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As President Koroma Plans to Visit Germany, His Leadership Claims Record in Berlin

As President Koroma Plans to Visit Germany, His Leadership Claims Record in Berlin

The Sierra Leonean community in Berlin, Germany met Sunday 30th January 2011 with His Excellency Ambassador Jongopie Stevens and his Embassy staff at Karl-Max-Strasse in Berlin.  The purpose of the meeting was to streamline plans ahead of the 50th Independence Anniversary celebration and reception for his Excellency President Earnest Bai Koroma, who is expected in German on the 14th instant.  (Photo: Deacon Alimamy L. Sesay)

Amongst the attendants were many Sierra Leonean dignitaries resident in the German capital.  One of the attendants, who introduced himself as Mr. Mohamed Sama, told his audience that he had lived more than 40 years in Germany but was neither a registered member nor a contributing member of the Sierra Leonean Community. He however disclosed that he was inspired by the charismatic leadership of Ambassador Jongopie Stevens, who he said, is working relentlessly to reunite Sierra Leoneans in Germany after long period of disunity. “This is my first show up at your meetings, but I shall soon legitimize my membership to the Union by paying registration and membership fees” Mr. Sama promised.

Others said they weren’t only inspired by Ambassador Stevens’ method of leadership but they were also moved by what they called “positive developments” evident at home under Presidnet Koroma’s leadership.

Given the fact that the above praise singers were raising their voices in Ambassador Jongopie Stevens’ presence which means they might be either yearning for political consideration or personal recognition , Critique Echo decided to go out in search of an objective opinion from a critical voice. 

Critique Echo’s Othman Sheriff popped into Mr. Alimamy L. Sesay’s office after investigation revealed that he (Mr. Sesay) was an old victim of APC and had been enemy of the APC symbol for years.  Mr. Sesay was exiled by late President Siaka Stevens after he proved defiant to his dictatorship norms, and sought asylum in the EU region where he had studied and is now living and working in Berlin as Deacon of the United Brethren in Christ. Mr. Seasy is also the seating chairman of the Sierra Leonean Community in Berlin and Brandenburg. 

We produce below Othman Sheriff’s (CEN) exclusive interview with Deacon Alimamy L. Sesay (AS) on his opinion about Ambassador Jongopie Stevens method of representation and President Koroma’s APC leadership in general:

CEN: Good afternoon Mr. Sesay and welcome to Critique Echo.

AS: It is my Pleasure. Critique Echo is warmly welcome into this office.

CEN: You re serving multiple purposes at the moment: Deacon of the United Brethren in Christ Church, Chairman/President of the Sierra Leonean Community in Berlin and Brandenburg and the breadwinner of your family in Germany and Africa; how are you coping with such responsibilities?

AS:  Well, I love challenges in life. But I am pretty sure, if one could take care of a family accordingly, there is nothing in life that one cannot master. I have always wanted to work and serve people diligently than allowing people to serve me. As I am a servant of the Highest, I also have to serve my church – the family of Believers – spiritually, that is why I am a Deacon of the UBC. Likewise, I know if I could serve spiritually, I should also have the wisdom to serve my community socially and politically. In addition to that, would you allow me to inform you that the Sierra Leone Community in Berlin and Brandenburg know fully well my capability, experience and potentials to lead them at any given time? It is with this notion that I agreed to take up the chairmanship of the community for a period of two years.

CEN: to be candid enough, Mr. Sesay, you are one of the highest Sierra Leonean religious figures I have ever met in Germany and that makes you extraordinary to Critique Echo.  However, you will agree with me that your position as President of the Sierra Leonean community in Berlin and Brandenburg makes you second to the Embassy as the political figure head of Sierra Leoneans living in this part of the world.  Mr. Sesay, are you affiliated with any political camp in Sierra Leone?

AS: I honourably appreciate you pulling my legs (laugh).  Definitely, I cannot be higher than the Pastor of the Sierra Leone congregation, Rev. Pastor Peter Mansaray, whom you have also met on certain events. He is spiritually higher than a Deacon.  Well, there is no reasonable reason to compare the President/Chairman of a local association of Sierra Leoneans to any Ambassador. Though I see the position itself to incubate a diaspora political power, it is not measurable to that of an ambassador. As President of the community, during my legislative period of two years, it is very incumbent to maintain neutrality and remain non-partisan as it is boldly embedded in our constitution.  However, individually, I am a political animal who envisages change, progress and development in my mother land Sierra Leone.  For this reason, I would affiliate myself and support whosoever makes Sierra Leone a worthy place to live in. I have to admit that the recent developments in Sierra Leone are very envious to appreciate. 

CEN: I heard your subjects lavishing praises on Ambassador Stevens during the last general meeting, but you remained somehow dormant.

AS: well, as the Chairman of the meeting, I have to allow my subjects to voice out their opinions about issues under discussion.

CEN: I could see your table is beehive of activities, have you ever been able to make a courtesy call at the embassy or Ambassadors?

AS: Well, as you yourself could see on my table, I have a lot to do. My activities are immense. After I was voted in as Chairman of the Community, I made a courtesy call to the Embassy to introduce my members of the executive, which I nick-named the “Dream Team”.  Subjectively as Chairman, as well as collectively as a team, I have a very good working relationship with the Embassy.

