Salone News

Freetown Mayor overwhelmed by corruption allegations

14 March 2014 at 08:36 | 2071 views

By Our Correspondent, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Franklyn Bode Gibson (photo), Freetown’s mild-mannered Mayor is currently overwhelmed by allegations of corruption coming from both electronic and print media. In fact most public officials in the country and some private business people are day in and day out accused of corruption, thievery and many other crimes by the country’s media.

Some of the accusations may or may not be backed by evidence (either to protect sources or otherwise), leading to court action and the arrest and detention of some journalists. This has created a headache for Sierra Leone’s Independent Media Commission which has been trying to keep journalists out of trouble and the Ministry of Information whose main role is to present a good image of the government and to counteract what it considers false reports about government and government officials.

But what is somewhat unique about Mayor Bode Gibson is that he seldom addresses or reacts to reports about him in the media as most government and private individuals do in Sierra Leone but has rather maintained a stony silence, thus leading to speculations that he is indeed guilty of the allegations. In Sierra Leone silence means acceptance or guilt. Indeed Mayor Gibson has built a solid reputation for refusing to talk to local media probably out of utter disdain or a very tight schedule. A mistake, it seems, considering the present situation.

Two prominent Sierra Leone newspapers, Sierra Leone News Hunters and Sierra Express Media have so far published the most detailed allegations against the mayor from theft of land to theft of funds, general mismanagement and other crimes.Sierra Express Media states that the mayor is yet to account for 900 million Leones allegedly used by the mayor to construct tin shacks for Freetown’s street traders that were later demolished after President Koroma visited the site and condemned the structures, an incident many people here see as a slap in the face for the mayor.

However the Mayor has an ally in Titus Boye-Thompson a media strategist who has stoutly defended the mayor in a robust article titled Malicious Propaganda Diminishes Media Self-Regulation. In his piece, which can be read by clicking here, Titus says the mayor is a man of high moral integrity being maligned by unscrupulous journalists.

Many people the Patriotic Vanguard spoke to here however insist the mayor has some explaining to do, preferably in a press conference in which all sections of the media should be invited for his own good and for the image of the city.

According to a Wikipedia entry, Sam Franklyn Gibson commonly known as Bode Gibson (born October 15, 1952 is) a Sierra Leonean politician and the current mayor of Freetown. He is a veteran politician and a prominent member of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC).

Before he was elected mayor of Freetown, Bode Gibson served as an elected councillor in the Freetown City Council municipality, representing Wilberforce. He is a teacher by profession.

Bode Gibson was elected mayor of Freetown with 68.56% of the vote, defeating his main opponent Abraham Sesay-Jones of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, who took 28.75% in the 2012 Sierra Leone Local Councils Elections. He was sworn in as the Mayor of Freetown on December 20, 2012. His inauguration ceremony as Mayor of Freetown was attended by some senior Sierra Leonean politicians, including Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma.