Sierra Leone Telegraph: 04 May 2021:
Professor David Francis is Sierra Leone’s new face of Global Sierra Leone. He was last week appointed Sierra Leone’s Foreign Affairs Minister in a cabinet reshuffle, after establishing and operationalizing the Office of the Chief Minister.
The erstwhile Chief Minister had previously acted as Sierra Leone’s Foreign Affairs Minister during the Commonwealth Summit held in the United Kingdom in 2018.
With his substantive role as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, he is now saddled with the responsibility of leading on Sierra Leone’s Diplomacy and to project the Country’s Foreign Policy Interest within the United Nations, African Union, Commonwealth Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mano River Union (MRU) States and other Governmental Bodies.
Importantly also, Professor Francis now has the responsibility to oversee Sierra Leone’s Embassies, Consulates, and Permanent Representatives abroad.
Professor Francis brings to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs vast experience and knowledge in working with a number of Governments, intergovernmental agencies (EU & Commonwealth) and key UN agencies (UNAMSIL Sierra Leone, UNMIL Liberia, UNESCO on Peace Education, UNDP on Infrastructure for Peace, UNHCR on Internally Displaced Persons in Liberia); ECOWAS (ECOWAS Early Warning Mechanism & National Early Warning System); African Union (African Peer Review Mechanism & the AU Post-Conflict Reconstruction & Development).
As a distinguished international academic, senior policy adviser and consultant for more than 25 years, Professor Francis successfully supervised 6 doctoral completions, 14 PhD/Doctoral External Examinations in UK, Europe, North America and Africa as well as more than 50 Master’s dissertation supervision.
Prior to his appointment as Foreign Affairs Minister, Professor Francis served as the first Chief Minister of the modern Republic of Sierra Leone for three years, effective May 2018. In that capacity, he served as one of the Principal Advisers to the President and was responsible for the supervision, monitoring, co-ordination and performance management of 28 Ministries of the Government of Sierra Leone.
As a Senior Cabinet Minister, he served as a member of the National Security Council; National Defence Council; Economic Management Team; National Investment Board, member of Cabinet Sub-Committees and member of the Presidential Task Force of COVID 19 National Preparedness and Response.
In his role as Chief Minister, Professor Francis provided strategic policy leadership for Parliamentary Legislative Bills for key governance agencies such as the Independent Commission for Peace & National Cohesion (ICPNC) and the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA).
In addition, Professor Francis set up and chaired several cross-cutting Inter-Ministerial Governance-related Committees and chaired several Governance/Security-related Presidential Task Force Committees.
In this capacity as Chief Minister, Professor Francis chaired and led a number of high-level Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) negotiation processes with international, multilateral and private sector agencies and institutions.
As part of his supervisory and performance management role of GoSL Ministries, Professor Francis organized high-level GoSL Cabinet Retreats, including the first ever political and administrative interface retreat bringing together Cabinet Ministers, Heads of the Civil Service, Permanent Secretaries and across-government Heads of Agencies, Parastatals, Commissions and State-owned Enterprises.
As Chief Minister, Professor Francis worked closely with the House of Parliament and the Government-SLPP Parliamentary Leadership and opposition parties to facilitate the passage of government legislative bills and programmes.
Before joining Government, Professor Francis was the Head of the world renowned Department of Peace Studies & Director of the John & Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS) at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom.
He served as Commissioner for the UK Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and held the UNESCO Chair of African Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Bradford. Professor Francis held a Research Professorial Chair in African Peace and Conflict Studies, the first ever to be established at a leading UK University.
Professor Francis has an impressive academic career. He holds a PhD degree from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom; Diploma in Law, Development and Social Justice from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands; Diploma in Human Rights, from the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Lund University, Sweden, and BA (Hons) from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. Professor Francis has published extensively with 10 books and more than fifty journal articles, book chapters and commissioned-policy papers.
