By: Titus Boye-Thompson
In what has become an unflattering attempt to boride the Mayor of Freetown for standing up for her city and the political party that swept her to office, the Minister of Local Government has issued a letter of censure against Mayor Aki Sawyerr and informed her of an internal Inquiry that would be launched to examine the evidence against her that her comments may have threatened the good order, peace and security of the Country.
What is interesting about the line of action taken against the Mayor is the focus on what is usually acceptable language among the people of Freetown but which said commentary seem to have been lost on the Minister.
The Mayor’s comments that have caused so much angst came out of a closed door meeting she was having with purportedly party stalwarts, mainly from the Freetown City Council. In this vein, she addressed a particular comment to one Mr. Kemokai who it has since transpired has been a staff member foisted upon the Mayor without going through the proper method for employing such an official. Mayor Aki Sawyerr was concerned that Mr Kemokai was not a team player and has exhibited a tribal entitlement posture towards her as if he can operate against her wishes.
A clearer understanding of Mayor Aki Sawyer’s quip against Mr Kemokai had emerged when leaked documents and other events highlighted by exchange of correspondence has shown that Mr Kemokai has been recalcitrant in his attitude towards the Mayor and that this insubordination had to some extent been aided and abetted by the Chief Administrator at the Freetown City Council.
In a twist to this tale, the letter from the Ministry of Local Government to institute an inquiry though not surprising was followed shortly by an admission by no less a person than His Excellency the President in a radio interview that he had chosen to work with those whose work ethic he had prior knowledge of and when this admission is tested against his chosen team since assuming office, over 80% of the people who had been appointed by his administration have roots in the Mende tribe or have come from the South East of the country. Observers have commented on this admission as a vindication of Mayor Aki Sawyerr’s stand against what she intimated as being swamped by people from a single tribe when she is heading a very much diverse and tribally cosmopolitan city. She had made clear that while 9 out of 12 senior staff at the FCC are from the South East and mainly Mende by tribe not one of the Councillors at the Freetown City Council come from that tribe or region.
Political observers see this pressure against the Mayor as a plot to unseat a popular and hardworking politician who was directly voted in by the people of this city. They note that she has developed a notable international stature and enjoys the full confidence of our international partners to such an extent that her programs are being directly funded and co-managed by external donors.
A key political analyst writing on social media labeled this a battle against the APC and that the Mayor is being used as proxy. In the event, a call has gone out to APC loyalists to support the Party by rallying round the Mayor to see off this threat that she is up against.