Open letter to the President
H.E President Bio,
I greet you well as you grapple with the daily burden of state-building. As we start our 61st year of flag independence, LET ME FROM THE OUTSET STATE HERE THAT I AM NOT LOOKING FOR A JOB, LEST MY INTENTION FOR WRITING THIS LETTER IS DISTORTED. I feel obliged as a Sierra Leonean to share my views and attempt to proffer some solutions out of love for our people and country after three years of your five-year term of office on your performance or lack thereof.
When there was some delay before the announcement of the 2018 Presidential election result, I wrote an open letter to my former Parliamentary colleague and friend, erstwhile President Ernest Koroma. I dare not claim that my letter was the influencer that got the former President to concede to losing the elections. However, I worked with him in the Business Community as a member of the Sierra Leone Indigenous Business Association (SLIBA) in 1991. And spent five years together with the former President and others as leaders of the Parliament of Sierra Leone from 2002 to 2007 (while he served as leader of the Opposition, I as the Deputy Whip of Government Business) can vouch that he is not only a gentleman but affable! Notwithstanding, my love for our people and country did not preclude me from constructively criticizing him, as I will do with you as and when necessary.
However, I wanted to share a few observations with you that could save our people from some of the agonies of the grinding poverty that they have been subjected to for over sixty years by successive failed administrations as follows:
1. Now that you have initiated dialogue by holding public meetings, it is necessary that you also start to listen to the people as dialogue is a two-way route.
2. The people need leadership and will support you if you provide it and make your remaining two years fun. Therefore, most importantly, make every conscious effort to eschew TRIBALISM by all means!
3. Try by all means to empower the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate and prosecute every perpetrator of corruption irrespective of political, tribal, or regional affiliation. Otherwise, none of your good intentions will succeed. You may want to say that that is what the ACC is currently doing. But that is not what is being seen by the people. Therefore, let the ACC be perceived to be doing its job without let or hindrance.
4. Let your Ministry of Planning make known the Development plan to all MDA’s after incorporating their input. Above all, let it be known to the populace. As long as it targets their needs, especially their immediate (short term) needs, to start with, they will own it.
5. Endeavor to speak to the people more regularly or engage competent and effective Spokespersons.
6. I have said before that Transparency Sierra Leone (TSL) supports the Cyber Crime Bill as long as it does not infringe on Free Speech and the Media, but that vulgar and unproductive excess be sanctioned!
7. By all means, forget about the accumulation of ill-gotten wealth. As long as you serve the people well, GOD will guarantee your retirement in dignity, respect, and prosperity, and most importantly, in good health. I assure you, “ The earth is the LORD’S and the fulness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein” Ps 1:1 (KJV).
8. Ensure that Public Funds are judiciously used to get off the yoke of Loans and so-called Grants. In life, there is no free offer. Anytime this law is bridged, watch out for the intention!
9. You will always have contentions but let it be that when you take bold steps to implement a pro-people COMPREHENSIVE development plan, only those who fear progress should oppose, while you enjoy the support of Thinkers. For only BOLD and CREATIVE IDEAS have changed the world!
10. Last but very importantly, be very careful of Sycophants! It is the highest form of corruption! Some people around you are surviving from your failure. And want you to continue doing the same thing to secure their positions of privilege at the expense of the people. They will question my authority to write you this sincere letter and will tell you to ignore him. But let me ask Mr. President, do you think all the sycophants to the former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo spent time with him in prison at the Hague? Only strong character leaders yield to sincere advice. I have done my bit as a Sierra Leonean wanting the best for my People and Country.
Finally, let me reiterate, I am not asking for a job!
GOD BLESS YOU, Mr. President.
Hon. Victor Reider.