President Bio of Sierra Leone accused of gross tribal discrimination

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 April 2021:

Accusing politicians in Sierra Leone of hypocrisy, double standards, nepotism and tribalism is nothing new. Since the end of the rebel war in 2001 and the return of democratic elections, successive governments have been criticised for polarising the political space with tribal and regional bigotry and rhetoric.

But these criticisms have recently been extended to include naked tribal discrimination, with the wholesale sacking of public sector workers and civil servants believed to be opposition supporters, as was the case after Ernest Bai Koroma won the 2007 election – sacking hundreds of people from their government jobs, replaced with ruling APC supporters.

In response the outgoing SLPP party accused the incoming Koroma APC government of tribalism.

In 2018, the opposition SLPP won presidential election to form a government. In the ensuing months, hundreds of people were sacked by president Bio, believed to be supporters of the outgoing APC government, and there was a tribal and regional twist to that list.

Today, president Bio is being accused of gross tribalism in his appointment of government ministers and heads of departments and public agencies, in favour of his Mende tribesmen and tribeswomen. It seems president Bio has learnt nothing from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report,

Critics of the president say that the following statistics support their accusation:

A ministerial cabinet of 30 in a country with a population of 7 million people – has 22 Mendes, 8 non-Mendes – none of whom are Creoles or Konos. Thus, the Cabinet is made up of 73% Mendes.

Of the 31 Deputy ministers appointed by president Bio, 20 are Mendes (65%) and 11 non-Mendes; and  only 2 are Creoles and 2 Konos – Dr Eldred Tunde Taylor (Energy Ministry) Creole; Mr William Robinson (Tourism and Culture) Creole; Mr Kai Lawrence Mbayo (Sports) Kono; and Philip Tetema Tondeneh (Works and Public Assets) Kono.

The statistics for Departments, Agencies, Commission and State-owned Enterprises are even worse for the non-Mende tribes in the country under the Bio-led government.

Out of the 69 Heads of Department, Agencies, Commission and State-owned Enterprises, 65 (94%) are Mendes, with 4 non-Mendes. There is only one Creole and zero Kono speaking presidential appointee: Mrs Stanela Beckley (Chairperson of the Teaching Service Commission) is Creole.

In the civil society space, 73% of the Senior Heads running CSOs are believed to be of president Bio’s Mende tribe, limiting the voice of other tribes in advocating for resources, political and humanitarian rights.

These are just some examples of president Bio’s tribally biased appointments:

 

 

12 Comments

  1. To me the issue in Sierra Leone is not directly connected to tribe or relgion but it is based on connection, relationship and usage. Nearly 85% of former president’s appiontees were northerners and Temnes, compared to 55% during this 3 years under this new SLPP.

  2. Any attempt by Paopa loyalists to use Soviet era “Whataboutism” techniques as a sign of defense of this despotic, tribalistic President on this glorious forum will be shrugged off and treated with the contempt that it deserves. The evidence speak clearly for themselves: Our President Julius Maada Bio is a Tribalist, raised in the dark egocentric cradles of the SLPP that has been working tirelessly against national cohesion in my little beloved Sierra Leone…Live with that!(lol)

  3. Three Years of President Bio: Corruption, poverty and other socio-political problems existed in Sierra Leone before President Bio was elected in 2018. Analytically, the president is not solely responsible for the country’s 60-year-old problems. The problem with President Bio is his FAILURE to register himself as a positively DIFFERENT leader.

    Rather than chart a new direction, President Bio is a disappointingly CORRUPT and directionless leader, aberrations which make him no different from the APC mafia gang he replaced. President Bio is so MENTALLY WEAK that he gave in to his wife’s pressure and flew to Lebanon on a three-week honeymoon, recklessly spending one million dollars during that shocking adventure. A leader with a BRAIN and VISION will NEVER engage in such childish escapades.

    On the third anniversary of his ascension to power, President Bio SHOULD have tried to SAVE FACE by conducting a GENUINE cabinet RESHUFFLE to ELIMINATE useless ministries and purge CORRUPT friends like Chief Minister, a slimy opportunist who serves NO useful purpose in Sierra Leone. When SLPP propaganda is peeled off, it would become clear that President Bio is on his way to becoming another Joseph Saidu Momoh, a time-wasting buffoon who was known for being dangerously WEAK, corrupt, LESS INTELLIGENT and susceptible to manipulation by the smarter crooks around him. May God have mercy on POLITICALLY UNFORTUNATE Sierra Leone.