CEN: During the last general meeting on Sunday I heard many attendants lavishing praises on Ambassador Jongopie Stevens describing his style of leadership as charismatic and extraordinary, what can you say about that? 

AS: Well, the meeting last Sunday was well attended, we were extremely happy that the Ambassador personally honoured our invitation to attend the meeting. On the praises showered upon him by members, was not a surprise to me, but I am not in place and cannot comment on individual emotions and expressions.

CEN: What makes Ambassador Stevens’ leadership style different from previous ambassadors?

AS:  Personally, I have lived over thirty good years in Germany, but I had never been rapport with any of the previous Ambassadors except Ambassador Stevens.  So in my subjective view, his style of leadership is worth praising.

CEN: what do you have to say about seeing the Sierra Leonean Embassy in Germany be relocated from Bonn to the administrative capital Berlin?

AS: It is the most reasonable thing the Sierra Leone Foreign Ministry has ever done to uplift the image of Sierra Leone in this part of the world. Since over twenty odd years, all other embassies had moved to Berlin, the administrative capital of the Federal Republic of Germany.  The Sierra Leone Embassy was the only one that remained in Bonn, almost forgotten in the world of civilization. It was very pathetic and shameful for every Sierra Leonean living in Germany. Some of us were very bitter about it but we had no power to change the situation. Since the relocation of the Embassy to Berlin, we have started seeing Sierra Leone standing high on a competitive realm. 

CEN: you must have visited the previous premises of the Sierra Leonean embassy in Bonn, how can you compare it with the current premises in Berlin?

AS: To be candid, I am only conversant with the Berlin premises, and they match to every diplomatic comfort.

CEN: I meant to understand that President Earnest Bai Koroma is expected in Germany on the 14th this month. He is coming directly to the German government though, but in your capacity as Chairman of the Sierra Leonean community in Berlin and Brandenburg, what have you put in place for his reception?

AS: After a very stressful meeting with Federal officials on the 14th and part of the 15th February 2011, we the Sierra Leoneans in Germany would have the opportunity to welcome our President on the 15th at about 17:00 Hours. We are planning a very surprising cultural event to take away some of the protocol stress he might have incurred during the official aspect of his visit. Then we would have the opportunity to ask him some questions relating to his “Agenda for Change”.    

CEN: you may agree with me that most African leaders are visiting Europe with caps in hands in search of economic aids, so what did the Embassy tell you about President Koroma’s visit? That he is also coming to Germany like one of his colleagues (beggars), or an invited guest? 

AS:  In most cases, it is the case. While most African presidents, beg to be invited to Germany for a visit, President   Ernest Koroma is officially invited by the Federal Government for a state visit. If there is any other intention of his visit, it has not been disclosed in detail by the Embassy.

CEN: As a Sierra Leonean citizen living in Germany, do you think President Koroma’s visit to this country might be an opportunity for your Sierra Leonean compatriots at home?

AS: According to latest developments in the political landscape of Sierra Leone, I am sure his visit to Germany could bring good fruits to Sierra Leone. I want to inform you that Germany is the biggest donor of aid to Sierra Leone within the European Union. I personally would be very pleased if President Ernest Koroma could win the hearts of the Germans. It is good for Sierra Leone to have Germany as a serious business partner in Europe.

CEN: If you were President Koroma what would be the main issues on your agenda of discussion with the German authorities?

AS: I think important among all should be strengthening of the bilateral relationship between Sierra Leone and Germany thus enhancing a good trade relationship between the two countries.

CEN: what is your feeling or reaction about the relocation of the German embassy from Freetown to Conakry and later Accra, Ghana?

AS: Sierra Leoneans are really suffering because of this relocation. Even Conakry which is nearer to Freetown was difficult to reach; the transfer to Ghana has worsened the situation.

CEN: President Koroma’s visit to Germany is a glaring sign of healthy bilateral relationship between the two countries; would you like him to seize the opportunity to ask for possible reactivation of German consular activities in Freetown?

AS: I am sure this is going to be part of his discussion with the Federal government.

CEN:  Finally, this one is bitter but very important for our readers: Mr. Sesay, I meant to understand that you were forced into exile during the 70s by the then APC administration led by late President Siaka Stevens. Today, you re lavishing praises on Ambassador Jongopie Stevens who is one of President Stevens’ heirs and is appointed under that same APC symbol though under different leadership, to represent Sierra Leone in the part of the world you had sought refuge about 30 years ago, is this not ironical? You must have seen something different, convincing about the current APC administration, isn’t it?

AS: It is indeed a bitter pill to swallow. But three decades are a very long time. I think after quite a very long time, one has to start thinking patriotically. My prayers and critiques all these years had been to experience one day a leader that could awaken our beloved country out of its demise. As a political economist, I can see signs of development in the country I left long time ago.  I am not only a pragmatist, am also an optimist. That country is moving in the right direction; therefore, even if one is disgruntled or not, one has to praise where praise is due.  The praises should be dedicated to the incumbent leadership regardless of the party. I think President Ernest Koroma has re-fixed Sierra Leone on the world map after years of disappearance. This shall make every Sierra Leonean start thinking positively on how to contribute to the development of our Land.  

CEN: Mr. Sesay, thank you very much for granting Critique Echo this interview.

AS:  The pleasure is always on my side. I hope we shall continue working together.

Othman Sheriff

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