Freetown Mayor Receives huge Solidarity Support

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…SLPP fires back

In a strongly worded press release the Women`s Congress of the main opposition APC party has backed Yvonne Aki Sawyer, the elected Mayor of Freetown over a leaked audio where she is alleged to utter unsavoury tribal remarks against the Mende ethnic tribe.

The women`s wing described the act of ascribing the audio to the Mayor of Freetown as a deliberate attempt by ill-motivated individuals to pressurise her to relinquishing her mayoral office and to further score political points.

Below is the press release from the APC party women`s wing.

Press Release

Freetown Sierra Leone 30th March 2021: The APC Women’s Congress has followed with keen interest on the issue surrounding a leaked audio in which the Mayor of the Freetown Municipality, Her Worship Yvonne Akie-Sawyer, in a private conversation allegedly made disparaging remarks against a certain ethnic group which some sections of the public believes amounted to tribal bigotry.

The APC Women’s Congress is also aware of the desperate and deliberate efforts by the SLPP Government, its surrogate Civil Society and Media organizations to score political goals against an APC – elected Mayor who from all indications has continued to exhibit exemplary leadership in spite of the several challenges she faces from a hostile and intolerant central government.

As the female wing of the main opposition party, our position is as follows:

That out of 12 top management staff at the Freetown City Council, 9 are Mendes whom the Mayor has had an excellent working relationship with. There has been no instance in which these staff members have been subjected to any form of discrimination by the Mayor. Therefore, the allegations of tribal bigotry cannot hold for an individual of her calibre.

That the recruitment and posting of the two staff members in question as well as several others posted countrywide by the Ministry of Local Government was roundly rejected by all 22 Local councils as the move was believed to be procedural and contravenes the Local Government Act of 2002.

That, we condemn in the strongest terms any move to harass, intimidate and force the resignation of Mayor Yvonne Akie-Sawyer by agents of the SLPP led government. It is untrue that the distorted statement from the mayor “will have far reaching ramifications on peace and national cohesion.”

That, addressing the issue of tribalism must be holistic and not selective. We cannot afford to window dress a problem that permeates our society.  

In conclusion, we wish to reiterate that there are far bigger issues of tribalism and nepotism that this government must concern itself with especially in the public service than making red meat of a closed door conversation.

Such political mischief is mundane and unacceptable in the 21st Century.

KRIO DESCENDANTS UNION

Press Statement

Date: 31st March 2021

The general membership of the Krio Descendants Union has been following with interest the leaked audios relating to Her Worship the Mayor Yvonne Aki-Swayer of Freetown City Council.

Our Union believes that all Sierra Leoneans should have equal access to job opportunities regardless of ethnic association. We view the content of the leaked audios by Her Worship the Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr as unfortunate and does not represent the members of the Krio Descendants Union.

We also want to state that members of the Krio community do not hold any ill-feelings towards people of the mende ethnic group contrary to several claims in the wake of the leaked audios. For decades, we have witnessed intermarriages between Krios and Mendes.

Therefore, while we welcome the apology by Her Worship the Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer, we would like to express our strong condemnation for her comments inferring tribal bigotry and ethnic discrimination in a workplace.

We also appeal for calm from political parties and civil society organisations as any overreaction will have the tendency of undermining national cohesion. Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer must now take the responsibility to promote diversity in a workplace and create equal access to job opportunities at the Freetown City Council for all Sierra Leoneans based on competence and not ethnicity.

Signed

Secretary General

…SLPP fires back

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