Some of his published works include: Peace, Democracy & Development in Africa Adonis & Abbey Publishers: London, July 2020 (Ed); African Peace Militaries: War, Peace & Democratic Governance, Routledge, 2016 (Ed.); When War Ends in Africa: building peace in divided communities. Ashgate: May 2012 (Ed); Policing in Africa. Palgrave /Macmillan, April 2012 (Ed); US Strategy in Africa: AFRICOM, Terrorism and Security Challenges. Routledge, Feb. 2010 (Ed); Peace and Conflict in Africa (Ed.) London: Zed Books, September 2008 (Translated into Arabic in May 2010 by the Egypt-based Arabic Translation Institute); Uniting Africa: Building Regional Security Systems, Aldershot: Ashgate January 2006; Dangers of Co-deployment: UN Cooperative Peacekeeping in Africa (Ed.) Ashgate, 2005; The Politics of Economic Regionalism: Sierra Leone in ECOWAS Ashgate, 2001.
Sierra Leone’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation told the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph that he is determined to improve on and strengthen relationships between the Republic of Sierra Leone – with brotherly and friendly countries and regional and international organizations and bodies.
In much the same vein, he says will pursue Sierra Leone’s foreign policy interests on international trade, regional and global peace and security, terrorism, climate resilience, International Treaties, Conventions and Memorandum of Understanding; International Financial Institutions and international Trade Cooperations like International Labour organisation (ILO), Islamic Development Bank, African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of Countries (ACP), World Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Group of 77 Countries for Cooperation, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OEDA), South- South Cooperation, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) as well as collaborate with home relevant Ministries.
Sierra Leone’s new Foreign Affairs Minister also said that he is seeking to improve on a number of initiatives including Public Diplomacy, promoting Sierra Leone foreign policy objectives through all the Diplomatic Missions abroad. This he said, will be a strategic move to build on the good image of Sierra Leone abroad.
Mr Turay – You are absolutely right. It is truly disappointing that missing in the former Chief Minister’s hagiographic profile is the highest of his qualifications – his, as you so astutely and imaginatively frame it, Advanced Diploma in Thieving. But perhaps the omission is no accident. A man who is a rogue and a crook at heart is always adept at hiding his true credentials. Indeed artful dodging is the name of the game when a kleptocrat masks – or so he thinks – his true nature and intentions by donning the robes of high intellect, love of country and dedicated service to it.
I personally believe that the resume of our respected and humble Foreign Minister Professor David Francis is “off the charts” based on the fact that he is only 55 years old. I also believe that the worst crime he had committed was speaking the truth about the former APC regime based on the fact that the Government Transitional Team Report clearly showed that massive corruption took place by some “Racketters” which was proven by the judges of the Commission Of Inquiry.
Professor David Francis should be respected for his time, efforts and money that he invested to accomplish his degrees. May the Almighty continue to bless him for his sacrifice to abandon his lucrative positions to serve our nation as the second Chief Minister in the history of our nation and I wish him success in his new position.
This litany of self-proclaimed academic credentials presented here, vis-a-vis, the seemingly HYPED UP resume of our nation’s co-supreme leader, bears the hallmarks of a highly gifted and well accomplished individual, wielding a sphere of influence not only in his native country, but also portions of Africa, and Great Britain. What is amiss in this ‘on steroids’ biography/autography however is that, when subjected to real scrutiny, the host of accomplishment portrays here ON PAPER barely translates into actual PHYSICAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
In spite of all the accomplishments listed here, it’s an open secret that, 36 months ago, before our highly venerated professor within the PAOPA movement was given open access to our nation’s coffer, spending several decades in the diaspora, could not afford him to build a mundane thatch house in his hometown of Kenema. Now the world is being told lies, upon lies about something that could never pass a smell test. Now answer this, if our nation is blessed with such a renowned gifted and respected diplomat, equipped with peace and conflict resolution skills, why is it that our nation has got worst in terms of peace, stability, rule of law, corruption, economic, and governance in the past 36 months? PAOPA supporters, are your relatives in Freetown and the provinces, fearing better off since this gang of crooks appeared on the scene? Please stop deceiving yourselves!!
