Madam Cassandra Garber admonishes Sierra Leone’s First Lady

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

Addressees:

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

15 Comments

  1. Alusine Fallay says— “Finally, Fatima Bio will be remembered as the most opinionated First Lady in the history of not only our nation, but the entire Africa. I always compare her to Mrs. Clinton and Michelle Obama. Most of the former First Ladies that Madam Cassandra Garber mentioned had different roles they played like former First Lady Melania Trump.”

    Chief Fallay, please stop misleading gullible readers in this glorious intellectual platform. Fatima Bio, and 2 of the most popular past first ladies in America can never be classified in the same category. The facts remains both Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Obama are never HIGHLY OPINIONATED as you continuously propagandize in this noble platform. On the contrary,n these America first ladies epitomize the roles of a nation’s mother, using their highly educated backgrounds, coupled with their intellectual capabilities to communicate across both sides of the political divide, advocating for women and children issues that they hold dearest to their hearts.

    Now despite Mrs. Obama serving as a first lady at the midst of a prevalent social media usage, her good mannerism and professional background, never allowed her to stoop so low in using her first lady’s position as a bully pulpit — obsessively posting on social media, targeting and in some instances uttering gutter language against her her critics or husband’s regime. Serving as a surrogate, media campaign manager or spokesperson, are never the roles of any first lady, not in America, or any of the democracies around the world. In cognizance of the existence of critics matter what your efforts are, Michelle Obama however enjoyed high approval ratings and remains so across the political divide. Unlike Fatima Bio, she was never a divisive first lady, pitching citizens against each other based on their political ideologies. So please chief Fallay, stop peddling LIES in this glorious intellectual platform. Repeating the same LIES over and over again will never translate to facts. LIES will always be refuted!!

    • Hahaha, Oh Chief Fallay, digging yourself to more and more ridicule. For christ sake, how does people commenting about Michele Obama’s choice of attire have anything to do with this current topic? Absurd!!

  2. With all due respect to this Young Lady, tribal and religious are organizations supposed to STAY OUT OF POLITICS. This organization comprises of members from all political parties just like Churches and Mosques. This statement alone can jeopardize the respect she commands within this organization. Finally, Fatima Bio will be remembered as the most opinionated First Lady in the history of not only our nation, but the entire Africa. I always compare her to Mrs. Clinton and Michelle Obama. Most of the former First Ladies that Madam Cassandra Garber mentioned had different roles they played like former First Lady Melania Trump.

    Even social media was non existent or limited as compared to the past two years. Traditionally in African Politics, First Lady is supposed to be only a housewife as was recently expressed by the leader of the most populous African nation President Mohamed Buhari of Nigeria, who responded to a political comment his wife made at a press conference in Germany hosted by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. His reply to the press was “My Wife belongs in the Kitchen and bedroom”. Thankfully, President Bio thinks differently about his LOVELY BEAUTIFUL WIFE.

    • @ Alusine Fallay. Quite right President Bio may think differently about his ‘lovely beautiful wife’, but I am sure he will not approve of wife’s conduct and comportment not that he will say that publicly. He attended a residential secondary which has as its motto, ‘manners maketh man’ and the behavioural principles were instilled in him. His professional training added respect and discipline. Unfortunaely and sadly, it does not appear as if the First Lady benefitted from any education on manners, respect or discipline during her educational and professional training.

  3. First ladies are usually the people closest to the most powerful holder of the office in the land. It is important those who found themselves in such positions, exercise a degree of careful balanced role of being perceived as the mother of the nation, while at the same time playing the role of understanding the problems and lives of ordinary people. Maintaining a sense of dignity and sometimes playing a visual role, like expressing an act of empathy and warmth towards people of all levels of society, will greatly enhance your credibility. Although, there is nothing in our constitution that defines the role of first lady, I think a common sense approach to matters of state is the rule of the thumb. Generally, first ladies are seen through the lens of style and elegance, and the charity work they do.

