In Honor of Paramount Chief (PC) Alpha Lalugba Kai-Samba

In 1941, Paramount Chief Momoh Vangahun was removed from power for allegedly engaging in cannibalism resulting in the Matto family nominating their maternal son Alpha Lalugba Kai-Samba, the son of Musu Matto and Chief Bockarie Kai-Samba to represent the family. In 1942, the Tribal Authority (TA) overwhelmingly voted and installed a young progressive Paramount Chief Alpha Lalugba Kai-Samba to the seat of power and position once held by his grandmother PC Madam Humonyah in Nongowa Chiefdom, Kenema District in the Eastern Region of the Protectorate of Sierra Leone (as it was called then).

PC Kai-Samba (Chief Lalugba as he was commonly called) attended and received his education from the prestigious Bo-School. He was the first English educated Paramount Chief at that time but more uniquely, a direct descendant of the Faba Ruling House in Bambara Chiefdom, and Matto Ruling House of Lagoh, Nongowa Chiefdom both on his maternal side, and the land-owning Kahula-Kaisamba family of Kenema Township on his paternal side. He quickly made use of his placement and education to develop Kenema from the village it was at that time to the regional capital and trading center of the mineral rich eastern region of Sierra Leone.

In education, he embarked on establishing a learning institution that would rival Bo School, in Bo Town and Grammar School, in Freetown (the 1st Western style Secondary School in Sub-Saharan Africa). To allocate the land for the new school, it is said that he casted a stone, picked it up, and casted it again (repeating 10 times in each direction) to establish the boundary of "Central School" in 1952 which later was renamed Kenema Secondary School (KSS). read more in the KSS solicitation letter

As the government wanted to establish a hospital to serve the region, a portion of the very land given to KSS was cut to establish Kenema Government Hospital which serves today as the main medical facility for the 3 districts (Kenema, Kono, Kailahun) making up the Eastern Region of Sierra Leone.

To create a larger tax base for his chiefdom, he created markets for miners and business people who traded in diamonds, gold, chromium, silver, coffee, cocoa, timber, and rubber. From the economic propulsion, the township of Kenema grew quickly to become the Kenema District and Eastern Region Headquarter. From his work, Chief Lalugba gained the admiration of his peers who seated him as the head of the Paramount Chiefs. To that end, in 1951 he traveled to the Festival of Britain representing Sierra Leone in Buckingham Palace amongst the representatives and heads of other British commonwealth protectorates/colonies.

After his return from Britain, Chief Lalugba converted from Islam to Christianity as he felt it would gain him favor in the international arena. He allocated 10 square miles of land to the Catholic Mission of Sierra Leone (the largest holding of the organization to date in the country). He expanded on the Central School land grant to pave way for Kenema Polytechnic College, allocated land for Holy Trinity School, expanded the train station, Forest Industry and PWD, and other key infrastructures that would drive industry and support a growing and diverse population.

In 1951 the indigenous people of Sierra Leone were in a power struggle with the Creole population (the freed slaves from Nova Scotia, England, Maroon (Jamaica), and other places that had been given a place to settle in the Western area of Sierra Leone (what is now the greater Freetown area)). To unify their voice, these indigenous people formed Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) in Kambia (Northern Sierra Leone) and presented the party to Chief Lalugba in the East. For his part, he summoned a meeting of other influential Paramount Chiefs and presented the Kambia delegation. They were welcomed and their new party proposal was accepted in the East. To help the party gain footing, he volunteered the Chief's Palace in his compound at #9 Kaisamba Terrace, Kenema (SLPP 3rd office) and the house he had purchased in Freetown on January 28, 1949 situated at #61 West Moreland Street (what is presently Siaka Stevens Street) in Freetown as SLPP Headquarters.

On Tuesday 3rd January 1956 around the hour of 10am, Chief Lalugba died of an acute asthma attack from smoke inhalation from a building fire in Lagoh (his maternal village where he normally went for retreats). From the foundation he had made, his 3-storey building in Freetown which served as the SLPP Headquarter was also the home of his schoolmate, friend, and lawyer Sir Albert Margai and became the meeting place/hall where the independence doctrine would be drafted and later ratified in England to become the Lancaster Agreement that would become the Sierra Leone Declaration of Independence.

In his honor, and to continue in his developmental steps, the Alpha Foundation was formed in Atlanta Georgia in 2000 and Alpha Foundation of Sierra Leone subsequently formed in 2002. The first major initiative undertaken "The Sierra Leone Restoration Project" from 2002-2012 reached thousands of people across the entire country with indifference to tribe or religion. In his name and on his behalf, as well as my late grandmother Haja Hawa Sama Kaisamba, I thank all that embraced this call to act and support the Alpha Foundation Worldwide.

Alpha Lalugba Kaisamba-Kanneh
Founder and Director, Projects and Strategic Planning

Paramount Chief Alpha Lalugba Kaisamba (1942)
PC Alpha Lalugba Kaisamba 1942
PC Lalugba in Britain 1951

The Festival of Britain 1951
Gathering of Leaders and Heads of the Colonies/British Protectorates in United Kingdom

SLCB Kenema in honor of PC Lalugba

Bust of Paramount Chief Alpha Lalugba Kai-Samba
Sierra Leone Commercial Bank in Kenema

Protectorate Assembly gathering of Paramount Chiefs in Bo Town 1946
Protectorage Assembly gathering of Chiefs 1946
Paramount Chief (PC) James Sherif Coker-Jajua innauguration
PC Faba, PC Coker-Jajua, PC Amara G. Sama IV
PC Coker-Jajua innauguration
Bank of Sierra Leone, Kenema
Plaque in Honor of PC Alpha Lalugba Kai-Samba
Bank of SL Kenema Branch plaque
Late Paramount Chief Madam Humonyah
Paramount Chief Alpha Lalugba Kai-Samba's grandmother
PC Madam Humonyah
Alpha and Haja Hawa Sama Kai-Samba
during her last visit to Atlanta, GA in 2000
Alpha and Haja Hawa Sama Kai-Samba