Oh dear our David Francis has been removed from his lucrative “chapping” position to where he can now rely solely on inflated par diem. No more in the centre of millions of dollars mysteriously deposited into his account, no more in the centre of snatching rice from children’s mouth and no more in the centre of encouraging embezzlement on video.
It’s unclear how much experience David Francis has on foreign matters, but he better be prepared to run into diplomats who eat, drink, sleep and dream diplomacy. They pursue their interests relentlessly and ruthlessly on behalf of their respective nations. Possessing a PhD or being a professor does not subdue or mesmerise them as it would most people in Sierra Leone. I wish the new Foreign Minister well. Maybe he can clean up some of his soiled image.
Mr Stargazer, is so much we can do, to point our people in the right direction.You have to move mountains, to convince your fellow Sierra-leoneans, that this Bio government is up to no good. The idea that, this is a government of the people, by the people, for the people ring hallow. And in the grandscheme of things,a misplaced thought. We have to climb a mountain top, maybe wara wara mountains, or Bintuemani mountains, and proclaim to our fellow countrymen that, Boi’s government have failed us. Apart from his much taunted flagship free education, Bio and some of his government ministers, have not only failed to get on top of tackling corruption, now he is showing Sierra Leoneans that cast their ballots for him the two fingers by appointmenting his buddy Professor Francis, as our Foreign minister.
Now if Bio is held up as our crusader president against corruption, this appointment negate all does efforts that he wants us to believe in him. You cannot reward someone accused of corruption to ocuupy the highest office of the land. Whether the professor is guilty or not, the onus is on him to proof himself. Put simply, if it walks like a duck, quack like a duck, is duck. Now Mr Francis is the new poster boy, advertising our country to the outside world. This professor is beyound reproach. Or so we are led to believe. But the reality of course, his track record under this Bio government tells a different story. With all the allegations of corruption made against him in the Africanist Press, which he strenuously denies, having an independent body to investigate those corruption allegations, will have put the suspicious at rest that he, and others were only in government for the money. Nothing to do with rebooting Sierra Leone to make it an attractive foreign investment destination.
Now that professor Francis, is in his position as a foreign Minister, and part of his brief to make Sierra Leone a competitive place for foreign investors , the question then becomes, which foreign investors will look at our country, and say, we have confidence in our new foreign minister that in the face of it, appears to be over qualified for the job, but his track record in helping revamp our country’s fortune is left much to be desired for. Maybe some scrupulous foreign investors will flood in, knowing they can bribe their way to the holders of the highest offices of the land, to sink their teeth into our natural resources, without paying their fair share to our country. That explains why we have never as a country enhance our natural resources to benefit every corner of Sierra Leone. Foreign investors have no repect for corrupt government officials. By appointmenting professor Francis as our main man to sell the wisdom of investing in Sierra Leone, will be seen by many as a joke taken to an other level.
O mercy mercy me! Our Sierra Leone has now jumped from the frying pan directly into the fire;The THIEF that once dressed himself in the silken robes of a CHIEF Has now become the new face of our struggling Sierra Leone. Geez! Alimamy the “Illustrious” Mr Yillah, Mr Abraham Jalloh and Special Agent Young4na, is this the best we can come up with? Are there no other options than this imposter that has been miking the system dry? Goodness gracious! The face of global Sierra Leone is a predatory disagreeable vulture that hunts down the weak innocent and poor. Folks,this is a sad day in our nations history, vagabonds that pretend to be religious monks are now representing our people on a global stage? Answer – with all the many degrees he has acquired and books he has written why hasn’t this imposter been able to accomplish anything of great value that the poor masses could directly benefit from?
Who has not seen a donkey carrying a huge pile of books on its back that still cannot read all the letters of the alphabet? (lol) I’m not impressed at all. Someone,anyone answer me; Will this individual be able to cope and hold his own among the brightest diplomats in the world? I don’t think so. Gentlemen,that office David Francis is currently holding is for men and women who are resourceful,innovative and pragmatic. I sincerely do not believe that this man will be able to enhance the image of our country on the world stage because he has a divisive, arrogant and impulsive personality.
