His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, has condemned rumours being peddled by unscrupulous journalists and opposition supporters that his second term will see "Mendes and South-Easterners" sacked from their jobs. President Koroma spoke in an exclusive phone interview with this newspaper last night.
"Mendes and South-Easterners will continue to enjoy the fullest protection of my Government as will every single tribe and ethnic grouping in Sierra Leone. No Mende will be unfairly sacked and no South-Easterner will lose his job unfairly," President Koroma firmly assures.
The lead story and page 2 commentary inside local tabloid Global Times of January 8th 2013, allege that Mendes and South-Easterners are being subjected to what the tabloid says is "ethnic cleaning" from their places of employment.
The Global Times tabloid goes on to allege of "strong signals of the government’s determination to punish South/Easterners who voted solidly for the SLPP".
Well, President Koroma who is usually reticent on granting interviews to newspapers, contacted this newspaper last night to clear the air and send out a strong presidential message of confidence to all Mendes and South-Easterners that they had nothing to fear.
"The opposition has been at the same scaremongering propaganda for the past five years now but I got the votes of well over two hundred thousand South-Easterners in the last elections which means the opposition did not succeed to poison the minds of South-Easterners and Mendes against me," President Koroma pointed out.
"I am not a second ballot President. I won at the first ballot in a contest with nine presidential candidates. Such a first ballot victory in Sierra Leone can only happen if Mendes and South-Easterners voted for me in large numbers. I got 216,259 votes from the South and East because Mendes and South-Easterners appreciate my efforts as President," the Head of State proudly said.
"The actions I took in my first term and the actions I have continued to take in this term negate the propaganda that my Government is against South-Easterners and Mendes," President Koroma said.
"Every single area of the South-East is reflected in my Cabinet appointments. I was meticulous about ensuring this inclusiveness is reflected in my Cabinet appointments. I have a Government with a national character and not one created according to percentage of votes I received or voting patterns," the Head of State and Fountain of Honour & Justice told Awareness Times.
"I normally do not react to such false rumours but I am taking my time to handle this matter at this time, to first of all warn those who are peddling the hate rumours to stop immediately. Secondly, to reassure Mendes and South-Easterners to continue to count on my full protection just like every other tribe or ethnic group in this country can count on my full protection. No Mende or South-Easterner will be persecuted or prosecuted unfairly," the Head of State and leader of the ruling APC party insisted.
Meanwhile, Awareness Times contacted the Head of NaCSA who was alleged to have engaged on the "ethnic cleaning" of South-Easterners at NaCSA. Dr. Conton Sesay took his time to debunk the purported allegations of the four staff named by Global Times. Startling documentary evidence was shown to this newspaper which have totally cleared NaCSA of any such "ethnic cleaning". We are seeking to speak to the four persons named for their own direct comments before we run the side of NaCSA.
In a related development of reckless journalism, another even more serious, highly seditious and violence-inciting co-articles on the front page and page 6 of the same Global Times newspaper of January 8th 2013, is being closely studied for possible criminal action and seditious libel charges if the Independent Media Commission (IMC) fails to take necessary punitive action. The co-articles falsely allege of immoral compensation of a so-called "stepson" of a certain NEC official for supposedly rigging the presidential elections. This paper has learnt from security and legal experts that the totally false allegations in the co-articles of Global Times have grave implications for the peace and security of Sierra Leone.