Sierra Leone Telegraph 18 February 2021:
It is not often that Madam (Canon) Cassandra Garber who is the President of the Krio Descendants Union of Sierra Leone and overseas, comments publicly on matters of State in Sierra Leone.
But she has this week broken her silence to join the large sections of Sierra Leone community who are concerned about the behaviour of the country’s First Lady – Mrs Fatima Bio, whose almost daily utterances especially on social media, have become a huge embarrassment to the people of Sierra Leone, both at home and abroad.
Madam Garber who is 93 years old addressed the following statement to various women’s groups in the country, to indicate her displeasure at the behaviour of the First Lady. Please read below:
STANDARD OF DEMEANOUR AND LANGUAGE BY THE FIRST LADY OF SIERRA LEONE
Our Beloved Country clocks 60 years of political independence this year, 2021. Thanks to the mercy of His Almighty, it is a blessing to be one of the few FEMALE SENIOR CITIZENS to be alive.
I honour my responsibility as a citizen of Sierra Leone. The STATE has likewise recognized my contributions and has twice awarded me national honours. I therefore regard it a national obligation to voice my disappointment, and displeasure at the new and repulsive habit of exchanging coarse language on social media platforms especially at the level of the country’s leadership.
Globally, the spouse of the HEAD OF STATE is instinctively afforded respect and courtesies by all nationals and non-nationals within a country. Correspondingly, that spouse is expected to exhibit the highest CODE OF CONDUCT.
I can state categorically that ever since we gained Republican Status in 1971, all former FIRST LADIES including Mama Rebecca Stevens, Hannah Momoh, Patricia Tejan-Kabba, all of blessed memory, and Sia Koroma, behaved with the dignity expected of their position.
I therefore lament the present scenario in which Sierra Leone has a FIRST LADY whose general approach is unbecoming, and whose language is very often not only offensive but also unprintable (by acceptable decent standards).
I recently became aware of verbal tirades conducted by the FIRST LADY. Sadly, she appears to relish taking on citizens; the practice of retort and exchanging unpleasantries by the FIRST LADY has now become quite commonplace! In addition, she seems to revel in the use of filthy expressions! Her description of the proposed punishments for rapists will go down in the history of her very own project “HANDS OFF OUR GIRLS”. It is a pity that people in the Corridors of Power do not perceive this behaviour as undermining the country’s level of international respectability.
I lived through the dawning of independence and witnessed the elegance and elocution of FIRST LADIES of Sierra Leone and other countries in the West Africa subregion. I cannot help but recall the outstanding wife of the late Ivorian President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Marie-Therese, a fittingly pioneer FIRST LADY. She married in 1951 at the young age of 21; an inexperienced debutante she went on to perform her state duties so magnificently that she was dubbed by the WHITE HOUSE in 1962, “AFRICA’s JACKIE KENNEDY”. Another FIRST LADY, equally young and inexperienced, Njaimeh Jarawa of the Gambia, maintained the remarkable standards expected of her position.
From the legacies of these women, it is clear that age is not the determinant of GOOD PERFORMANCE. It is time the various strata of WOMEN’s FORUM in our country address the negative utterances of our FIRST LADY. Her elevated position in the community demands exemplary behaviour to all ranks and levels of our citizens. With the customary display of PRIDE shown by our respective EX-PUPILS ASSOCIATIONS, I do hope her alumnae co-members will take this as a wake-up call to rescue the reputation of their ALMA MATER. The FIRST LADY has abundant energy for directing her many projects. We welcome a change in her behaviour and approach.
(Canon) Cassandra Garber, GOOR, JP, MR – February 2021
Coordinator, Campaign for Good Governance President,
50/50 Organization Centre for Public Enlightenment & Dialogue for Peaceful Conference President,
Sierra Leone Association of University Women President,
Zonta International Sierra Leone President,
Business and Professional Women of Freetown President,
Sierra Leone Mothers’ Union President,
Sierra Leone Muslim Women’s Network President,
Women’s Network of the Methodist Church Sierra Leone President,
Soroptimist International of Freetown