It is a bad choice – Seriously,we need someone with people skills to represent us; anyone with the admirable attributes of a gentle dove or a harmless butterfly that can be reasoned and bargained with sensibly will certainly suit us just fine; Our struggling starving nation needs Nightingales that can sing sweet songs and gentle cooing doves that can woo investors to represent us abroad not talkative parrots and merciless predatory vultures that will scare them away.(lol)
Prof, you’re a real loyal and patriotic citizen of our Country Mama Salon. Your excellent performance in the office of the Chief Minister ever remain to be green and fresh in our minds. Go and change the narrative of our International cooperations and policies in the global platform. We’re proud of you and H.E Bio is very proud of you and your legacy at the office of the chief minister. We move.
I know better days have finally come because international connection that will bring development for women and children which he has passion for, will be fulfilled. His dream of helping his country to the top.
He was chief minister and Sierra Leonean women were and are being sold in the Kalfala slave system in Dubai and Lebanon. All he needed to do was set up proactive policing at the Airport. Please, let us stop sycophancy.
What,if any at all, are the real, direct, concrete dividends for the ordinary men, women and children in the villages, towns and cities across our beloved homeland, of our learned Professor’s three-year stint as Chief Minister, or rather, Co-President to justify this idealised profile of him; a profile that bears all the marks of hagiography? And what if the adulatory profile has a political agenda after all, designed to transform the Professor’s recent demotion into an elevation or promotion of sorts in order to assuage his wounded pride?
If that question has any merit at all, it is safe then to assume that Professor Francis is being presented (or is he presenting himself?) as the best thing that ever happened to our country. After all, hasn’t he restructured our ministries and other government departments, bringing sanity to the way they operate and thus improving optimally the entire machinery of governance? And having succeeded so spectacularly nationally in so short a time, it is only too natural for this illustrious son of the soil decked in international degrees and diplomas, to move on to greater, more challenging things. Such as taking the country to the heights of international fame and glory. All of a sudden, the Foreign Ministry. rather than the Chief Ministry, is the place to be; it is where important things now happen under the ever watchful eye and able leadership of the saviour of the land.
However, the fact remains that to many Sierra Leoneans, at home and abroad, the hype surrounding our learned Professor-turned-Statesman, is, to recast the immortal words of Shakespeare the Great, all sound and fury, signifying nothing.
You got it hundred percent correct Mr Yillah. When I read this article, and considering the learned man’s dreadful performance as the unconstitutional Chief Minister (or as you implied, the Co-President), there was only one word that illuminated vividly in mind: H-Y-P-E! It was a great disappointment to learn that all the superfluous relating to his academic credentials subconsciously failed to highlight his Advanced Diploma in Thieving (ADT).
Undoubtedly, Professor David Francis has been repositioned to transform Sierra Leone’s image as the smartest country for embezzlement in the world. With the guarantee of diplomatic immunity, even our diamonds are at stake. Word.
Someone with that amount of educational background, and real life experience of working both inside, and outside of Sierra Leone internationally, Professor Francis tick all the right boxes, to really use his educational achievements, and work experience to help make a massive difference, in improving the standard of living for all Sierra Leoneans. Just like his boss, the president, professor Francis has been a massive disappointment. There is no other way to put it. Now people can understand why Sierra Leoneans, like myself get hot under the colar at mere mention of his name. Bottom line is, majority of Sierra Leoneans expected him to know better, and stay squeaky clean above all the litany of corruption allegations that have rocked Bio’s government. He should have set the standards for all government ministers, and public officials to follow.
