Is Sierra Leone’s Chief Minister the problem?

Elkass Sannoh: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 June 2020:

Recently, I was researching and desperately finding credible information about the Office of the Chief Minister when I stumbled on information about how the Chief Minister, Professor David Francis, in 2015 endorsed a new book published by one of the leading and internationally recognised mediators – Dr. Saeb Erekat, entitled ‘Imam Ali Bin Abi Taleb & Negotiations’.

For those who do not know or have even heard about Dr. Saeb Erekat, he is the Palestinian Chief Negotiator of the Israeli-Palestine conflict and Secretary General of the Palestinian Authority, who negotiated the Oslo Peace Accords with Israel and has extensive connections with several American Presidents and world leaders.

For such an international figure that is globally respected to ask Professor Francis, a Sierra Leonean, to endorse his new book, is a mark of great respect and admiration for his intellectual leadership and distinguished scholarship.

To be Frank, I think the Chief Minister is the problem and his own enemy, because he doesn’t give interviews, nor talk about himself and his impressive international achievements, like the other half-baked so-called international civil servants.

In the absence of information about the Chief Minister, we in the media therefore tend to make up stories about him because we know that the mere mention of his name and picture on the front cover of any newspaper will sell like hot cake!

This discovery made me remember that this same Professor David Francis wrote the Foreword to a book about the late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, entitled – ‘Coming Back from the Brink in Sierra Leone’.

I was also really pleased to read what the late Mr. Solomon Berewa, former Vice President and SLPP Presidential Candidate said about Professor Francis in his book – ‘A New Perspective on Governance, Leadership, Conflict and Nation Building in Sierra Leone’. He said: “Professor David J. Francis inspired me with the idea of putting on paper the experience I gained from the vantage position I held in Government ….Professor Francis was quite sure that I am capable of producing a book narrating the events…. He encouraged and even urged me persistently to make an attempt. If this book is a reality today, it is due to the inspiration and encouragement of Professor Francis”.

You cannot read all of these genuine sentiments about the work and humility of this man, Professor Francis, without being proud as a Sierra Leonean.

Of course, the majority of Sierra Leoneans now know that the Chief Minister has been one of Sierra Leone’s most distinguished, internationally respected and acclaimed academics, writer and author, with 10 books (single authored and edited books) and more than 30 journal articles, book chapters and commissioned papers.

I have therefore decided to publish a series of articles on the publications, books and writings of the Chief Minister, Professor David J. Francis, as a way of getting the people of Sierra Leone to see a different side of the Chief Minister, rather than the usual view of him as a politician and technocrat.

Let me just make it clear that these series of publications have not been discussed with or received the approval of the Chief Minister. Despite the Chief Minister’s lack of approval, as a journalist, I have decided to write the facts based on the research I have carried out on the work of the Professor myself.

I am doing this because the majority of Sierra Leoneans see the Chief Minister as a formidable intellectual figure, a highly competent, disciplined, professional technocrat in President’s Bio’s Government and one of the leading lights of the New Direction administration.

I have heard many people who admire his intellectual leadership, technocratic and rather ‘too strict’ approach to governance and politics often describe him in a populist fashion as the ‘Brain Box’ and ‘Back Bone’ of the New Direction Government of President Bio.

I have also heard academics at our Universities compare him to the legendary Dr. Davidson Nicol, the Cambridge-educated former Principal of Fourah Bay College and Vice Chancellor of the University in the 1960s, the distinguished academic, diplomat, author and Physician.

But what do we know about Chief Minister, Professor David Francis, as a distinguished academic, author and writer who has significantly contributed to the understanding of politics, peace and conflict resolution, governance, security and development in Sierra Leone and Africa in general?

In the coming weeks and months, I will be writing articles on the books authored by Professor Francis, starting with his newly edited book that I discovered online – ‘Peace, Democracy & Development in Africa July 2020’.

3 Comments

  1. Joe Koroma says— “ I wonder why you still have not registered with the APC despite your overwhelming support for that dastardly political outfit all these years. It would not surprise me to learn that you worked in Ernest Koroma’s State House for several years and that you only left after APC was kicked out of power”

    Hahahaha, Joe Koroma, it appears your cerebrum misfiring has taken up a new extreme level. Obviously, you have graduated from spreading FAKE NEWS, to now concocting silly stories that can only be attributed to someone under the influence of some illegal substance. Instead of making meaningful contributions in this platform like the majority of the participants, you have opted to specialize in fake news spreading and attacking individuals who are pointing out the many ills and corrupt practices stagnating our nation’s development. Upon thorough inspection, however, one will easily discover an ulterior motive behind your mantra of operation.

    Now, your assertions of me having worked for the APC regime can only be taken seriously if it had been made by one of the patient at our newly renovated Kissy Mental hospital. Not only have I never officially worked in any capacity in Sierra Leone, America has been my permanent home since 2001. While I happen to be a fervent advocate for good governance, I don’t see myself working for any regime in our nation or vie for any political office in the foreseeable future. By all indications, I am currently satisfied with my career working in the field of information technology. So Joe Koroma, since you are desperately fighting to gain recognition with some intention of being shortlisted for a job in the PAOPA regime, I will advice that you up your game and change tactics by adding meaningful contributions rather than your usual fake news peddling and concocting of fables.

  2. The scriptures even stated that “leaders are not respected in their hometown” . The major reason why President Bio convinced Professor Francis to abandon his lucrative job in the west to act as his Chief Of Staff or Chief Minister was to help transform our country . In general, his duty is to act as a buffer between President Bio and his ministers, that’s the reason why he is always behind the scene solving problems, mediating disputes and dealing with critical issues and service delivery before its presented to the president , which has finally transformed our nation’s credibility and ratings positively within only two years.

    I personally have high respect for him because of his academic background, records in peace building within the British Commonwealth countries and as a professor at the University Of Bradford where he was the coordinator of the UNESCO Chair in African Peace and Conflict Studies, so as the scriptures also stated “ Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”. Since he launched the Government Transition Report to jumpstart the just concluded Commission Of Inquiry the corrupt APC party has made it a 24 hours job to destroy his hard earned reputation that took him decades to build because he made a “ Politically Incorrect” statement by describing the lifetime leader of the APC party and his entire government as “ Criminal Racketeer Enterprise”, but fortunately for him and the people of Sierra Leone the two foreign Judges and local Judge of the COI proved him right.

    One thing that is obvious is that even if after 20 years the SLPP happens to lose power , most of these professors that are currently helping rebuild our country has nothing to loose because they can simply pick up their jobs because of their Knowledge power, instead of engaging or inciting violence to make our country ungovernable.

    • “ which has finally transformed our nation’s credibility and ratings positively within only two years.”

      Really? Exactly what ratings or credibility are we talking about here? I am dumbfounded!! What good news are we to celebrate within the past 2 years?

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