Reuters has just reported that the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma is to blame for the unexpected departure of Michael von der Schulenburg, head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL). His tenure was officially scheduled to end on September 2012, so when he was recalled last week, it raised some eyebrows.
In 2008, Schulenburg advised the government against an inquest into the assasanitations that took place under the NPRC’s regime. This inquest could have seriously damaged the political aspirations of ex-junta leader and current opposition presidential candidate – Mr. Maada Bio. As a result some APC enthusiasts said that Schulenburg was pro the opposition SLPP.
When asked about Mr. Schulenburg’s replacement, Zannina Maestracci, a representative in the Office of Spokeperson for the UN Secretary-General stated that, no decision has been made to replace Mr. Schulenburg and that there was no new information available other than the released statement by the UN Secretary-General.
But now, a third party has shown the letter written by Schulenburg after he was recalled to Simon Akam, a journalist with reuters in Sierra Leone.
In the letter Schulenburg writes:
“There can be little doubt, that the decision by the President to force my early departure will be seen – rightly or wrongly – by virtually every Sierra Leonean as an effort to remove a potential obstacle to his re-election and as opening the door to manipulating the election outcome in his (President Koroma’s) favor”.
Schulenburg also added that the President Koroma should be questioned about the ” sudden flair of hostility towards” him before his departure.
Read Simon Akam’s full article
(with additional reporting by Dennis Kabbato)