It just takes one determined individual politician to make a difference. Instead he opted for the least challenging options in the menu. Going for the automatic default, Corruption in high places. He just adopted the good old adage, if you can’t beat them, join them. His name should be whiter than white. None of the corruption cases, guilty or not should be against him. After all there is no smoke without fire. To aviod being muddled up, he should be transparent on everything he does for the country, and keep track of records of his interactions with the work he does for the state. Yes he never participated, or stood as a candidate for any public office. But when Bio tapped his shoulders, and asked him to come back to help him promote his one direction government programme, one can’t help, but conclude that Bio was doing it with the mistaken belief that he will bring with him, the experience and expert knowledge of how international organisations, and elected governments work together to improve the standard of living of its citizenry.
So far what we’ve have witnessed, professor Francis, and other experts that were brought in to redraw the way our government machinery works for the benefit of all, rather than the few, has been a complete waste of time. Professor Francis and others have gone off script and doing what they see fit for themselves, rather than the vast majority of Sierra Leoneans. To say he and others like him have been infected by the corruption bug that tend to hold our country’s development back is an understatement. Given the litany of corruption cases, that sometimes sounds like who is who, in the roll call of rogue government officials in the gallery wall of corruption, it is very difficult to see what real difference he will make to improve the image of Sierra Leone as our Foreign minister.
Mr Jalloh, the issue with Sierra Leones is the assumption that having a PHD with a string of qualifications, entitles a person to rule. In the developed world, such people are deemed to be consultants due to having a theoretical approach to issues. Therefore, Joe Biden for example is not a PHD holder, yet, he is the president of the U.S. Ditto Macron and Johnson. The question is practical experience. In the developed world, you do not come from nowhere and rule. You start as an MP, Congressman or Senator. Practical experience is the key. Academics should be consultants or in think tanks.
Totally agree with you Mr Leo Africanus. There has been great African leaders, that use their leadership skills, and their unwavering commitment to improve the lives of their people with out going through major American, or British Universities. Believe it, or not Trump is an educated man. So is Joe Biden. The difference between the two, is how they approach governance. Trump might be bombastic, and on your face type politician, but Biden come across as measured and wants to govern by reaching out to others. Bio might turn out to be our own Trump. There are other leaders probably, they never sat in a classroom, let alone aquire degrees that can put their knowledge to greater use to help their people. Men like Bia Bureh, a great leader that stood up against the British Colonial authorities, in protest against the Hut Tax. Mammy Yoko, and many more leaders that brought meaningful change to the lives of their people. We don’t need power point presentations, on how to stop corruption, and nepotism.
The only PHD you need to transform your country’s fortune, is to be committed to its development, and lifting its people out of porverty. Acquiring PHD so you can master the art of how to game the system, and drain the country’s resources for your own use, and your family members, is not only an unpatriotic thing to do, but it is out of sync with the reality of every day life of the citizens that elected you in the first place. You promised them, if they give you their vote. But once you get elected, you start to entertain the idea that after all, its your PHD that got you the position you are occupying in the pecking order of society.
To some extent you will say, it holds true, but don’t forget, its the people that voted you into that position. They were given the choice between political parties, example APC candidates, versus SLPP candidates.So if voters give you their vote, you are effectively signing a contract with them. More like your mobile phone, and Internet provider. They have to honour their contract, or you switch provider. Bio’s products are not only faulty, but they have never worked since day one. Now the frustrating part of it, we are tied in that contract until 2023. Despite our complaints Bio insist he is providing us with the best service. We have never had it so good. But right now we are left with a dead phone in our hands. And there is nothing we can do about it. There are many Sierra Leoneans out there, that are doing more for our country, than our elected members of Parliament, that are supposedly meant to represent our interests.
Welcome Mr. Minister to your new office at the ministry of foreign Affairs, Sierra Leone. May you stay long in good health in your office. Well organized and beautiful plans as set out to be followed by you. If those plans go through, it will be a good help for Sierra Leone in terms of international relationship and cooperation. May God grant you the wisdom to meet them. Thank you Mr. Minister and welcome once more.
If you want to be a praise singer. You can go to his house and dance. Take the presidential guard with you. You have said nothing constructive.
Leo, please allow Lahai to express his views freely without ‘put downs’. Evereyone here has the right to show their support for and express their opinion on the government’s performance or the opposition’s. Thank you.