Sierra Leoneans in UK send letter to British Prime Minister

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 April 2015

Dear Prime Minister

david-cameronWe Concerned Sierra Leoneans residing in the United Kingdom (known as Sierra Leone First UK), feel constrained to raise a matter of grave importance, given the fact you are in the middle of a hectic election campaign.

As one of the leading members of the international community, you are aware that in an interdependent world, a failed state eventually leads to ungoverned spaces, which in turn become the breeding ground for non-state actors that cause greater instability – including acts of terrorism for the global community.

Apart from terrorism, the nature of the global community today, means no nation is immune from tragedy in another part of the globe. The outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone and other parts of West Africa is a classic example, of how inter-connected the world has become.

It is precisely our fear of such a scenario, that we wish to raise our concerns with respect to the direction Sierra Leone is heading, under the leadership of President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Under the current government in Sierra Leone we are gradually witnessing a deliberate weakening and destruction of all democratic safeguards.

The unfortunate aspect of our situation is that this is not the first time Sierra Leone has gone down this route, and the sad outcome was that our country ended in war and the total collapse of the state.

It took countries such as yours a costly investment of blood and treasure to restore order and help us back on our feet. We do not want such a nightmare to befall our country again.

It is for this reason that given the traditional and historic ties that exist between Sierra Leone and the UK, you are in a better position to use all the levers you have to help rein in the government of Sierra Leone from turning our country into a failed state again.

Under President Ernest Bai Koroma all institutions including the judiciary have been compromised. The latest action of the President is his decision to remove the elected Vice President from office, a power he doesn’t have under the Sierra Leone constitution.

Despite protests from across the board – including the Bar Association and Civil society groups, calling on the President to rescind his decision to remove the Vice President, he has refused to do so.

Whilst the President has decided to remain impervious to reason from across our nation, we Sierra Leone First UK wish to join our compatriots at home, in appealing to the British government not to legitimise this blatant abuse of our constitution, by refusing to recognise the constitutionally illegitimate Vice President that President Koroma has appointed.

We believe that by the British government refusing to recognise this illegitimacy – including the denial of a visa for President Koroma’s self-appointed Vice President to visit the UK, will send a powerful signal that the British government abhors such constitutional violations. (Photo: The illegitimate vice president of Sierra Leone – Victor Bockarie Foh – left).

Victor Foh - in chinese woven garment

Mr Prime Minister, we remain deeply appreciative of the continuing support, including overseas development aid for our country by Her Majesty’s government. We remain equally grateful for the fact that despite serious global financial difficulties, the British government has taken a principled and commendable decision to ring fence overseas aid.

However, we Sierra Leone First UK are also aware that ultimately this is the British Tax payers’ money. Our argument is that there should be a transparent and judicious management of such international aid by the recipient countries.

It is a matter of regret to us that under President Koroma’s administration, transparency and accountability have become dirty words. Financial aid including aid sent to the government of Sierra Leone for purposes of improving the lives of the people are routinely diverted by the President and his close associates for their own use.

The President has proven adept at empty political sloganeering such as bringing about an “agenda for prosperity” in order to cultivate and lure the international community such as the UK to attract continuous British foreign aid.

As Concerned Citizens of Sierra Leone, we are calling on the British government to consider diverting all foreign aid away from the hands of the government of Sierra Leone and work directly with non-governmental organisations on the ground that are better placed to provide direct support to our fellow citizens.

Poverty in Sierra Leone

Mr. Prime Minister, perhaps nothing better illustrates the glaring distrust in the government of Sierra Leone than its mishandling of the Ebola emergency funds, about which a recent audit report uncovered massive misappropriation of funds.

Again, despite calls from citizens across the nation, President Koroma has refused to order a proper inquiry into the misuse of the Ebola funds. He has decided to kick the matter into the long grass as has been the pattern of his administration in all cases of financial impropriety.

Mr. Prime Minister, Sierra Leone is increasingly becoming an intolerant country, members of the opposition are routinely arrested and locked up in Police cells throughout the country.

We are witnessing a slide back into the era of bad governance that led to the collapse of our nation.

The good thing is that our compatriots are no longer willing to tolerate the rule of the proverbial “African Big man”. It is for this reason that we Sierra Leone First UK will be joining our compatriots in a global action by demonstrating in front of Downing Street on 27th April 2015.

london protest9

 

Our action is to draw the attention of the international community to the creeping dictatorship in Sierra Leone and its implication for regional instability.

The people of Sierra Leone do not want dictatorship, and certainly do not want any violence. We seek to build a nation that will be governed by law not by men. We also seek to build a nation that is able to manage its resources without permanently being dependent on foreign aid.

