Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer is a good woman. She is brilliant, patriotic and hardworking. With degrees from the London School of Economics and a zeal to transform the City of Freetown into a bastion of cleanliness, health and growth in Sierra Leone, Aki-Sawyer’s style of leadership is more compatible with the forward-looking aspirations of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) than with the dour, dreary and self-effacing tendencies of the All Peoples Congress (APC) party.
Since assuming office in April this year, Aki-Sawyer has been a fixture at cleaning sites on the once a month cleaning day in Freetown. But does the mayor of the capital city have to do this? Well, the answer may well be yes, given that the Freetown City Council (FCC) is full of corrupt and kleptomaniacally-inclined Tolongbo leftovers.
Word is that Tolongbo grandees at the FCC are doing everything in their power to undermine the mayor. Interestingly, although president Julius Maada Bio and Aki-Sawyer belong to different political parties, they share the same vision for Sierra Leone. That ebullient vision is anchored on the reawakening of the Athens of West Africa and the assumption once more of the country’s leadership role in West African affairs.
Tellingly, it is the shared vision of the two political heavyweights and the mayor’s unequivocal cooperation with the SLPP government that Tolongbo grandees consider a fundamental betrayal of their party. Moreover, they are Flabbergasted at seeing an all-out assault on their graft-inclined source of livelihood by a resilient mayor. Graft and rent-seeking activities prevailed like a pestilence at the FCC during the APC years. But these, by all accounts, may now have come to a screeching halt.
Correspondingly, the altercation between the mayor and the deputy minister of local government, Phillip Tondoneh, last Saturday, may not have come at a more opportune time for the mayor’s foes. Expectedly, ecstatic Tolongbo grandees are milking the unfortunate incident for all it is worth.
Thus, as the political atmosphere at the FCC continues to be putrid, it appears that the precarious nexus between the mayor and the APC High Command at Old Railway Line in Freetown may have been furthered strained. Would that lead to a rejection of the mayor when she applies for the APC party symbol in 2023? Only time will tell.
If Aki-Sawyer is sidelined by the APC, her political career must not come to a halt. President Bio should accommodate the exuberant mayor in 2023. Progressive Sierra Leoneans must not be left to languish in the crook-infested hell hole of the APC. There must be a special place in heaven for those who honestly discharge their public duties in Sierra Leone.