    Michelle Obama is seen by many young women around the world as a role model. But criticisms also come with the job, specially in the age of social media. Fatima Bio, will be best served if she reduces her presence in some of this platforms, especially Facebook. Otherwise her husband, President Bio will be putting out fires started by his wife, which is a total distraction from the real job he is elected to do. To serve the people of Sierra Leone. Fatima Bio seems to generate more headlines than Bio himself. And it is all for the wrong reasons. I think it is time she changed the people around her, those that are egging her on.

  4. Thanks ma for following the line of many including the BBC who have previously asked our First lady to moderate herself following example of her predecessor. Comparing the first lady and Sylvia Blyden is out of place. For to whom much is given, much is expected. I hope our first lady will listen and even reduce her interaction on Facebook. Whatever she is doing for Sierra Leone will never go unnoticed and the good Lord who knows what is done even in the most secret places, will reward her.

  5. Madam Cassandra Garber speaks on behalf of her generation, the men and women giants of the country’s independence and history on whose shoulders we have been privileged to walk. She speaks for what is expected of the first lady and should be respected, as her minimum protocol in such a high position. It was Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. who knows, that said “It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen”. We give thanks.

  6. Why for fairness, this comment must be published, otherwise l will unsubcribe from this platform and publish my comments on a wider media platform.

    • Please do! Because your noise is too distracting like a bulldozer working on a construction road. Otherwise I will boot you out myself.

  7. Absolutely carefully read through Madam Cassandra’s detailed write up but my only disappointment is that this comment could not have come to address her Junior sister’s Sylvia Blyden’s worst behaviors nationally and internationally as a very senior political executive member.
    Madam your golden experience is listened to but due diligence and fairness is completely demeaning in this write up please let us understand that the First Lady may have stepped deeper but about the other side of the story? Or are you too old to judge the other side stay safe and honest dear

    • Mr. Kamara it is a pity people like have the opportunity to air your sick ideas here. I believe your mind is just as corrupt as the subject under scrutiny. If you cannot discern what our honorable Mrs. Garber is sounding out there, it is better you just sit quietly or read over the piece again.

    • This is the type of comments that, with a high degree of probability, come from anonymous imposters. Edward M Kamara (or whatever he calls himself) is not the real deal, and therefore has less regard in exposing his counteracting views, compromised respect and integrity. He is not bothered about the nature, truth or lack of it, of his comments. His main objective is how such comments would reflect certain section(s) of a particular community that he is definitely not part of. This is one of the dangers of social media -anonymity. Undoubtedly, it is not uncommon to find such characters (like Edward M Kamara) in the category of the main subject of this article – Fatima Jabbe Bio. IMPOSTERS. The reality is, it was a marriage of convenience. What the nation is witnessing today is the outcome of a predetermined plan, hatched in the UK, that is backfiring. Yes, Sierra Leone is a relatively poor country, but the people cannot be portrayed as being cheap or ill-mannered. Very sad.

  8. Indeed,old age is always accompanied by deep Wisdom,the candid words of Madam Cassandra Garber exemplifies that timeless,sacred truth.She has lived for over nine decades,has seen it all,done it all and is someone who can precisely tell you the end of things in their humble beginnings. Its a great honor to have someone of such a high calibre on this glorious forum from time to time that speaks with authority and refined intelligence that comes directly from the great depths of a vast reservoir of knowledge that the poor struggling people of our beloved nation could tap into.

    Perhaps,the First Lady will heed your prudent advice and change her questionable ways in the interest of our beloved Sierra Leone. Madam,the advice you are offering her is priceless, if only she will come to her senses and seize it with both hands. This is the first time in the history of our Sierra Leone that I have seen our First Lady exchange words,argue,quarrel and trade insults with complete strangers she has never ever met before over the radio and on social media.

    Disgraceful! But then again,there are two sides to every coin – heads and tails. When the owner of a pet fails to vigilantly keep it on a tight leash then its bound to get out of control,bark,attack and bite strangers who are minding their own business. (lol) The corrupt criminal Pot belly Old soldier in State House is equally responsible for his wife’s numerous indiscretions and shameless behaviors that is totally unbecoming of any country’s First lady. Sierra Leone deserves much better and can do better than this. Word.

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