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Foreign Minister reacts from Saudi Arabia

3 December 2009 at 02:22 | 422 views

Press Statement

My attention has been drawn to a series of publications in two Sierra Leonean local tabloids, namely; The Standard Times and Global Times Newspapers, alleging several cases of misconduct from my person and office as Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

I would like to state categorically and in no uncertain terms that none of these allegations is true of me and that since my appointment as minister in the government of His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, I have done nothing unexpected of my office. The allegation that I have surrounded the presidency with personnel loyal to me, with a view to enhancing my political ambition, so as to challenge the President at the 2012 general elections is not only untrue, but a calculated effort by the writers and their cohorts to sow seeds of distrust and distraction within the government. The authors and their payers forget that our government and more especially the ruling All Peoples Congress party only would have a national convention in 2013, a year after the 2012 general elections.

In these calculated attempts to distract my attention from being focused in working assiduously for my people and the government of Sierra Leone, and having vowed to tarnish my hard earned image and reputation, the authors, Sorie Fofanah of Global Times, Philip Neville of Standard Times and a so-called Sahr Saio (who claims to be writing from the UK) have accused me of not only travelling many times (on official assignments), but that I take credit for the successes of President Koroma’s government.

Either they do not fully and really understand my function, role and position as the Foreign Minister of our country, or they and their mentors of hate and jealousy are bent on seeing our beloved country remain isolated from the friendship of our international friends and business partners.

It is not true that I travel just for the sake of it, neither does their allegation of graft and wrong doing by my office have any iota of truth. I do not have a house bought for me or by me in the UK, nor has the Finance Ministry funded any personal travel, save for the interest of our country as Foreign Minister.

I want to state that since accepting President Koroma’s offer to serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on 29th September, 2007 and sworn in on 19th October, 2007 I have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with him and have come to appreciate his unique and exceptional leadership style as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

With my varying background, vast experience and exposure, I have come to the conclusion that President Koroma is the best hope for Sierra Leone if the country is to be transformed into a peaceful, politically stable and economically viable country.

I therefore have found out that it is an honour and privilege to have been given the opportunity to work and serve him and thus I made the commitment to do whatever is humanly possible for him to succeed in his vision for Sierra Leone, which I share with him and whole heartedly believe in.

Our excellent working relationship is due primarily to his personality and character as a person, his dedication and commitment as a leader that not only understands the challenges that his country faces and the problems of the people, but also appreciates and has been able to clearly articulate the aspirations of all Sierra Leoneans in the bilateral, multilateral and the broader international fora I have accompanied him, as we cris-cross the globe to try and rebuild the image of Sierra Leone, solicit and mobilize support for his huge agenda and break new grounds in bringing on board new and non- traditional partner-friends and donors for Sierra Leone .

I have also come to admire his desire to work and serve all Sierra Leoneans irrespective of political aspirations, ethnic differences, religious denomination and gender. This knowledge of his character and personality and my appreciation of the qualities he has and my admiration for him has led me to work extremely hard to ensure that he succeeds.

I want to reassure all my family, friends, relations and the broader Sierra Leone population at home and abroad that my commitment to the success of President Koroma as president of the Republic of Sierra Leone and my loyalty to him is total and unshakable. I will continue to serve him faithfully, diligently to the best of my ability and work towards his re-election for a second term to enable him finish his Agenda and achieve his dream to give us a Sierra Leone we can all be proud of.

I wish to take this opportunity to especially thank my husband and my son for their words of comfort and for their steadfastness and support to me. To my numerous friends and relations at home and abroad for their interest and concern shown and to the general Sierra Leone public I say thank you for understanding and having faith in me . Failure is not an option we can all afford, forward we shall move and backward never.

In lieu of the allegations raised in their various publications, I want to state that I have done nothing wrong and that these allegations are baseless and incorrect and to further state that as long as I have the confidence, trust and support of my boss and President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, I will continue to serve as mandated. I therefore urge all and sundry to ignore such allegations and treat as one of such coming from those not ready to move our beloved country forward, as well as desperate persons in a society of lesser opportunities.

Finally, I wish to thank the almighty God for making it possible for me to be in this Holy Land during this period of great trial and challenge. This has given me the strength to withstand the vicious attacks, the wisdom to see and appreciate them for what they are, and the Grace and heart to forgive those involved in it.
I have prayed fervently for the wellbeing and good health of the president so that God can continue to bless and guard him, give him the required additional wisdom and strength and for all Sierra Leoneans to see him, understand him and appreciate him as I do.

God bless our president, our country and all Sierra Leoneans.

By Mrs. Haja Zainab Hawa Bangura

Minister for Foreign affairs and International Cooperation

Jeddah Conference Palace

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Photo: Foreign minister Zainab Bangura(standing) and president Koroma(left) on a trip to the US. File photo.