Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr’s Incompetence Sends Hundreds of Freetonians out of Job

With Abysmal Failure of Hilton Hotel & Mape Projects…

By Fatmata Jengbe

Ex-Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki Sawyerr who was in office from 2018 to 2023, is very eloquent and sounds very convincing but is however being questioned by members of the general public about her sweet promises to the people of Freetown and why she failed to deliver on these sweet promises.

Concerns raised by the public include the concession to redevelop the Cape Sierra Hotel in June 2010. This hotel is in a prime location at Aberdeen, Freetown that was put out for tender. IDEA (UK), of which Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr was the Investment Promotion and Marketing Director, won the bid but since that time, work on the hotel is yet to be completed

It was believed that with Yvonne Aki Sawyerr at IDEA (UK), they will execute the bid to redevelop the Cape Sierra Hotel as it is of strategic importance to the Mape Project because branded hotel operators, such as Hilton Worldwide, prefer to be established in the capital city before extending their operations to other locations.

Most people would have loved to have respected the ex-Mayor of the Freetown Municipality,  Yvonne Aki Sawyerr whose husband Keith Aki Sawyerr woefully failed as Director of Cape Sierra Hotel at Aberdeen in Freetown to the point that the edifice is still uncompleted, never mind the millions of dollars on it.

But then, one can expect that behind every man (Failure or successful) there is a woman. In the same vein, Yvonne Aki Sawyerr who was elected Mayor of Freetown in 2018, has throughout her tenure demonstrated that she is not only incompetent and incapable but also shown that she is bereft of ideas on developing a city in need of change.

In June 2010, a concession to redevelop the Cape Sierra Hotel, a hotel in a prime location in Aberdeen, Freetown was put out for tender and the IDEA (UK) won the bid to redevelop the hotel under the Hilton Worldwide Project after recognizing the clear and considerable synergies that would exist between the Cape Sierra Hotel and the Mape Project which was an exciting and innovative proposal to create a new , high quality town and associated resort closely linked to the nearby international airport and across the river from Freetown that provides a special opportunity to create a new centrally planned and administered settlement, independent of existing urban areas.

It was expected that both projects would greatly assist the development of the Sierra Leone economy.  Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr was the Investment Promotion and Marketing Director for the IDEA (UK) and she led the project with specific goals:

IDEA (UK)’s bid to redevelop the Cape Sierra Hotel would be of strategic importance to the Mape Project because branded hotel operators, such as Hilton Worldwide, prefer to be established in the capital city before extending their operations to other locations.

The Cape Sierra Hotel project would benefit from the knowledge acquired in the preparation of the Mape Project, use of the same management systems and the realization of cost savings evident from bulk purchases.

The enhanced reputation of Sierra Leone through a revamped Cape Sierra would help attract residents, businesses and tourists to Mape.

IDEA (UK) therefore decided to bid for the redevelopment of the Cape Sierra Hotel, identified and secured Hilton Worldwide as the hotel operator for the new Cape Sierra Hotel. The supposedly new Cape Sierra Hilton was to operate under the flagship Hilton brand and with 200 rooms and Construction was scheduled to begin in October 2010 and the hotel completed in 2011.

Yvonne demolished the famous Cape Sierra Hotel that gave jobs to hundreds of Freetonians for a failed project. Until today, the Hilton Project is a ghost with hundreds of Freetonians languishing in poverty for over a decade because of the incompetence and poor managerial skills of their former Mayor – Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr.

On the other hand, the Mape Project was an exciting and innovative proposal to create a new, high quality town and associated coastal resort. Closely linked to the nearby international airport and across the river from Freetown, it provided a special opportunity to create a new centrally planned and administered settlement, independent of existing urban areas. It sought to achieve a high standard of development and quality of life that was to appeal to Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad as well as tourists and related businesses. The associated inward investment spin-off benefits were to make the project have a significant positive impact on existing local communities and that was to strengthen and enrich the wider economy. Konakridee and Mape are found in the heart of Kaffu Bullom chiefdom in the Port Loko district of Sierra Leone. Konakridee is situated 7 miles north of Lungi International Airport and Mape is 4.5 miles North East of the airport. The focus of Konakridee was leisure and entertainment – a beautiful resort environment with a variety of recreational activities. A wide range of different restaurants, bars, places of entertainment and features will all be set in a verdant and carefully tended landscape.

