• Short Summary

    Dr John Akar, Sierra Leone Ambassador to Washington since last October, yesterday (Thursday) sent an open telegram to Prime Minister Saika Stevens resigning his post because the "declaration of a Republic is illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, politically indefensible and ethically totally deceitful and dishonest".

  • Description

    1.
    GV Capitol Building Washington
    0.08

    2.
    SV & CU Dr Akar Sierra Leone Ambassador being interviewed
    2.11


    TRANSCRIPT: (SEQ. 2): REPORTER: "Dr Akar, its not every day that an Ambassador to the United States of America out of the blue suddenly resigns - why have you done so?



    DR AKAR: Because of very fundamental and crucial issues involved here. On the one, so-called President Saika Stevens, with indecent haste introduced a republican state which the people did not want, because it really gave him dictatorial powers which accepted. Secondly, he illegally invited foreign troops from Guinea, even though the pact - the military pact between Guinea and Sierra Leone had not been ratified by Parliament, and, even if it had been ratified, as indeed it was ratified after duress and after the troops were in Freetown, it was only for "external aggression only". And the result is the danger of turning Sierra Leone into a Communist state. Well our people are very religious, we believe in Christianity, we believe in Islam, we believe in our own indigenous faith, and we will not allow Saika Stevens to turn the country into a God-less, atheistic, Communist state.



    REPORTER: Do you feel that your resignation will have any effect what-soever, or is it merely a futile gesture?



    DR AKAR: Oh, dear, that is an appeal to my modesty really. I would say quieta honestly that there are lots of people in Sierra Leone who will be profoundly touched by this. Because people there are muzzled because of fear, because of the Communist bayonets that are pointing at them by Guinean troops. But deep down in the heart of every Sierra Leonian is a kind of built-in mechanism which is repulsed by any authoritarian or dictatorial excesses. And, if someone like me, at my level, registers my protest as I did in open cablegram to the Prime Minister, therefore it is now common news in Freetown. If I could do this, then I am sure that it will be some comfort to them, at least to know that there is a Sierra Leonian who has the guts to say to him "Look, you've gone too far - no further please".




    Initials SGM/2302 SGM/2319


    T'RECORDING

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Dr John Akar, Sierra Leone Ambassador to Washington since last October, yesterday (Thursday) sent an open telegram to Prime Minister Saika Stevens resigning his post because the "declaration of a Republic is illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, politically indefensible and ethically totally deceitful and dishonest".

    Dr Akar, is a poet and musician - he composed the Sierra Leone National Anthem - and a former director of his country's Broadcasting System, former Director of Hotels and Tourism, founder of the National Dance Troupe and Head of the National Theatre Guild. His wife is American and four of his six daughters are United States citizens. Prior to his appointment to the Washington post, he was head of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Secretariat in London.

    Following his resignation, Dr Akar explained his reasons for doing so to a reporter in Washington:

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVADUGQJ4FP0AJ42QM7PFBXYX8EP
    Media URN:
    VLVADUGQJ4FP0AJ42QM7PFBXYX8EP
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    23/04/1971
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:11:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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