During my half-century relationship with Sierra Leone I have steadfastly maintained a policy of not commenting on internal political issues or personally identifying with or endorsing candidates for political office. Therefore I was very disturbed to find a photograph of myself sitting next to Brigadier Julius Maada Bio in a SwiftSalone article yesterday titled, “Get To Know Your 2018 Political Candidates – Julius Maada Bio.”
This photograph was taken on a visit to Sierra Leone in 1994 after I had purchased an original Paramount Chief’s staff numbered “18” from an African art dealer in New York City. The staff had obviously been stolen during the war and I wanted to identify the chiefdom it had come from so that it could be returned to its rightful owner. Hindolo Trye, then Minister of Tourism, took me to see Captain Maada Bio who was Deputy Chairman of the NPRC to see if he could help identify the origin of the staff. He had no idea about the staff’s origin and sent me on to the Ministry of Local Affairs. The picture used in the SwitSalone article was taken during the short meeting in Captain Bio’s office.
I want to make it perfectly clear that publication of this photograph was done without my knowledge or permission. In no way is it an endorsement of Mr. Bio’s candidacy for President. I am not lending my name to any candidate in the upcoming Sierra Leone election. I sent a complaint about the picture to SwitSalone which they published yesterday.