Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 July 2022:
Many would argue that discrimination has existed since the creation of Adam and Eve, be it tribal, religious, gender, or any other social construct. But the reality is that some societies are more fixated on these social constructs than others, especially in poorer countries where decisions about the distribution of wealth, and the prioritisation and allocation of scarce resources hardly pass the good governance test.
It is very often in this context that politicians and leaders can show their true colours. Take Sierra Leone for example – one of the poorest countries in the world, where both the Head of State – Julius Maada Bio and the former Presidential candidate of the main opposition APC party – Dr Samura Kamara, are being accused of tribalism.
Dr Samura Kamara is accused of stoking up tribal conflict in the country, when he spoke last week in Makeni, Bombali district, in the northern province about tribalism. This is what he is alleged to have said, when describing the SLPP government’s appalling record of creating a fairer and just society:
“If you are a Kamara, you won’t get work. If you are Bangura, you won’t get work. If you are from Makeni, you won’t get work. If you are not from Kenema, Bo, Kailahun, Moyamba, Pujehun, you won’t get work. If you don’t say ‘buwa bisseh’, you won’t get work”.
Since uttering that statement, Dr Samura has said he is not a tribalist but a realist, pointing out to the fact that his wife belongs to the Mende tribe which he is accusing the government of prioritising over other tribes.
But is Dr Samura right in accusing President Bio and his government of tribalism when it comes to the allocation of resources and public sector appointments?
Critics of the government and opposition politicians say that over eighty percent of the top jobs in the country’s public sector, including ministerial and civil service positions have gone to people of Mende origin.
President Bio himself is not denying the fact that he is making appointments based on who and what he knows. He said clearly in a radio interview last year that he only appoints those he knows into his government.
So, what are the facts?
The following is a list of appointments President Bio has made to his government which the opposition and critics say reflects the President’s tribalistic nature and orientation: