By Mohamed Massaquoi
Ms. Martha Beatrice Kamara nee Sallu has been overwhelmingly endorsed as head of the National Islamic Mission in Sierra Leone. In a move that observers have described as unprecedented, the daughter of the demised founder of the Mission, Alhaji Mohamed Brima Sallu, was the popular choice when the Education Secretary, head teachers, principals, and board of directors of the Mission met at the mission’s headquarters at Dakia Street in Kenema.
During the meeting, which was also attended by family members and other relatives at home and from abroad, Education Secretary of the Mission, Mannah Lahai, revealed that the Mission has been grappling with numerous challenges, including administrative encumbrances and infighting among factions within the family, since the demise of the founder.
He said that despite those challenges, the Mission has registered many positive impacts, not least in raising the educational standard of children attending various schools administered by the Mission across the country, including Freetown. He said it was significant that Ms. Kamara was taking over the mantle of leadership of the Mission at such a critical era in their history.
“Alhaji Sallu was an honourable man who devoted all of his time and resources to promote education, especially Islamic education. It is actually good that the entire family has agreed that his daughter takes care of the Mission. Even before his death, the late Pa Sallu appointed Madam Kamara to be his deputy. Since she was appointed in that position, she worked very well with all heads of schools at various levels. I am sure her reappointment this time to lead the Mission will create a positive impact on the activities of the Mission,” he said and assured of good working relationship between and among the heads of schools and the newly appointed head of Mission.
In her response, Ms. Kamara thanked all and sundry for bestowing on her the mantle of leadership of the Mission, but expressed disappointed over the conspicuous absence of the Principal of Islamic Secondary School, Kenema, Mohamed Vaasanvoeh Konneh at the ceremony. She acknowledged though that the Konneh family has contributed immensely toward to the Mission’s growth and development.
She said that since the will of her late father was read, she had made frantic efforts to reconcile all those who contributed in one way or the other toward the development of the Mission, with some difficulty, especially from the Konneh family.
She recalled that before the Mission was established in 1972, her late father deprived the family of a lot of facilities just so that he could establish the Mission, adding that his effort has bore fruit as the Mission has educated thousands of Sierra Leoneans.
“I am appealing to you all to come together and help this Mission grow. We don’t want the vision of the late man to die naturally; if there are differences between or among us, we must be able to resolve them for the benefit of the Mission. I used to be a teacher and administrator, so I know how to work with colleagues for the benefit of all. I will work with the Education Secretary and all other authorities of this Mission,” she promised.