President Bio accused of prioritising spending on public relations rather than tackle poverty

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 August 2023:

There is deep anger across many parts of Sierra Leone as President Bio hires a US advertising and publicity agency to help clean up his government’s poor image abroad.

The deal which critics say would cost millions of dollars will involve publishing government propaganda materials and attacks against the opposition and critics of the President.

As the country’s economy continues to drift downwards and the government struggles to pay for key public services such as healthcare, education, provision of clean water and electricity, critics say that the President is showing his total lack of compassion for the poor people of Sierra Leone.

Writing on social media this week, one of the country’s top lawyers – Barrister Basita Michael, said that this money could have been best spent on alleviating rising poverty.

“At a time when citizens are grappling with extreme poverty and dire living conditions, the recent decision to hire a PR firm stands as a bewildering choice. odwyerpr, an online and print news and information publisher covering the public relations and marketing communications, reported yesterday that Mercury Public Affairs is on the brink of signing a contract with SierraLeone, offering services such as public relations, government relations, and media outreach. This news left many citizens scratching their heads and raises questions about misplaced priorities.

“It’s important to acknowledge that Sierra Leone is facing a myriad of challenges, most notably the deeply entrenched poverty that continues to afflict its population. Reports of economic struggles, lack of access to basic services, and the absence of essential infrastructure have painted a grim picture of the everyday lives of Sierra Leoneans.

“Against this backdrop, the allocation of funds to secure the services of a PR firm seems like an outright misallocation of resources.

“The State Dept ‘s concerns about the recent election irregularities further underscore the need for the Sierra Leonean government to rethink its priorities. Rather than diverting funds toward a high-priced PR firm, the focus should be on promoting transparency and accountability.

“The call for publishing disaggregated election results and allowing an independent audit should not be taken lightly. These steps would demonstrate a commitment to democratic values and also encourage trust and credibility among both citizens and international partners.

“It’s baffling that in the face of pressing poverty and the urgent need for development, the government has opted to invest in image management instead of addressing the core issues that plague the nation.

“While PR efforts might polish the government’s reputation in the short term, they cannot substitute for genuine efforts to uplift the lives of Sierra Leoneans. Basic necessities like healthcare, education, and clean water should be the government’s utmost concern.

“We roundly condemn the decision to hire a PR firm and urge the Sierra Leonean government to reconsider. Instead of investing in superficial solutions, it should channel our resources and efforts toward eradicating poverty, fostering transparency, and building a brighter future for all Sierra Leoneans.

“It’s high time for a shift in priorities—one that reflects the true needs and aspirations of the people who deserve a life of dignity and opportunity,” Basita wrote.



  1. Santhkie Sorie
    I’m not trying to change your mindset which is already made up.
    I personally believe that Tribal and Religious tolerance are the bedrock of our beloved “Mama Salone” based on the fact that most of our Political Elites who have tried to divide our voters are married to someone from another tribe or religion.
    The first impression when you arrive in our country is to board the Ferry from Lungi to Freetown, and some comedians always entertain us by making jokes of Christians and Muslims. They even make jokes about the unique accent from our different tribes. At the end of the show, they conduct peaceful voting between the two religions by donation and the winner always congratulate the loser.
    It is forbidden to even talk about tribe in Rwanda after their civil war despite all the developments that they are undertaking.
    Although your APC party lifetime leader and his handpicked stooge have tried to “make our country ungovernable” since 2018, yet, our beloved country is currently rated as the 3rd most PEACEFUL NATION in Africa and the MOST PEACEFUL NATION in West Africa.

  2. Alusine Fallay, in your tirade you got only one thing right: I was with NGC because I had mistakenly believed in the tenacity of KKY. I find both SLPP and APC to be anathema to our dear country, they are worse than Satan who is forever trying to lure us into Hell; SLPP and APC have us in Hell all the time; waiting for us to die first wastes their time.

    When KKY returned to SLPP my disappointment was implacable; I had hoped that come what may he would stick with NGC and become an incurable pain for the two major parties to force them to do the right thing , much like what Julius Malema has become for the ANC in South Africa, despite the fact that he used to be the youth leader of the Party. To me, what KKY did was nothing short of betrayal.

    Abass Bundu sold our passports, a dastardly criminal offense. As Secretary General of ECOWAS, his corrupt instincts got the better of him and he became an arms dealer to fan the flames of carnage which were raging in the subregion. This was the man caught on video having his way with a young girl young enough to be his grand daughter. I have more up my sleeve. Have you caught my point which seems to have enraged you?

    Alpha Kanu (a so-called Muslim) duped Muslim pilgrims, took their money, flew them to Nigeria , dumped them there , and insisted that that was Mecca. Earnest Koroma sacked him twice for corruption . See the mess he has made of himself in trying to put a spin on the invitation of Bio by ICC. Pal, ICC do not invite anybody for bilateral talks, they’re a criminal investigative outfit, an arm of the UN. Got that?

    Yes I am Temene, but one with a roaming spirit when it comes to the interests of my country. In 2018, when the battle for the presidency came down to Bio and Samura I was on Bio’s side because of the level of corruption which had enveloped the Koroma administration. I don’t know whether you are aware of the escapades of the Bio government which have turned me against him. Do you know how many people he has killed? Do you know anything about his suppression of audit reports? Do you know anything about how he squanders our meagre resources by renting jets to fly all over the place? Do you know anything about his illegal sacking of Lara Taylor-Pearce? Do you know anything about how he stole the recently concluded elections, which has alienated both the local and international communities? I could go on forever.

    I stand for truth and fairness. My parents instilled that in me. Tribalism has no space in my entire being. I eagerly await your response.

    • Bro relax, most sierra Leoneans these days only see politics and governance through ethnic lenses. If you’re a south easterner criticising the current leadership, you’re hateful , disgusting and simply a betrayal. If you’re outside that zone and says anything contrary to the SLPP governance, you’re an APC, a distractor, unpatriotic and violent by default. You see my point man. I’m APC but would have stood with Bio to dislodge the APC caboodle Koroma cultivated. No EBOLA resource misuse investigation, just nothing, yet so much went missing during our last stewardship at slater terrace. Kotor you keep the flag flying regardless.

  3. Sierra Leonean politics is a farce and I think people like Alpha Khan and Abass Bundu are the smart ones. We waste our time defending/ pouring opprobrium on these scumbags, I beg your pardon, a slip of the pen, people. If APC came to power today, Alpha Khan would wiggle himself back into APC and probably get a high post.

    There is minimal difference between the parties and zero hope of development. Thus, the angry ones are just those who did nothing over the past five years, yet we’re hoping, nay jousting for another bite at the cake, but are now bitterly disappointed. So Maada, Samura. They are all the same. Mediocre people with minimal intelligence.

    Such is the state of a country of 27,000 sq miles, yet people squeeze like ants in Freetown, as if the rest of the country did not exist. As for the ICC, how naive can these people be. These institutions are there solely to ensnare the enemies of the imperialists and while Ngor Maada may have been naughty with the elections, he is not anti West. Therefore, he is safe from such shenanigans.

  4. Santhkie Sorie
    It’s been a while since I kept the record straight about your unhinged and inconsistent comments. I still remember the last time I asked you to retract your comment to restore your credibility in this respectable forum, that made a new reader to state that “you are crazy”, which unfortunately prompted a warning from the editor.
    I personally believe that your attack on the “integrity or moral compass” of Honorable Dr. Abass Bundu and Dr. Alpha Kanu is based on the fact that they are both from your Temne tribe from the North, so they are betraying your cause by being members of the SLPP. Subconsciously, you are in self denial since Honorable Dr. Kandeh Yumkella formed a STRATEGIC ALLIANCE with the SLPP, so you have decided to go back to your original APC party which is excellent.
    This time around, I’m trying to save you from yourself, in order for someone else to once again disrespect you on this platform.
    The link below is an indication that the ICC has always had bilateral discussions with non- permanent members of the United Nations Security Council from Africa, and that has no relation with the demonstration organized few weeks ago by your so- called king Adebayor:

  5. So Bio does know that his government has a battered and shattered image, whose odor is offensive to a civilised nose? It’s almost like Hitler pouring money into a PR firm after killing millions of people around the world to clean up his image; he was lucky to escape the clutches of the Russians when they broke through to his bunker.For those who believe that Bio is cleaner than a newborn (both inside and outside), and that he won the 24th June 2023 election ,now have an assignment to reconcile between Bio’s move and the profile of him they try to portray. For the first time Bio will be forced to understand what vicarious liability means.

    Alpha Kanu, his spokesman, is an outright boot licker who has no integrity or moral compass. Indeed SLPP is full of such people, Abass Bundu being one of them. Alpha Kanu doesn’t even know the fundamentals of the mandate of ICC, a revelation of his ignorance in distinguishing between criminal and civil law. Let him get in touch with me through the Telegraph for me to give him a crash course on the distinctions from the top of my head.

  6. An opportunity to enhance our nation lies ahead – the prospect of conducting an independent investigation, an endeavor brimming with positivity and promise. In this regard, the government’s hesitance to invest in public relations becomes a prudent decision. Recognizing that until claims are substantiated, they remain as allegations is essential. Hence, steering our nation towards progress necessitates the government’s consent to an impartial inquiry, one that holds the potential to fortify our democracy and uplift the overall state of the country.

    This proposition is even more appealing, because the international community stands ready to support its realization financially. This avoids tapping into our nation’s finite resources for public relations efforts. By aligning with the opposition’s stance, the government can embark on a journey to cleanse its reputation and the nation. This endeavor transcends political affiliations; it embodies our collective identity and aspiration, dwarfing any single party or administration.

    In essence, by embracing this path of impartial investigation, we illuminate a positive trajectory for our nation’s future. This move exemplifies the collaborative spirit that fuels progress, ensuring a brighter, more transparent, and more united future for our beloved country.

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