The Chairman of the National Traditional Council of Liberia, Chief Zanzan Karwah , has made it clear that the former President Charles Ghankay Taylor, lost his title as Dahkpannah when he decided to relinquish the presidency and go into exile in Nigeria.
Immediately following the departure of ex-President Taylor, Chief Karwar said the traditional zoes and chiefs elected Chief Jallah Lone (who was then deputy Dahkpannah to President Taylor) as the new Dahkpannah. The traditional chiefs were once again called into action following the demise of Chief Lone. He said Paramount Chief Flomo Bawuo was unanimously elected by traditional chiefs from the 15 counties as Dahkpannah, and has since been enjoying the title.
Chief Karwar said the National Traditional Council is yet to receive any communication from the family of now imprisoned former President Taylor about his maltreatment in the British prison.
“Besides,” Chief Karwar explained, “the Council considers the issue surrounding former President Taylor as a political and international matter,” which he said is outside the mandate of traditional leaders.
However, as a citizen of Liberia and former President, Chief Karwar said the Council’s involvement with the incarceration of the former Dahkpannah is restricted to offering prayers to God to have mercy on him and hope that those responsible for his incarceration see reason to show him due respect as a human being.
Chief Karwah said the zoes and traditional chiefs take action when the traditional values of the country are violated, and refused to be drawn into the hypotheses as to what action the zoes and chiefs would have taken if Taylor was still the Dahkpannah of Liberia.
Chief Karwar’s comments Monday, November 18, are in reaction to recent statements by one of former President Taylor’s closet allies, Chief Cyril Allen, who claimed that a traditional response was in the making towards the maltreatment of his friend in the London prison where he is serving the remainder of his 50-year prison term.
The Chairman-emeritus of the National Patriotic Party said the former President was the Dahkpannah or Chief Zoe for several traditional leaders.
“If they (Britons) begin to disregard our traditional values, we will begin to disregard the international standards that they set,” Mr. Allen declared.
He said he had already informed Liberia’s traditional chiefs and elders including the bordeos, zoes, Mende Mel, the Gbor and the poros, that their Dahkpannah had been incarcerated and that the conditions under which he is held is against what the Sierra Leone Special Court had approved.
Mr. Allen further reminded Great Britain that Liberians, too, respect and protect their Dahkpannah just as the Britons protect their monarchy, warning that the traditional leaders will in no way accept any disrespect to the zoes, elders and chiefs of Liberia.
“Besides being the former President of Liberia,” Chief Allen continued, “Charles Taylor is the Dahkpannah of the major five traditional societies of Liberia, and they should not think that they are going to be going around vacillating in our interiors and exploiting our natural resources and treating our traditional leaders with disrespect.”
As a former President of Liberia, he said Charles Taylor must be treated with respect regardless of his incarceration; the same way they would treat their monarchs (kings or queens) if they were in the same situation.