An open letter to the President of Sierra Leone

By a Concerned Citizen

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 November 2012

President Ernest Bai Koroma, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, clearly states that it seeks to strengthen the conventions on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, as well as protecting the rights of the child.

These conventions as you are fully aware, are totally against discrimination and marginalization of women, children and the rights of persons with disabilities.

Based on the importance of these conventions and as a human rights advocate myself; on behalf of all the uneducated and underprivileged mothers, single women, the girl child, the disabled, the orphans and the vulnerable unemployed youths roaming the streets of Sierra Leone, I ask you the following questions and we need honest answers.

Do you really love and care about the poor and vulnerable masses in the country? Can you please tell us why any of us should trust you again for a second term in office?

I am a mother of eight children, who once trusted you. But not only have you let me and my kids down, you and your government are hurting us.

Just as you are now busy traversing the country, while spending Billions of Leones campaigning to stay in power, so also is every mother, every single woman, every uneducated girl child, every disabled citizen and the vulnerable unemployed youth in the streets, struggling to feed themselves and their families.

Instead of spending Billions of Leones on campaigning events, alcohol, drugs and t-shirts, just to hold on to power, these are the people you should have spent that money on to combat poverty.

Your government has failed to improve the poor health care system, the educational system, the very unhealthy sanitation system in the whole country, the rampant corruption in the mining and governmental sectors, the very negative attitudinal and behavioural change agenda, and not to speak of the country’s dilapidated infrastructure.

No, I am not expecting you to be perfect, because nobody is. But Sierra Leone is a small and very rich country with just six million people, with more than half of the population living in abject poverty.

You have had five good years to focus on the most important issues that are crippling the country and causing early deaths, but failed to do so.

Yes, I listened to your interview on monologue, but I am not convinced  of your conviction and determination to lift the people out of poverty.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I would have listened to that same speech and told everybody I know that, you are genuine, because in 2007, you sounded very sincere, humble and impressive.

But I am not the naïve woman that I used to be any more.  I know better now, not to trust you and your government.

Telling people to judge you on what you have achieved and not to vote for you if they think you haven’t done anything doesn’t convince me either, because you have already spent billions to make sure that you win at all cost.

Moreover, you have underestimated the intelligence of the masses and therefore have taken them for granted. As the good Christian that you say you are, you should have taken good care of the vulnerable people in the country. You failed to do so.

Latest report from your own ministry says that over 500,000 children are out of school under your watch.

The capital Freetown is packed full of disabled beggars, prostitutes, young boys and girls – as young as age 5, roaming the streets all day long trying to sell few items or steal from somebody, just to help put food on the table, instead of being in school.

That indeed is a very grave indictment of your five wasted years in power.

The attitude of some of those in your government is appalling. I was sexually harassed by many of them. And my only crime was simply because, I listened to you when you asked me to come home to help rebuild the country.

So, with just a few days left before the elections on Saturday, 17 November, I will ask you once again; do you really love and care about the poor and vulnerable people of Sierra Leone? If you do, why have you failed to address their needs? And what are you going to do to make things better, if re-elected?

And please tell us why any of us should trust you again for a second term in office? Go ahead; convince us that you deserve a second term.


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