Sierra Leone has the potential and the human resources to build such a nation, but we need the support of our friends to help us. It is for this reason that we call on the British government to stand with the people of Sierra Leone.

jimmy batiloOn behalf of our compatriots, we want to convey assurances of our highest consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Jimmy B Songa – Chairman Sierra Leone First (UK)

cc: Rt. Hon. Nick Clegg – Deputy Prime Minister, Lord President of the Council (Cabinet Office) (with special   responsibility for political and constitutional reform), Lord President of the Council (Privy Council Office), Rt. Hon. Edward Miliband – Leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition.

9 Comments

  1. I can verify that members of APC-UK & Ireland branch actively participated in the London demonstration, with their details, if need be.

    Constructive criticism within the same political party is healthy for our young democracy, and must be commended.

    Political propaganda by some APC officials who are misleading the public on the motive of these demonstrations all over the world is unfortunate and disheartening.

    The fact of the matter is that these demonstrations are supported by APC party members, SLPP members, PMDC members, other party members and Sierra Leoneans with no party affiliation.

    The unconstitutional actions by President Koroma are unacceptable.

    Being Leader of a political party does not imply you know it all. Leadership entails having knowledge and profound understanding, especially the legal realms of the binding statutes of your country.

    In fact, there are more expectations when the Leader, in this case President ‘Bye Bye Koroma’, is the Fountain of Honour. I therefore propound that these elements cannot be underestimated nor overemphasised.

    In this modern age, no political influence – be it extraordinary largess, humiliation, prolong detention, stifling the press, or otherwise, can sway the will of Sierra Leoneans in determining the bright future of Sierra Leone!

  2. The greatest problem with Salone is that the poor, the ignorant and the illiterate are in large numbers and have been marginalized since Independence.

    Every government of this country including this one, has thrived on the poverty, illiteracy and ignorance of the masses. When the truly liberated and rights-conscious Sierra Leoneans attain a critical mass, change will come.

    It will take time, but until that happens, only the manipulators will dominate the governance landscape.

  3. Thanks and appreciation to you all over there for not forgetting your families at home, and above all your Sweet and Beloved Mama Salone.

    We also are planning to join you guys, though we are living in fear. But it is high time we stood up and fight for our Constitution for the good of our beloved Mama Salone.

  4. I wonder what the collective cost of corruption and resource mismanagement is for Sierra Leoneans living in the diaspora. With the staggering prices of basic necessities, many are being pinched more and more for funds from abroad.

    The weight of this burden has undoubtedly made some disillusioned with the wasteful practices of this current administration. Yet there are those who continue their praise singing, when there is nothing to rejoice about.

  5. During the time SLPP was in power do they do anything? ‘No’ but place civil servants and politicians without knowledge due to tribalism and empty the coffers of the country. Even that time we had a president who had worked in United Nation thinking that his experience will bring investments in Sierra Leone but the country was left to it knees without development.

    Every part of the country was dilapidated and areas full of ghettos they stole all the money thank God to fair elections Dr Ernest Bai Koroma was elected and Sierra Leoneans are experiencing confident boost and becoming proud of Sierra Leone.

    Under the presidency of Dr Ernest Bai Koroma we now become nationalists and proud by putting on and displaying the ‘GREEN, WHITE and ‘BLUE’ colours at home and abroad. SLPP will never come to power through the ‘GUN’ Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad are intelligent people so don’t play with their intelligent.

    I am an annocent Sierra Leonean who is not gaining anything from President Koroma”s government but the truth MUST be told. We have now seen under President Koroma children and mothers have free medical not talking about fees payment and food for 2 years for schools as well as the projects going on to bring investors and developments.

    What else do the SLPP want whilst they were in Government nothing like these developments ever happened in the history of Sierra Leone but they brought war on us and destroy Sierra Leone due to their tribalism, most Sierra Leoneans will never ‘FORGIVE’ the SLPP. SO SORT YOUSELVES OUT FIRST. Sierra Leoneans are weary about war.

    I AM AN INNOCENT SIERRA LEONE PROUD OF PRESIDENT ERNEST BAI KOROMA”S GOVERNMENT. Keep it up President Ernest Bai Koroma don’t let distraction hinder the love and progress you are doing for Sierra Leone. I salute “Sir” for doing a good job.

    • Kadi Kargbo I can hardly understand what you are trying to say to the World. Typical APC supporter – your English is very poor and you are incoherent. I wonder why your parents bothered to send you to school.

      But be that as it may, I will excuse your poor grammar and spelling and address your lies and APC propaganda that you are allowed by the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph to peddle here.

      First of all, please get it into your head that this protest has nothing to do with party politics. We really don’t care about APC or SLPP politics.