The Konakridee Beach Resort included: Beach hotel (incl. villas and chalets) with wellness centre, spas and gymnasium, Leisure and recreational facilities (beaches, squash/tennis courts, swimming pools, marina and water sports centre), Residential accommodation (bungalows and villas) and Commercial accommodation (shops, restaurants, bars and night clubs)

The town of Mape was to contain a rich tapestry of recreational parkland and waterways. The central lake was to be a defining feature and greenways will extend alongside the tributaries, providing an attractive series of inter-linked spaces for recreational enjoyment. An 18- hole golf course and driving range was located in the north of the site as well as a hotel with a range of associated culinary experiences and sporting activities including tennis and swimming.

The vibrant town centre was to provide a range of opportunities to work or invest with high quality commercial spaces.

Mape Town was to provide a modern and desirable living experience and will include the following range of facilities: Hotel(s) & Conference Centre, Residential accommodation (houses, villas and apartments), Leisure and recreational Facilities (18 hole golf course, swimming pools, cinema/theatre, gymnasium, spa, sauna), Commercial accommodation (shops, offices and workshops) and Civic and community facilities (school, hospital, heritage centre, places of worship and emergency services)

The Mape Project was to deliver reliable and modern infrastructure and utility services that were to also benefit the existing local communities within the region. These were: New or upgraded road network linking the town, coastal resort and Lungi Airport, Dedicated and reliable sources(s) of electrical power, Potable water supply from groundwater source and Eco friendly and sustainable sewerage and sanitation system. Until today, the Mape Project is nowhere to be seen or completed under the leadership of Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr who is seeking reelection after shattering families and plunging them into perpetual sufferings by rendering them jobless.

What beats the imagination of most people is the fact that, Yvonne Aki Sawyerr since she left office is preoccupied and making serious efforts at acting as if she is still Mayor, going around carrying herself and posturing as if any serious and right-thinking Sierra Leonean is taking her prank of a deposed Mayor as serious.

She should have actually reclined herself to charitable deeds and church service, rather than her continuous ridiculous efforts pretending she is still Mayor of Freetown and is hoping for re-election, forgetting the fact that she woefully failed the people of Freetown by not fulfilling her many promises.

One last joke she landed on the people of Freetown is the one about bringing cable car transport to the capital city. Most people do not even know or remember whether Yvonne Aki Sawyerr mentioned cable car or car cable. Which is which?

Yvonne Aki Sawyerr with all her sincerity and belligerence ended up paying back a colossal two hundred million, eight hundred and forty-two thousand, three hundred and thirty-three Leones (Le 200,842,333) to the ACC in order to escape conviction. With her intelligence and political clout why did she put herself in such a lowly state?

A social commentator asked why is it that Yvonne Aki Sawyerr is on record for allegedly using this exorbitant amount in the form of travelling expenses (air tickets and per diem) on one Manja Isata Kargbo, who was Head of the Yvonne Aki Sawyerr’s unauthorized Mayor’s Delivery Unit (MDU). Though it is reported that this Unit has been dismantled, the said Manja Isata Kargbo was never an employee of the FCC. But why did Yvonne Aki Sawyerr on her own auspice form this Unit without seeking clearance from the central government?

One of Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr’s development projects was the faecal sludge plant in Kingtom and Kolleh Town communities respectively. These projects are supposed to improve health and save the lives of people in these communities.

But why are the people in these communities saying their situation has not changed despite the fine talk and huge promise from Yvonne Aki-Sawyer?

Then in her bid to transform Freetown into a more inclusive city, which will be easily accessible and visibly attractive to investors, tourists and residents, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr informed the nation that she had engaged international Consultants, Markus Hagspiel, a Ropeway/Cable Car expert, Teferra Sileshi of GFA Heat and members of the American Institute of Architects in April 2023 to strategize and plan well as Freetown is about to institute its first Cable Car.

However, the general public wants to know why the Cable Car Project feasibility study although launched way back in June 2022 by Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr is still sitting on the ground.

On assumption of office, Yvonne Aki Sawyerr promised also that she would build more community health centres. But why is it that, five years after making that promise, people are still asking: “Where are the community health centres you promised?

In her wisdom, market dues were doubled on 1st January 2019. This according to Yvonne Sawyer was necessary in order to enable FCC to take responsibility for the daily sweeping of all markets, roll out public toilets in the markets and eventually repair and construct stores in markets as required. But market women are now asking the ex-mayor: Where are the facilities you promised and what did you do with the money?

It is said that history repeats itself; but in the case of the Ex-Mayor Yvonne Aki Sawyer, it would be disastrous and dreadful if she were to come back as Mayor according to many Sierra Leoneans that are desperate and willing to push her as far away as possible from the Freetown Mayor’s seat.


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