Sierra Leone unveils new geographical map

The new Sierra Leone map unveiled on July 29, 2017. PHOTO | KEMO CHAM 

Sierra Leone has unveiled a new map showing the latest geographical boundaries in the country.

Some 41 de-amalgamated chiefdoms have been created adding to the current 149, in a move the government has said is meant to right a historical wrong.

The new map, launched at the weekend, also saw the creation of two new districts and a new region.

At the height of the scramble for Africa, the British colonial administration merged several chiefdoms in Sierra Leone, leading to the downsizing of their number from 217 to 149.

The government said decades after the country got its independence in 1961, the effect of the mergers continued to affect the West African nation, manifested in communal disputes.

Following nationwide consultations, the 41 chiefdoms, mostly in the North, were de-amalgamated, the government said.

The same region is also home to the two newly created districts - Falaba and Karina, bringing to 16 the number districts that make up Sierra Leone. These two also make up the newly created North Western Province, the fifth region of the country.

Falaba was carved out of the previously enormous Koinadugu District, whereas Karina is made up of parts of Koinadugu and neighbouring Bombali District.

The new Sierra Leone map unveiled on July 29, 2017. PHOTO | KEMO CHAM

But critics say the move is politically motivated given that the area is a stronghold of the ruling All People's Congress party.

President Ernest Bai Koroma dismissed this assertion, blaming the British colony for the growing disenchantment and stifling development.

“This is the continuation of the peace process, it will remove tension amongst our people and it will create new hope and good neighbourliness. We have been called the most peaceful country in the region and we must secure that accolade by doing all the things that will safeguard that legacy,” said President Koroma.

He said the new areas were crucial for decentralisation of government functions and development.

He also appointed 41 regent chief to administer the chiefdoms until elections are held.

Two maps, one showing the districts and regions, and the other showing the 190 chiefdoms that now make up the country, were presented at a special ceremony on Saturday in the northern town of Makeni.

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