  4. Comparing President Koroma’s 2007 first ministerial cabinet against President Bio’s SLPP heavily tribalistically biased first cabinet appointments: In 2007 President Koroma appointed 20 cabinet ministers: Zainab Hawa Bangura, Minister of Foreign Affairs (Themne); David Carew, Minister of Finance and Development (Krio); Paolo Conteh, Minister of Defence (Limba), Abdul Serry-Kemal, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General (Themne); Alimamy Koroma, Minister of Trade and Industry (Themne); Haja Afsatu Kabba, Minister of Energy and Power (Madingo); Alhaji I.B. Kargbo, Minister of Information and Communications (Themne); Dr. Soccoh Kabia, Minister of Health (Mende); John Saad, Minister of Housing and Infrastructural Development (Mende); Dauda Sulaiman Kamara, Minister of Internal Affairs, Local Government and Rural Development (Limba); Alhaji Abubakarr Jalloh, Minister of Mineral Resources (Fullah); Dr. Sam Sesay, Minister of Agriculture (Limba); Benjamin O.N. Davies, Minister of Lands, Country Planning & the Environment (Krio); Dr. Moses Moisa-Kapu, Minister of Marine Resources (Mende); Musu Kandeh, Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs (Mandingo); Hindolo Trye, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (Mende); Minkailu Mansaray, Minister of Employment and Social Security (Themne); Dr. Minkailu Bah, Minister of Education, Youths and Sports (Fullah); Kemoh Sesay, Minister of Transport and Aviation (Themne); Alpha Kanu, Minister of Presidential and Public Affairs (Themne).

    Out of the 20 cabinet ministers appointed by President Ernest Bai Koroma, there were: 7 Themne cabinet ministers (35%); 4 Mendes (20%); 3 Limbas (15%); 2 Krio cabinet ministers (10%); 2 Mandingo cabinet ministers (10%); 2 Fullah cabinet ministers (10%).

    In comparison with President Bio’s SLPP Paopa Cabinet appointed in 2018: President Bio appointed 30 cabinet ministers, of which 22 Mendes (73.3%); 2 Kuranko (6.7%); 2 Fullah (6.7%); 1 Themne (3.3%); 1 Madingo (3.3%); 1 Limba (3.3%); 1 Susu (3.3%); 1 Kono cabinet minister (3.3%). Good job to include more diverse ethnic groups but SLPP Paopa first cabinet appointment is tribalistic with one tribe dominating 73% whilst APC first cabinet was evenly distributed.

    http://www.sierra-leone.org/cabinet-bio1.html
    http://www.sierra-leone.org/cabinet-koroma1.html
    ©️ Scope media

    • When did Dr. Socco Kabia son of Bia Kabia the third of Lunsar become a Mende. Why do we have to feed in wrong information to make our points? And I wonder if you knew that EBK’s government in 2007 was based on an arrangement with the PMDC of which Socco Kabia, Dr. Moses Moisa-Kapu (a Shebro) and John Salad (a Lebanese) were contributed by the PMDC. Hindolo Trye was a registered APC member.

      Just to set the records straight, Alhaji I.B. Kargbo is a Limba not a Themne. He was my former teacher and principal at UCC Bo. Further, I thought Bio’s government in 2018 had Dr. Aiah Kpakima as minister of tertiary education, Dr. Morie Kumba Kanye as Minister of Mines and Mr. Tamba Lamina as Local Government Minister and these are all ethnic Konos including three more Konos that are deputy ministers.

  5. Of course Tribalism is the issue at hand; You can try as hard as you can to give it 100 names in order to disguise it and reduce the penetrating gaze of Truth but it won’t make a difference, it will remain Tribalism all the same. Now let me make things a little easier; I once owned a little puppy I called “Growler” that my demanding work schedule would not let me care for properly; so I gave her to my neighbours red-headed little daughter. The girl was happy, so was the dog – it was a match made in heaven. A few months later my girlfriend advised that we should go and see how the dog was doing, so we went over and rang the bell. The little red-headed girl and her mother opened the door and we informed them that we were there to see how the puppy was fairing on. They brought the dog and it immediately started jumping all over us, wagging its little tail like a malfunctioning pendulum swinging out of control.(lol)

    Then I said; “Growler you are looking good buddy.” And then the little girl and her mother interjected saying- “She is no longer called Growler, her new name is Misty”. I laughed and said to them, “she’s now yours, Misty sounds fine”. And there you have it, the same thing is regarded differently by both parties involved – the same dog is now being called something else but that still doesn’t change anything, he is still that little “Labrador retriever” that I once bought from a pet shop in a shopping mall. So you see, any attempts to give Tribalism in our tiny country a different name won’t mean a damn thing to men and women with discerning and prudent minds; It will be frowned upon, ridiculed and looked upon with contempt and utter disdain.

