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:

 

 

11 Comments

  1. Dr Sorie Tunkara – I once heard a very strange story that gave me the chills because it vividly highlighted one of the ills of our society we are struggling to deal with today – Tribalism and intimidation by the SLPP. Folks here’s the sad
    story as I heard it from a friend from the South, straight from the horse’s mouth.(lol) There is a happy old man in State House that has worked for all the Presidents that have ruled our little Sierra Leone – He is a versatile professional Chef that cherished and took great pride in his work. But that didn’t stop the criminal SLPP cabal to try and get rid of him;One day they came to him with frowning faces as he was dicing some onions and told him that he was
    NOT LIKED and that he needed to pack his things and leave. The old cook laughed and said; “Not Liked by who?”

    The SLPP officials smiled and walked away. The old chef shook his grey head defiantly and shouted as they hurriedly went through the door;” Please tell the President that I work for Sierra Leone and not for him,I am going nowhere.” The next day they returned but the chef was still there doing what he was paid to do quietly like a butterfly transporting pollen from one flower to another. Then one of them growled; “You are still here? your kind of person is not liked by the New Direction – pack up and leave now.”

    The old chef was unfazed,he had seen it before, a lion being confronted by ruthless hyenas was still a lion.(lol)He then reached into his pocket and handed them a letter that said; “I Siaka Probyn Stevens President of the Republic of Sierra Leone according to the powers vested in me out of a free conscience and due diligence hereby employ the humble bearer of this letter Mr S.S Bangura as Head Chef in the service of Sierra Leone for life – This is a Executive order”. The SLPP dummies stared at the old chef in disbelief and then ran away like rats being chased by a vicious cat and handed the eye opening historical letter to their corrupt old soldier.(lol) SLPP Good for nothings! (lmao)

  2. It is a disgrace, if indeed, those appointments were consciously made and dished out by the Commander-in-Chief himself. It also means that the people of Sierra Leone are not fairly represented, if represented at all – why? because it was not only the Mendes who decisively voted to give Maada the top job in the land.

  3. It’s all a greedy grab of power. This dangerous and provoking situation has been happening in Sierra leone politics for a very long time now and has to stop. I’m always worried about these types of political appointments because leaders will come and abuse such powers. Those people who were made jobless when President Koroma took over were Sierra Leoneans, and they do not deserve such treatments. The same goes for all those who lost their jobs when President Bio took office. I don’t blame former President Koroma or President bio for such inhuman acts. I blame what I believe to be an outdated constitution.

    A constitution without transitional continuation of government is no use in my view. Sierra Leone needs constitutional, prison and judiciary reforms. Without that, such inhuman acts will continue. What will happen to all these men and women whose names appear on that list if APC wins the next election, which of course, is inevitable according to the failed and reckless policies of the Bio SLPP kakistocracy? President Bio will no longer revert to a situation where we will see a balanced cabinet or department heads appointed.

    We need a new President to reset such unfortunate misuse of power due to an outdated constitution. My advice to the Krios and Konos mentioned on that list should resign. Are people not ashamed of themselves engulfed in a tribal political den? Anyway, we have to live with such situations until we decide who we should vote for as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone in 2023. Vivre La Republique Sierra Leone et Le Mouvement Democratique du Peuple Leonais!

  4. Some of the names associated to Mende are far-fetched to be used as an example in an effort to prove tribalism. Mr Kenneh is a Kissi man; we ail from the same town in Kailahun. Fodebah Dabor is mandigo, Taprima Jah is Fula, Ansu Tucker shabro, Basheru Sheriff Mandigo, Mohamed Dabboh Mandingo. I can go on and on to dispute some of these dubious questionable lists trying to portray tribal biasness. If we are going to address and face issues of tribalism once and for all, it is only but fear that someone somewhere doesn’t come up with fictitious evidence to disenfranchise a particular set/group of people.

  5. Gentlemen – the time for lukewarmness and speculation is over – What does the evidence say? Is this soldier guilty of stoking the fires of hatred and discord through a deep seated attitude that embraces and promotes tribalism? Yes or No? Stargazer? Of course, the inept man in State House is as guilty as a thief caught red handed by the owner making away with two laptops he says he was only going to borrow and later return. (lol) What a bunch of baloney! The evidence at hand speaks clearly and loudly by themselves. Our President is an anarchist that cares only about himself and his tribesmen; an anarchist that once opened the gates of hell by overthrowing legitimate power and authority is now seen by his loyal tribesmen as their true savior and champion that will safeguard old annoying regressive customs, traditions and beliefs at the expense of our tiny nation’s sovereignty and prosperity.

    Its all an evil calculated attempt by a President and Chief Minister to craftily create policies that will facilitate the marginalization of other tribes in our Sierra Leone. Its time to ask the tough questions: Why are they not making an inch of progress after such a long time in power? Here’s your answer – wherever incompetence has been granted free licence to overrule pragmatism in the interest of Tribal sentiments for self centered purposes, lack of progress usually becomes the end results.(lol)

    A government overcrowded by Mendes that has already failed miserably, that will continue to fail miserably because it is not all inclusive and therefore does not adequately represent what my beloved Sierra Leone looks like.(lol)

  6. If these records pass the objectivity test, then it’s very disappointing and needs urgent revisit from the national leadership. However, that can never discount the nasty and deliberate smear of the Mayor of Freetown municipality and the sheepish, if not ignorant response of my APC. The record out there is disgraceful and quite worrying.

