‘Telling It As It Was: The Career of a Sierra Leonean Woman in the Public Service’


November 30, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

A book titled: ‘Telling It As It Was: the career of a Sierra Leonean woman in the public service’ which gave a compelling analysis of how the country’s bureaucracy was rendered dysfunctional in the 1970s and 1980s by powerful interests and corruption was unveiled last Friday (November 25) at the British Council..

The book, written by Umu Kultumie Tejan-Jalloh- one of two individuals who won the maiden Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) National Integrity award in 2010 also shed great light on the abuse of power and corruption in the recruitment, confirmation, training, promotion and management of staff.

During the unveiling ceremony, the author- madam Tejan-Jalloh stated that the idea to write her memoir came to mind in 1995 after she was fired from her job as Marketing Manager of the Sierra Leone State Lottery Company limited for doing the right thing.

She said while looking for a job, she was also busy writing articles for newspapers on issues that she was passionate  about, ranging from women’s empowerment and culture, adding that in 1997 while as a refugee, she started writing the book in earnest and completed the manuscript in 2000.

“When I got a new job at the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) in January 2001, I shelved the script and focused on my new job. I decided that the manuscript will wait for a later time because making a living cannot wait. When my contract with NaCSA was terminated in 2006, I took up the manuscript again and revised it,” she said.

According to her, the book is being promoted by some people as one on public policy even though that was not her motive when she set out to write it some years back.

She added that she was not an academic or an intellectual and so her objective then was to share with readers her career experiences working in both public and private institutions.

“The book is all about public policy. The failures and successes of it run throughout the book. I was motivated to write the book for several reasons, among which are patriotism and love for my country. It was those two that led me to do a comparative analysis about the lottery industry in the United Kingdom, United States of America and Sierra Leone,” she said.

Madam Tejan-Jalloh maintained that she concluded in her memoir that the previous government should not have issued a license in 2007 to a private company to operate its own lottery for the good of few shareholders instead of the public good, and that the present government has been in power for 9 years but the status quo continues.

She added that readers would also found detailed analysis of humanitarian assistance relating to the protection of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons in the book.

While launching the book, Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, Dr. Ernest Surrur said: “I have read a lot of books but the truth in this book is unparalleled. It is a must read and I recommended it to all those who want development for Sierra Leone.”