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United Nations Schulenburg teams with Sierra Leone Ruling Party to Snub Former President's Memoir Launch
By Abdul Karim (Fonti) Kabia
Mar 4, 2011, 18:48
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The memoir of a former President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, who is also one of only seven (7) honoured retired U.N. civil servants in the world, has been formally launched at an auspicious occasion held at the British Council Hall, Tower Hill in Freetown though with the conspicuous and inexplicable absence of the United Nations representative Michael von der Schulenburg. The former President, Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, is ranked with Mr. Kofi A. Annan, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Madam Aung San Suu Kyi, Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar and Mr. Martti Ahtisaari as the seven (7) Honorary Lifetime Members of the Association of Former International Civil Servants of the United Nations.

The launch of the autobiography of Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, which took place on Thursday 3rd March 2011, attracted distinguished personalities from various walks of life, especially erstwhile government functionaries and flag-bearer aspirants of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) but it also saw some significant absences.

The absence of ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) government functionaries at the ceremony was glaring; an occurrence that was murmured among the audience as not only disrespectful to the former president but also unpatriotic, divisive and not good for national cohesion. Also embarrassingly absent was the man who had been billed on the Invitation Cards to launch the book, United Nations Secretary-Generals Representative, Michael von der Schulenburg whom sources indicate decided to inexplicably stay away from the event after giving his word that he would do the launching ceremony. However other international diplomats graced the event.

Absence of APC and United Nations functionaries notwithstanding, the ceremony chaired by Dr. Sama Banya (aka Puawui), ended successfully on a very high note with all the pomp and fanfare a book launch of an ex-president deserves.

The Book which was bought like hot cakes yesterday

In his statement, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah said the book largely tells the remarkable story of his courage and the resilience of the people of Sierra Leone in the face of horrendous atrocities committed during the countrys decade-long conflict.

He said through relentless efforts and resilience of Sierra Leoneans, backed by the goodwill of friends of Sierra Leone, his administration largely succeeded in its goals to end the decade-long conflict that had devastated the country and create workable state and governance institutions, among others.

Kabbah pointed out that his motivation to author the book was to recall for posterity what his administration and himself as a person did to develop Sierra Leone and its people during his eleven years in office.

He expressed satisfaction that his government largely achieved it goals, though it was impossible to achieve 100% success of his dreams. He however noted that posterity will take cognizance of the circumstances surrounding his stewardship.

At the time I assumed power, most important state institutions were not functional, the ex-president said, while pointing out that his administration spent considerable resources and energy on remedial efforts.

Most of my administrations resources were spent on humanitarian assistance, rehabilitation, reconstruction and other consequences of the war, he explained, adding: I am however proud that I left behind peace, a more secured and politically stable country.

Tejan Kabbah is also pleased that Sierra Leone is now open for business, which, according to him, was as a result of the peace in the land.

Peace has paved the way for foreign investors and tourists to throng into the country and invest without fear, Kabbah pointed out, adding: Peace has also accelerated the process of reconciliation.

He said the book launch was part of what he called his modest input to Sierra Leone as the country commemorates it 50th independence anniversary.

The book review was done by Dr. Morrie Manyeh. The book was formally launched by a former minister of government, Madam Theresa Koroma, who eloquently stood in at the last minute when it was clear the United Nations representative would not be keeping to his word by gracing the occasion.

Hard copies of the book are available for sale at reasonable prices at No.14 Sanders Street in Freetown from the EPP Book Service Publishers.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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