By: Christian Conteh
- Freetown is owned by the Creoles.
- Creoles born in Freetown cannot contest for any political office anywhere in the provinces.
Verdict: Claim 1 is False, and Claim 2 is Misleading.
A viral video featuring Madam Nanette Thomas, former Minister of Political and Public Affairs from 2016 to 2018, has propagated the claim that Freetown is exclusively owned by the Creoles.
“Freeton na Creole get am, Freeton noto for Fullah man noto for Limba man, leh den go upline leh den go fet dae, leh den lef freeton gie den krio dem” [Directly transcribed from the video].
In English translation: “Freetown is owned by the Creoles, Freetown is not for Fullah’s or Limba’s, let them go to the provinces and contest elections there, let them leave Freetown to the Creoles”
Furthermore, she suggests that as a Creole born in Freetown, she cannot contest for any political office in the provinces. However, these claims have been examined and found to be false and misleading.
It is crucial to understand the history of Freetown to ascertain the validity of these claims. The city was established in 1787 as a settlement for freed slaves, who became known as the Creoles. They relocated to Sierra Leone with the objective of establishing a colony where they could experience freedom and autonomy. While the Creoles have made significant contributions to the development of Freetown, it is inaccurate to assert that they own the city. Freetown has always been a diverse hub, encompassing various ethnicities and cultures, including the indigenous Temne, Limba, and Mende populations, among others.
Regarding land ownership, it should be noted that the Creoles did not purchase the land they inhabited in Freetown. The initial settlement was established on land provided by local Temne and Limba chiefs, who sought alliances with the British. These settlers were granted the land to establish a colony and were expected to engage in trade and promote regional development.
In reference to Claim 2, it is true that Creoles cannot contest for certain political offices in the provinces. However, it is misleading to suggest that a Creole born in Freetown is barred from contesting any political office anywhere in the provinces. For instance, Creoles cannot become paramount chiefs as the chieftaincy institution revolves around ruling houses, and candidates must be indigenous to specific localities.
Methodology: To verify these claims, the SLAJ/NDI SuperNewsRoom reached out to Madam Thomas, who confirmed her presence in the viral video but claimed her words were taken out of context.
Lucien Momoh, the Director of Training and Outreach at the Political Parties Regulation Commission, was also contacted. He confirmed that there is no law preventing any qualified Sierra Leonean from contesting as a Member of Parliament (MP) in any district across the country.
According to Mr. Momoh, if a political party or an independent candidate nominates a Creole for election in the provinces as an MP, there are no legal impediments to their candidacy.
Conclusion: Based on the historical background of Freetown and the clarification provided by the body responsible for registering and regulating political parties, it can be confirmed that Freetown is not owned by the Creoles, and a Creole born in Freetown can contest for certain political offices in the provinces.
This fact-checked article is a product of the SLAJ/NDI SuperNewsRoom on Combating Disinformation in Sierra Leone’s 2023 electoral cycle. The project is supported by Global Affairs Canada to enable citizens have access to credible and accurate information during the elections.
The SuperNewsRoom is powered by Africell SL.
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