Salone News

Open letter to Yvonne Aki-Sawyer, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone

28 March 2021 at 21:13 | 1680 views

Your Worship ,

Since you now know your anti-Mende rant caught on audio is a matter many Sierra Leoneans (including my humble Krio self here) find disconcerting, you can now clarify to the Sierra Leonean people and the Mende people specifically what precisely you meant to say that you now claim was edited and misrepresented.

You cannot brush a matter of this gravity aside with a cryptic apology note. I am also not sure what you meant by people taking things out of context. Madam Mayor, we heard your voice on audio making specific statements regarding a specific ethnic group. So it’s one of two things: 1) It’s either you want to tell us that it was not your voice on the audio, or 2) There is a portion of the tape that further clarifies your statements that was edited out. If the latter is the case, we would appreciate it if you now tell us clearly what you were trying to say that was edited out.

Because quite frankly, what we heard on the audio are statements suggesting a clear employment bias against a particular ethnic group. We are not aware of any Freetown City Council legislation that prohibits the employment of certain ethnic groups. This means, Madam Mayor, you are on audio promoting what is illegal. Considering that you are the head of that institution, it is not a matter easily rectified by you writing a non-specific, perfunctory apology note. You were heard quite clearly, Madam Mayor, promoting employment discrimination. The same employment discrimination on the basis of ethnic group that some of us publicly criticize the SLPP for. The FCC should not be above scrutiny for discriminatory employment practices. Again, there is no where in the laws of Sierra Leone that states FCC employment is restricted to a specific ethnic group.

I believe if we were a country serious about employment discrimination, such utterances from the Mayor should prompt an in depth review of all employees hired at Freetown City Council since you took office, to determine whether more qualified candidates that were Temne, Mende, Fula, Susu etc. were passed over due to their ethnic group.

So Madam Mayor, we will kindly appreciate it if you treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves and provide a more coherent and comprehensive clarification of what precisely you were trying to say about "Buwah Bisieh" people.

This leaked audio of ethnic rants by you could also suggest there is an entrenched culture of ethnic bigotry in Freetown City Council. I would recommend commencement of a ethnic diversity and sensitivity training to be put in place with immediate effect, as part and parcel of the Freetown City Council’s operational policies, because these Buwah Bisieh people are our fellow Sierra Leoneans and yes, they do deserve to be employed at FCC if they are qualified!

Yours sincerely,

Larry John

Photo: Yvonne Aki-Sawyer, mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone