His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio,
It is with great joy that I welcome the news of your victory. The people of Sierra Leone have chosen you to lead them for the next five years. Despite tremendous pressure and attempts to silence it, democracy has prevailed and I would like to congratulate you and your people for your commendable commitment to peace, justice and democracy.
As an activist, a panafrican and a strong advocate of democracy, I was in your country to witness the electoral process. After spending several weeks in Sierra Leone, I have seen and learned a lot and would like to share some of my remarks with you. I regard you very highly as not only a leader but an alumnus of the SIS as we both share the same alma matter: American university. From our educational institution, we have been thought to stand for social justice and equality. Unfortunately, these two principles are quasi-inexistent in Sierra Leone. It is somewhat understandable that after so many years of conflicts, multiple natural disasters and pandemics, Sierra Leone has endured far more than most African nations. However, please permit me to say and I believe you already are aware that the current socio-political state of your beloved country is caused not just by nature but by selfish persons who have placed their interests above that of their people.
During your campaign, you promised to tackle corruption if your people entrust you with the presidential seat. They have listened to your plea and have given you a chance to do the magic. I call it magic because the kind of corruption we Africans are subjected to in our countries requires extraordinary efforts to curtail it. The level of selfishness and soulnessness that characterize leaders all over this continent is ineffable. In so many countries, people fought hard for change only to be oppressed even more by the new government. Please Mr President, do not give in to cronies that may try to divert you from your mission and always put your people first.
The people of Sierra Leone are living in extreme poverty. Education, sanitation and the healthcare system are extremely precarious. While the people starve and survive on meager revenues, a small minority is living in an insolent luxury. Your country has been blessed by nature in such way that some of us Africans from other nations are envious of its endowment. In spite of all that, I am sorry to say I do not envy the misery the people of Sierra Leone are living in.
There is nothing enjoyable about living in a country where the most basic resource of all, clean water is hard to find. I find nothing beautiful about people lining up around gutters to cut pipes just to find few pints of water. I find nothing remarkable about hundreds of corps being buried under the mudslides sites and families living amid dead bodies and children playing on the filed with all the health risks that are associated with it. I find nothing respectable about electricity being granted to people as a nighttime reward. And I definitely find nothing commendable about the extreme level of illiteracy and the poor quality of education offered to the few that are lucky to be schooled.
My intention is not to demean your country and even less to disrespect your people; far from that. My own country Togo has failed to make me proud ever since I was born because we are being ruled by creatures even more wicked and more egotistic than the ones that have emptied the coffers of Sierra Leone. As an activist and a panafrican, I owe the truth to myself and to my people and I consider your people brothers and sisters because we all belong to this very blessed continent.
Dear Mister President, do not disappoint us, African Youths who advocate for change and have been standing against despotic and kleptocratic governments all over the continent. Keep in mind that by failing Sierra Leone, you are failing Africa and your generation as a whole. We have suffered too much injustice in the hands of selfish leaders and each time we feel the wind of change blowing in an African country, we are overly excited and hopeful. May you be the leader we all aspire to become in our individual nations. May you eradicate corruption, rebuild the educational system, invest in youths, empower women, reduce poverty and please, deal mercilessly with the wicked souls who have ruined the life of millions of Sierra Leoneans by embezzling their resources. May your compassion discriminate the corrupts, and may you govern in accordance with the laws of your nation while ensuring that the abusive ones implemented by despots be replaced by the ones that will consolidate democracy.
As an activist, I personally request that you work towards the repeal of the Sedition Libel Act which previous governments have used to silence loquacious people like myself. Sierra Leonean activists and journalists should feel free to appraise your government without fear of retribution. Freedom of speech is a Human Right and it is your duty to ensure it is fully respected.
Once again congratulations His Excellency Maada Bio and may the people of Sierra Leone never regret electing you as their president. May our ancestors guide and protect you for you to uplift Sierra Leone and Africa. Finally, may we all be there to support you in the process and see Sierra Leone, the diamond of Africa regain its beauty and clarity.
Farida Bemba Nabourema