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Montserrado County Superintendent Grace T. Kpan is fighting back for declaring one of Liberia’s traditional societies—the Sande—an ‘evil’—that must be destroyed.
Engaging several callers on a radio program last week who denounced her action before key UN members, she said she had ‘no regrets’ for asking the Security members for help in extending the destruction of the Sande throughout the country.
Briefing visiting members of the UN Security Council here, Mrs. Kpan said she needed assistance in carrying out the abolishment of the Sande, and that she had already set-up 59 camps for ‘Sande prostitutes’ who, she told Council members, pose a threat to national stability.
But Rep. Moses Kollie (Lofa County), taken aback by the comments before the UN Security Council members, is insisting that Superintendent Kpan make a public apology for the underrated statement that insults one of West Africa’s oldest traditions.
“I frown on Supt Kpan’s statement saying that our cultural practice is evil. Since the inception of this country we have had our cultural practice; it has not harmed anyone,” Rep. Kollie told New Democrat Friday in an inclusive interview.
“So, for someone to come out and demonize our culture at the highest level in the presence of the U.N. officials…we condemn it in the strongest term,” he emphasized.
Mrs. Kpan told a visiting U.N. Security Council delegation last week in Kortu town in suburban Monrovia that Sande is “evil, demonizing” and poses “threat” to national security.
But Rep. Kollie, whose native Lofa County is among the bastions of Sande practice in Liberia, insisted: Mrs. Kpah “has no moral grounds to demonize our culture as evil. In fact, she must make a public apology.”
“People go to churches, mosques…people go to mountains, and people join societies at their volition. So, she has no right to condemn anyone for practicing his or her society. If you don’t want to associate, it’s your right as a citizen,” Rep. Kollie said.
He expressed dismay that despite a statement by the Information Ministry distancing government from Mrs. Kpan’s claims, she has remained defiant.
“Supt. Kpan serves at the will and pleasure of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was elected to serve all Liberians, including the traditional people and their cultures,” Rep. Kollie observed, adding: “If one of her lieutenants can choose to disrespect the culture of traditional people, she is under obligation to reprimand that person.”