March 16, 2018
Hon. Victor Reider
3417 Toledo Terrace, Apt L 2
Hyattsville, MD, 20782
His Excellency, Ernest Bai. Koroma
President of the Republic of Sierra Leone
Re: Open Letter to the President of Sierra Leone
It is against this dreadful politics that I have decided to address this letter to you. I hope to remind you of your obligation as the fountain of honor to speak out against such an unpardonable attempt of some disgruntled and ill-gotten Sierra Leoneans to create a twenty-first century Rwanda which could make fun of the 1994 genocide in that country if we do not halt this trend swiftly.
I greet you in the name of the Lord and the People of Sierra Leone. Let me first thank you for your service to our people and country during your two terms in office. As you know, you and I have worked and shared remarkable periods together; two of which I will mention here to recall your memory. We worked together with others in the Sierra Leone Indigenous Business Association (SLIBA) in the early 1990’s before the ousting of the ‘original’ All Peoples Congress (APC) party of the late President Siaka Stevens by the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) of Retired Captain Valentine Strasser in April 1992.We then continued to interact until we again found ourselves representing our people albeit in different political parties as members of the Parliament of Sierra Leone from 2002 to 2007 before you assumed the office of the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
Mr. President, I venture to say that throughout those times, you and I had an excellent relationship based on mutual respect and service to our people. Not surprising, some of my colleagues in the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) which I was serving as National Publicity Secretary rightfully observed that I wasn’t as forceful in criticizing you as I was with the rest of the APC party and its functionaries. Notwithstanding, at your assumption of office, I left Sierra Leone the day the National Electoral Commission (NEC) announced the Presidential runoff results in September 2007.
I took this decision based on my conviction that your party, the APC, is a bad omen for our country. Not because of you or the other operatives whose ambition is to enrich themselves at the expense of the state and its people, but because the APC party has always put individual interest above national interest. That was how the late President Siaka Stevens compensated barely literate compatriots with state governance. This culture has continued unabated. I remember telling you that you found yourself in the wrong milieu. In the company of people who did not share your interest in serving the people of Sierra Leone. Unfortunately, I was wrong! I misjudged you by my standards. But that is not the purpose of this open letter. We shall deal with that at the right time. However, among other things, I did tell Sierra Leoneans in my incessant exposes of your party’s ill intentions for the country during the campaign leading to the elections of 2007 that I wasn’t going to spend a day under APC party’s governance. I am sure they now understand why.
Mr. President, I must admit, I would have lost a bet with you regarding the way you were going to govern our people as president of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Apart from the socioeconomic and political setbacks that our country has suffered during your tenure, the most disheartened is your reintroduction of “the strong man mentality” centralized leadership. It is manifested in your insatiable appetite to violet our constitution at will with the notable example of your sacking of the democratically elected Vice President Alhaji Samsumana with impunity. And to impose your choice of presidential candidate on the APC party. Even though that is for your party to address but it shows your penchant to violate laws, rules, and regulations. These two incidences exposed your innate dictatorial tendencies. May I remind you that this was one of the flaws of the late President Stevens that eventually destroyed every state institution in our country during the APC party’s first inning in governance from 1968 to 1992. I also want to remind you that that was the cause of the eleven years rebel war that our people suffered.
You are now also presiding over another of the tendencies of Siaka Stevens: Tribalism. President Stevens survived his disastrous rule of our country by firstly claiming to be a Limba and a northerner only after he left the SLPP and was invited to lead the APC that predominantly comprised of some prominent northerners who felt marginalized by the tribal politics perpetrated by the late SLPP Prime Minister of Sierra Leone, Sir. Albert Margai. The latter initiated tribal politics in Sierra Leone. Mr. Stevens, however, took the retrogressive brand of politics to another level. He promoted the Limba ethnic group at the expense of especially the Temnes as he sought to eliminate those he considered a threat to his regime in the likes of Dr. Mohamed Sorie Fornah and Mr. Ibrahim Tarqi, etc. which brings me to the essence of this open letter.
Your Excellency, March 7, 2018, elections have come and gone with a verdict for a presidential runoff election pending. Unfortunately, immediately after the results were announced there has been an upsurge of tribal sentiments invariably perpetrated by members of your party who apparently think they could substitute the failure of governance with tribal divide and rule. It is against this dreadful politics that I have decided to address this letter to you. I hope to remind you of your obligation as the fountain of honor to speak out against such an unpardonable attempt of some disgruntled and ill-gotten Sierra Leoneans to create a twenty-first century Rwanda which could make fun of the 1994 genocide in that country if we do not halt this trend swiftly. You cannot excuse yourself by being silent, nor will your silence exonerate you from any crime against humanity that may result from what is fast becoming the order of the day, to the extent that some individuals could openly set one tribe against another using both the electronic and social media.
I am not writing to you as a member of any political party. Instead, I am writing as one who could sacrifice anything for his country. I urge you to unambiguously speak out against the use of tribal sentiments in the elections’ campaigns leading to March 27. 2018 irrespective of the party to which the individuals belong who are perpetrating same.
Let me conclude by reminding you also that there have been several Presidents who have passed without taking along with them whatever material benefits they accrued while in power but left in the memories of humanity how best or how poorly they governed their people. While some like Nelson Mandela became immortal, Joseph Mobutu’s name invokes shame and pain for most Africans especially those from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Are you surprised then that African countries are called names by some world leaders? Remember also that the late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah peacefully handed over to you and lived and enjoyed his remaining days in respect and peace in Sierra Leone. I am sure you would want the same. Now let me tell how you can have that: Conduct free, fair, and fearless runoff elections, and our people whom I know, will forgive you and guarantee you a peaceful retirement. I can assure you we will advocate for that. On the contrary, you will break the culture of having our past leaders continuing to live with us in peace. I wish you a turbulent free conduct of the runoff elections.
God bless the People of Sierra Leone.
Hon. Victor Reider.
The United Nations Secretary-General
The African Union Secretary General
The ECOWAS Secretary-General
The United States Undersecretary of State for African Affairs
The British Foreign Secretary
The Chinese Foreign Minister.
Hon. Victor Reider was a member of the Sierra Leone Parliament from 2002 – 2007. You can reach him at email@example.com