      But the truth is that after eight years in power and having received over $5 billion in aid and development loan, president Koroma has no excuse for the abject poverty our people are suffering today, and its a disgrace – no water, no electricity, rubbish are not collected, the so called newly constructed roads here in Freetown and up country are death traps with craters that get flooded when it rains; inflation super high, with most people surviving on one meal a day, if they can afford it; not to talk of the missing $14 million Ebola funds.

      Yet you have the temerity to come on the internet to peddle lies.

      Over 80% of Sierra Leoneans are earning less than one dollar a day. According to the latest figures from the NRA most people are now failing to pay their taxes – thanks to president Koroma, who is the most corrupt leader in Africa teaching people how to evade taxes.

      75% of Sierra Leoneans are unemployed; 60% of children under five years continue to die before their fifth birthday despite the bogus free health care, that has given opportunity to those in power to pilfer and pocket donor funds. Go ask Bill Gates, he will tell you all about it.

      40% of pregnant mothers are still dying during childbirth; most Sierra Leoneans are paying for their medicines and treatment – if they can get it, when they visit hospitals. Most young people in Sierra Leone are now dying before they get to 40 years old. What a shame on the corrupt and despotic Koroma government.

      Despite promising to run Sierra Leone like a business, the country has become the private enterprise of the Koroma clan – propped up by the Chinese mafia.

      According to the latest statistics, Sierra Leone is still ranked among the most corrupt nations in the World; the level of foreign investments promised by Koroma has not materialised, as most investors – except the chinese, shy away from a narcotics peddling government.

      For your information, the rebel war did not start under an SLPP government. It was provoked by the corrupt and tribalistic Ekutay APC government of your kith and kin, led by Momoh big wase – aka Josephine Tucker.

      So go and read the facts and your history. Oh by the way, while you are educating yourself, please don’t forget to brush up on your nursery school English and stop embarrassing Sierra Leoneans on the internet with your poor and incoherent writing that is so typical of all that your APC government does.

      Yes of course, You may be an innocent Sierra Leonean, but I must say that you are very naive, poorly educated, misguided, and deeply partisan. Why not try taking off those red APC tinted spectacles you wear and see Sierra Leone for what it is – a country ravaged by corruption, greed, tribalism and poor governance?

      Go on – do yourself a big favour for once and take off those shackles and free your mind!

  6. Let it be said again and again to those see no evil, hear no evil supporters of these serial civil rights abusers here in Freetown, that president Koroma and his band of thieves are the enemies of state, not those that are protesting here in Freetown and abroad to save our sacred constitution, democratic right and civil liberty.

    We in Sierra Leone are being arrested by the thuggish security apparatus of the Koroma dictatorship regime, for simply trying to assert our right to free speech, freedom of association and right to peaceful protest.

    So we thank our brothers and sisters in the UK and the USA for standing shoulder to shoulder with us in this our collective struggle to stop dictatorship, stop corruption and end abject poverty in Sierra Leone.

    Those in Sierra Leone and abroad who conveniently chose to look the other way, and are also now throwing insults at us for standing up for justice will surely burn in hell.

    Our people here in Sierra Leone are living in squalor and abject poverty, because of the corrupt and poorly educated band of thieves that are running the country.

    We and our brothers and sisters abroad will continue to oppose dictatorship and poor governance in Sierra Leone until Koroma and his band of narcotics trafficking thieves are kicked out of office by the people of this country.

    So we will take no lectures from Sierra Leoneans who are benefiting from the loots of a corrupt and inept regime that is destroying our lives and our children’s future.

    If it takes a revolution to bring change to Sierra Leone then so be it. We will have it. But we will not be used as cannon fodder by Koroma and his corrupt APC cabals. We say – enough is enough.

  7. The British Prime Minister does not need lectures from people like you! Though he is a very busy man, he probably is more informed than you are about what is going on in Sierra Leone and will have a more intelligent perspective than you seem to have.

    I would suggest that you go home and help the country(in-situ) rather than be an armchair critic or street protester in a foreign land where you don’t seem to have anything better to do.

    You may not be able to understand it but you are the people trying to destabilize the country and seem anxious for war for your own selfish ends.

  8. At least this is the first time ever the Press in Sierra Leone can write without persecution. At least Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has been a tolerant Leader but some journalists have taken this freedom to mislead readers ‘What a shame’.

    If it is in Europe a journalist can be sued for misleading reporting. A good and transparent journalist should not be economical with the truth as some journalists or newspapers are writing.

    Please, please we need to focus on the development of Sierra Leone. In 1999-2000 Sierra Leone was a backward country but now we are well respected in the International Community thanks to Dr Ernest Bai Koroma.

    What a hardworking President. Please ‘GIVE PEACE A CHANCE’

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