices in Liberia.
Chief Kayee said they will vehemently oppose the pronouncement, warning the government to desist from suspending any cultural practice in the country without due regard to the Council of Chiefs and Zoes.
He said despite the pronouncement, they have mandated all chiefs , zoes and herbalists in the country not to report to the Ministry of Internal Affairs until the government can address the issue in a respectful manner.
According to him, while it is true that the Liberian culture is not above the organic law of the country, culture remains the heritage of the country hence all citizens must ascribe to the cultural norms of Liberia.
The Chiefs and Zoes in an angry pitch told the MIA authority to use the laws of Liberia and prosecute any herbalist who has offended the law rather than taking a decision that has the propensity to disintegrate cultural cohesiveness.
The Chiefs said for Minister Nelson to state that some people were using cultural practices to force people to join Sande and Poro Societies, that is a violation of the law hence those involved must be arrested and prosecuted but that should not call for the suspension of cultural practices.
Chief Kayee who claimed to be a renowned zoe in Montserrado County, threatened to open his Poro Bush next month in defiance of the ministry’s order.
He noted that culture is a social value that brings education and tolerance for all communities irrespective of your affiliations and political positions in the country.
Chief Kayee said it is sad to note that the President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ignores some requirements for one to become Minister of Internal Affairs and instead makes appointment on the basis of political interest.
The Chief said the appointment of Mr. Nelson violates one of the requirements enshrined in the MIA rules and regulations which require that a Minister of MIA must be a member of a traditional body.
He said it is unfortunate that Minister Nelson does not possess such requirement but was politically hand-picked to head the MIA.
Chief Kayee said it is time for the chiefs and zoes of the country to show their traditional power to the Government of Liberia.
They noted that any attempt by the government to suspend any traditional practice outside of the law based on mere assumption there will be equal resistance from the zoes.