  7. The list of government functionaries demonstrates the true character of President Bio’s administration: overwhelmingly and dispiritingly ethnocentric and nepostistic. How can Bio make such regionally and ethnically inspired and slanted appointments the basis of a government that is supposedly national in nature and outlook? Are Krios, Themnes, Limbas, Susus, Konos, Fulas and so on not good enough to play a numerically significant part in running the affairs of our country? How hypocritical for Bio and his administration to lay claim to taking the country in a NEW DIRECTION! A new direction indeed, understood as the political principle and practice of sinking ever deeper into the revolting swamp and treacherous quicksands of regionalism and tribalism. Would a government that means what it says not use its ‘new direction’ mantra to learn lessons from the past and steer the country away from politics of strife, sterility, division and doom that ethnocentrism always entail? Does the tragedy of Rwanda 1994 not ring a bell?

    The preceding administrations were of course no angels of de-regionalised and de-ethnicised politics. However, does the current one need to repeat the mistakes of the past? Sadly, it is doing precisely that and on a frighteningly unprecedented scale of crassness, vulgarity and obscenity. Especially so when you consider that what we need right now is a politics of national unity and cohesion as we strive to rebuild our country from the ruins of a devastating civil war that ended just two decades ago. Sierra Leone as a nation belongs to all of us irrespective of our individual ethnic and regional origins and sympathies. A government that lives and breathes ethnocentrism and regionalism is a real and present danger to us all, beginning with the Mendes themselves, whose best interests it seeks ostensibly to promote.

    I use the word ‘ostensibly’ advisedly. This is because Bio and the majority of his appointees are more concerned with promoting their own individual interests than anything else, their ethnicity being no more than a means to achieving that end: a tool designed to bring them to power and place them within easy reach of the nation’s wealth, which if we go by recent reports by Africanist Press, they are now looting to their heart’s content. Ordinary Mendes, Limbas, Themnes and Krios have politically no axe to grind; they have lived and shared our homeland with other ethnic groups in relative peace. It is generations of our political leaders that have sown and nurtured the seeds of discord among us for personal gain. Our country yearns for leaders who are patriots first and foremost, capable of speaking to what unites us, and not what divides us. Bio and the overwhelming majority of his appointees are no such leaders. I fear for our country.

  8. This is how a Canadian AP reporter, Ian Stewart, who was injured in Sierra Leone during the RUF civil war during the storming of Freetown discribed Sierra Leone in his book’ FREETOWN AMBUSH’: “Sierra Leone got its independence in 1961. Western – style democracy and government were short lived in the newly independent Republic of Sierra leone, as infighting among ethnic groups undermined cooperative development. A series of military coups and political assassination destabilised and impoverished the new nation.

    “Decades of corruption and political upheavals have left Sierra Leone the “worst place on earth”, according to a United Nations development programme survey – worse than Sudan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Loas. Life expentacy is thirty – eight years, while 164 of every 1,000 babies die in infancy. Sixty-nine percent of adults cannot read or Write”. And when you think his book was published in 2002,it seems nothing has changed for the better since then.

    A foreign journalist captured the very demon and taboo subject that we as a nation have failed to confront and confine to the dustbin of history by working together as a nation for the common good. Instead TRIBALISM has taken a front row seat in the way we do politics in our country. Forget about APC/SLPP rivalry, tribal politics is what is fueling corruption in our country. One dominant tribe will be voted in, and say lets enrich ourselves, before the next dominant tribe is voted in. More like they are taking it in turns. Nothing about the interest of the country. Simply the country’s coffers is used like a piggy bank for corrupt politicians. Basically, which tribe can make the most when they are in power. If you want to know the reason why the cancer of corruption has endured, look no further.

  9. Tribalism is among the main reasons why Sierra Leone is still lagging behind many poor countries in the world. Our leaders have not been able to get past that debilitating hurdle that is guaranteed to impede and stifle social and economic progress.The blind leading the blind – Our President is following in the footsteps of his predecessor,who also had no choice it seems,to follow in the tracks of those that held the baton of power before him – this is actually what mental immaturity in its most crippling form looks like.It has been there since our Independence,an unwanted taboo no one wants to talk about that has never stopped devouring all that would have transformed a mineral rich Sierra Leone into a prosperous country like Norway,Finland and Belgium.

    Its time for us to address and face issues of tribalism once and for all head on and get it over and done with – running away is no longer a viable option if we wish to grow and make sustainable progress as a nation.

    • And the only way to do that Mr Tunkara is to rewrite the constitution and incorporate it with modern norms. Upgrade it with stringent laws and stick to it. In it, let especially the tribal law, human rights, police, media, civil Societies, office of the president, vice president, judiciary, diasporan participations, etc be strictly upgraded to the highest height making sure every word in it is applied to everyone in the country. That way Sierra Leone will begin to see the fruits of the labour of “strong institutions”.

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