  6. Perhaps the point being missed in assessing the list of Bio’s appointees is the link between ethnicity and region. Some of the individual names may suggest the Sherbro, Kissi, Fula and Mandingo ethnicities of their bearers. However, do these bearers not hail mostly from South-Eastern Sierra Leone, which is predominantly Mende, numerically, linguistically and culturally speaking? Indeed who can deny the irresistible cultural influence and absorbing power of Mende in that region of our country? To have a government made up of functionaries drawn largely from the South-Eastern geographical and cultural space is therefore no accident. This might seem logical given that the party in power has that space as its base, indeed sees the space as its exclusive party political preserve.

    The trouble is that the power the party now enjoys and wields is not ‘South-Eastern power’ alone; it is what I will call national power: power that calls for redistribution reflecting the interests and character of all the regions of our country, inclusive of the South-East, the East, the North, the West, and the recently created North-West. The list of appointees falls far short of the geo-cultural complexity/diversity of the political entity we call Sierra Leone. This lack of ethno-regional balance in the distribution and exercise of national power has a name: ethnocentrism and regionalism. It means politicising ethno-regional differences to win power and the privileges and riches that in the Sierra Leonean context power bestows on its holders. The holders may in reality not serve the best interests of the ordinary man and woman living in South-Eastern Sierra Leone itself. However, the perception among other Sierra Leoneans that the region is the exclusive beneficiary of the national cake is a foregone conclusion. And perception in politics matters; sometimes it is all that matters.

    We need visionary leaders; leaders who once in power are able to rise above narrow personal, partisan and ethno-regional considerations and govern in the interest of every Sierra Leonean man, woman and child. This means drawing on the knowledge, skills and good will of Sierra Leoneans of all regions and ethnicities to ensure national cohesion – an invaluable ingredient of any attempt at national regeneration as we continue to work towards undoing the consequences of that decade-long civil strife that brought our country to its knees not so long ago.

  7. Change of government is reciprocal to change of system. Change requires a response, both in the short term and in the long term. In the short term, organizational survival may require a different response from that which might lead to longer term reform. At the same time there may be a political agenda which is short term. So, if perhaps you couldn’t find names of your choice, it’s because of change. Biblically, this world was created by God with no ethnic divide. Scientists also may attest to the fact that man started with no ethnicity. We are just mere human beings. So let’s learn to treat ourselves as humans.

  8. Tribalism is not the issue at hand. The above can be defined as a fanatical preference for members of one’s own tribe. If such was the situation in Sierra Leone, we should have seen a rapid improvement in the SLPP areas, such as more schools, low cost housing, preferential subsidies on basic necessities. The same with the previous party, where the former president’s house in Makeni is worth more than the University of Makeni. No, corruption, illiteracy and petty minds are the root of our problems.

    • Mr Leo Africanus, you might have made a valid point there. Majority of government appointees might have all come from the Mende tribe. Whether it was accident or designed is beside the point. Bio just want to create a middle class of corrupt politicians. As long as his buddies are fine thats what count. These people are not interested in the wellbeing of anyone. They don’t want to know if the people of the south have good roads, electricity, hospitals, affordable housing, education. To say the communities in the South are in anyway benefitting from this tribalistic overtures is lazy thinking. Pujehun, Kailahun, Kono and Shebro Island, all the way to the Liberian border doesn’t appear to benefit from the hard work of their local sons and daughters sitting in government today.

      In some cases I will say they are worse off than some areas in the North. Take the Mano river roads that take you to Liberia, passengers in that part of the country have to take the same life and death decision just like anywhere else in the country to undertake such decisions. These corrupt politicians only care about number one, themselves. This tribalistic make up is just used as stop gap or vehicle to enrich themselves. Majority of people in the list of government officials were just struggling to get by. But today they are rich beyond their wildest dreams.

  9. i dont think it is discrimation; I think it is domination. Sierra Leoneans have suffered a lot under the two tyrant political parties and ethnic regions since our independence. This country is dominated by the temnes and mendes. Do you want to rule Sierra Leone, you must have the support of the APC or SLPP. APC dominated by the north and of course SLPP by the south.

    • Shebros, Kissis, Vai, Gullah are all classed as Mendes. Sage Jusu for example is listed as a Mende, the same as is Mrs Ndanema and Mrs Melrose Kargbo. There are many that I don’t have time to name. Recently a native Loko woman was given symbol and won a Parliamentary seat in a bye election in Kailahun. No body said anything. While president Bio himself has been embraced as a Mende, when we entered Bo school, he was Julius Woni Bio with no Maada. He and JJ Saffa identified themselves as Shebros.

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