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: