A Liberian Christian Rejects Traditional Grand Father’s Proposal To Replace Him

Melvin J. Fayiah

Says It Is Against His Faith
By Robert Dokie
A Liberian Christian, Melvin J. Fayiah has rejected proposal from his maternal Grandfather to take over his position as Chief Zoe, saying his is Christian faith out rightly forbids such practices.
Melvin Fayiah is from one of Liberia’s highly traditional region, Lofa County. There are six tribes in Lofa, and they include Lorma, Kissi, Gbandi, Kpelle, Mande and Mandingo. Fayiah is of the Kisss tribe, and the people of the Kissi are considered as uncles and aunties to all other tribes. The Poro and Sande societies remain to be the traditional cultural practices in Lofa. The Poro and Sande societies play critical roles in the education, growth and development of young men and women. Technically, the Poro is for boys while the Sande is an institution for girls.
Being the only educated young person from his family, Fayiah says his Grandfather has asked the family for him (grandson-Melvin Fayiah) to replace him in the capacity as Chief Zoe, a call Fayiah claims is intended to deprive him from not only furthering his education, but to also prevents him from practicing his Christian faith.
Explaining his ordeal in an interview with the Public Agenda Newspaper on Saturday, January 6, 2018, he lamented that the situation is causing him serous embarrassment.
He explained that although he respects the tradition of his grandparents, but the decision to want to forcefully recruit him in a practice he does not believes in puts him at risk.
Asked why he is afraid to replace his grandfather, Fayiah said, he believes the practice is against the will of God, and that accepting it risks him being excommunicated from his Pentecostal Church.
“I don’t see it fit for my religion. I am a Christian, and therefore I don’t believe in these old traditional practices”, Melvin Fayiah said.
He further lamented that some family members who are entrenched in the traditional practice has already began threatening him with ostracism if he does not accept the wishes and aspiration of his Grandfather.
“Some are even planning to neglect me if I don’t accept the offer, he said.
Although unique among many world’s cultures and tradition, the African culture is one that has been described as good and harmful. It appears that campaign against the harmful aspect is far from being over. Country like Liberia are still practicing backward traditional practices that are harmful to the existence of society and its members
Such as the forceful recruitment of young and promising family members to replace traditional Zoes or head of cultural and traditional groups such as the Sande and Poro societies. The aftermath of such recruitment has often led to the discontinuation of formal education by young people who accept to practice the tradition.
In any case, Melvin Fayiah now has the choice to accept or not. And the choice to accept or not or also has its corresponding consequences of neglect or to put it worst, dismemberment/disintegration from the family.

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