Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 September 2018:
Dr. Samura Kamara, the defeated 2018 presidential candidate of the All People’s Congress Party, yesterday spoke out against what he regards as the injustice being served on public officials previously appointed by the former APC government.
Since his election victory six months ago, president Julius Maada Bio has sacked several high-profile senior government officials who served under the former APC government, believed to be activists and campaigners of the APC party.
According to a State House spokesman speaking to the Sierra Leone Telegraph a few months ago, president Bio has replaced former political appointees to make way for those he regard as trusted and loyal supporters of his ruling SLPP party.
But the defeated APC presidential candidate in a statement published yesterday, 24th September, 2018, said he was speaking “in Solidarity with fellow Sierra Leoneans forced out of jobs”. This is his statement:
My dear compatriots, since the inauguration of the new Government following the April 2018 Presidential Election Run Off, I have watched and followed very closely and with dismay how things are evolving by way of Government policy prescriptions and subsequent implementation. I am also carefully listening to and noting the painful reactions of the general public therein.
Undoubtedly, we have most disappointedly witnessed what I want to describe as a “new normal” or rather, a “new reality” that is very clearly sowing the seeds of a potentially unstable and explosive near term for our beloved SIERRA LEONE.
This is more especially characterised by the unprecedented targeting, for ultimate unexplained dismissal or forced unscheduled and unearned vacation, of fellow Sierra Leoneans across the length and breadth of our public Service.
All of those who have lost their jobs in the Service, including even those who were recruited on competitive basis and for dedicated professional placement, notoriously by Presidential Directives, have prematurely suffered this not by receiving direct letters from the Secretary to the President but intuitively by being hounded out of office by replacement officers with letters of new appointment.
Without doubt, all of these suffering Sierra Leoneans are either Northerners, North-Westerners, Westerners and/or sympathisers/supporters of the All People’s Congress and the candidature of Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara as its Flag bearer in the 2018 Presidential Election or are very much perceived as such.
These compatriots, most of whom are excellent professionals by all local and international standards and credibility, gave up other opportunities elsewhere, at home and abroad, to serve their country, Sierra Leone, and they did so diligently. They shared their expertise, their experiences and their energies to help the rebuilding of our nation.
Many of them came to serve because they were called upon to do so irrespective of their tribe, the region they come from, or the political party they are supporting.
These are patriots who saw that the gaping skills gap in our Civil Service and other Public Service offices was a drawback on our national development aspirations. They therefore answered the national call to contribute to our collective course of making Sierra Leone a better place.
During their tenure of office, they worked and collaborated with many South–Easterners, who are today being assigned to replace them in their offices under the New Direction appointment preferences which are noticeably exclusive.
For example, in my tenure as Financial Secretary as well as Governor of the Central Bank and holding two major Ministerial positions, I gainfully worked and nurtured many South-Easterners to the best of my ability and for the benefit of building a prosperous Sierra Leone that we all should desire and would want to see.
This was notably done without recourse to any tribal lines and/or political affiliations and sympathies, and this was what characterised our Public Service staffing architecture in the Tejan Kabba, Saidu Momoh and Ernest Bai Koroma administrations.
In spite of all their services and sacrifices, many of these patriots are now being profiled and forced out of office; in some cases, without due process, and often times, without the courtesy of a ‘thank you’, or not least, severance benefits.
The dramatic manner and disingenuous political motivation that characterise these progressive sackings from the Public Service, are easily retrogressive and represent a bad precedent for and a drag on national development.
They are certainly a turn-off for other Sierra Leonean professionals who may wish to serve their country irrespective of their political persuasion.
I am therefore compelled to reach out to all of you who have fallen victim of this retrogressive politics; to say to you that you were not wrong in offering your expertise to your country; that your services didn’t go in vain.
- You helped to move our dear Sierra Leone from one with the darkest city on earth to one whose capital and other major towns are now appreciably lit.
- You helped to restore pipe- borne water to majority of our district headquarters and several other communities reaching millions with clean and safe drinking water.
- You helped to change our nation’s terrible road network to what is today a commendable modern road infrastructure.
- Through several policies, you incentivised our farmers with improved seeds, fertilizers and other farm inputs which motivated them to go back to the fields with much higher productivity levels and commerciality.
- You saved thousands of lives by pulling your expertise together in introducing and successfully running an unprecedented Free ;Health Care Initiative for pregnant and lactating women and children under five years.
- You walked us out of Ebola and mudslide.
- You helped to rapidly increase access to pre-school. primary school. High school, tertiary and technical and vocational education.
- You worked hard to help foster business environments where the private sector can thrive.
- You helped to consolidate our democracy; resurrected and reinforced our local government and decentralisation, and rural development, thereby significantly reducing erstwhile huge urban-rural political, social and economic divide in Sierra Leone.
- In sum, you have moved our nation from conflict to the most peaceful in our region; making Sierra Leone today, to be internationally acclaimed, including by the United Nations, as a storehouse of good lessons in post-conflict reconstruction, open government, political and economic inclusion, social protection, transparency and accountability.For these and the many other invaluable contributions you have made towards our nation’s rebuilding, you deserve respect and appreciation; not antagonism, especially by a succeeding government which has benefitted from the strong foundations you have helped to lay for moving our nation further forward. I therefore stand with you and want to let you know that all is not lost.
The majority of Sierra Leoneans – the ordinary man and woman; boys and girls, the aged and fragile, the physically challenged, and vulnerable grassroots activists, who benefitted from your endeavours, remain solidly with you.
In sharp contrast to the new government’s unfounded utterances, we have witnessed important progress over the past decade.
It goes without saying that today, many Sierra Leoneans now have a fair chance to thrive, to flourish, to develop their capacities, no matter who they are and where they are from in the country.
Notably, our Agenda for Change and Agenda for Prosperity together provide a clear roadmap for achieving our longer term destination of a Middle Income Sierra Leone by 2035. Stay blessed and do not despair.
Dr. Samura Kamara is the 2018 presidential candidate of the All People’s Congress Party.