Hector Reginald Sylvanus Bultman is presently the only surviving member of the United Front delegation who went to the United Kingdom in 1960 and negotiated the independence of our great nation.
The group which went to the famous constitutional talks at Lancaster House in 1960 were known as the ‘founding fathers’.
Now 80 years old, but still looking strong and energetic Pa Bultman spends his time reading and watching the days go by. He reminisced with Awoko on 47 years of Independence, expressing his disappointment with the pace of development.
“Since our return from Lancaster House it is 47 years – more or less the political climate has changed. When we achieved independence it was under the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), despite the fact that it was a United Front delegation that went to ask for the independence. Now coming back home under the SLPP, to my disappointment, I did not see much development.”
The reign of Sir Albert Margai
“Then it was during the reign of Sir Milton Margai when Sir Albert Margai took over and things dropped again. Things changed not for the good of this country; there was too much of tribalism, nepotism, favoritism and the like. I remember during the days of Sir Albert Margai when he was Prime Minister of this country things were most difficult during his tenure in office this country almost went bankrupt, in fact bankrupt. There were departments that were working full force after a month these departments end up getting two week’s pay, they work in shift that happened in this country when the country was more or less bankrupt. Farmers were not cared for their goods were credited from them.”
The reign of Siaka Stevens
“Until the APC came and Siaka Stevens took over, things changed we saw a little bit of development and improvement politically there was unity. Siaka Stevens brought about a unified system of government called one party or whatever you like; thing were moving because we were moving then as a united front for the good of Sierra Leone.”
The reign of Joseph Saidu Momoh
“Before President Stevens died he handed to Joseph Saidu Momoh. Joseph Saidu Momoh I will say his government paid little attention to the development of the country, he did not follow his predecessor the late Siaka Stevens as a result he himself acknowledged the fact that he has failed the nation to my disappointment that was not what I had envisaged in fighting for independence.”
The reign of Ahmed Tejan Kabbah
“Now the SLPP under the Kabbah regime; we went of course through the military interregnum and that kind of thing I don’t count those years because with the soldiers they attempted to say they overthrow Momoh because of corruption but when they came we saw worst corruption all the military regimes they always overthrow governments in the name of corruption and when they come they become worst; they are more corrupt than the corruption they condemned, until President Kabbah of the SLPP took over, again I was disappointed because I remember in the first instance when President Kabbah took over I did not see much from him. We were expecting much from him but again he was a disappointment. His party I will say misdirected him – misled him. He almost became like Albert Margai. Because then tribalism was most rift in the SLPP and corruption of course was at its highest rate alarming, so coming over to a new government now, we look forward to see development all for the good of this country.
President Ernest Bai Koroma
“President Koroma has started well. The APC under President Koroma is doing well. President Koroma came with his own vision and we are beginning to see fruits of all that he has attempted all that he has promised before the general election and until now, which I believe that if he continues on that trend, or APC as a party continue in those trends there would be much good for Sierra Leone as a whole. President Koroma is also trying as Siaka Stevens did to unify the country, he is trying to reconcile with his political enemies. It takes two to behave like he is behaving e.g. during the runoff election campaign he was viciously attacked in Kailahun, Bo, Daru and elsewhere – to see that man coming back as Head of State within a short while and calling on those who actually wanted to get rid of him and try to reconcile, that’s the kind of example we want in Sierra Leone.”
“I’m most happy about the change, I for one I campaigned against the SLPP government, because of their practices, I was never with the SLPP, I campaigned against the SLPP as an APC man, I’m very happy about the change, with this change I look forward to see a better Sierra Leone under the leadership of President Ernest Bai Koroma.”
Not many Patriots
“Since independence there has not been unity, we have very very few patriots in Sierra Leone the people who you will say loves the country are indeed very few. Selfishness, greed, we have all the talents, we have educated men and women in Sierra Leone of sound mind, but once they are placed in a position of trust they just care for themselves, the same nepotism.”
“In terms of achievement I’m not trying to exonerate, it was only during the government of the APC that this country saw improvement in infrastructural development. The developments were many there were jobs, there was cohesion among the people, people showed love for one another.”
Hopes and Aspirations
“All along my hopes and aspirations were to see Sierra Leone advance like other advancing countries, especially in our sub-region. I like to see Sierra Leone advance, going far like Ghana. Ghana has made a lot of strides we know we cannot compare ourselves as to what is happening in Ghana in terms of development and Nigeria as well – apart from their own political ups and downs, Nigeria is forging ahead as an independent sovereign state, so I look forward to see Sierra Leone marching on in achieving national status.”
Old Pa Bultman was a soldier, a civil servant, a politician and a diplomat.
He served in the Colonial army, then worked as an internal auditor at the Public Works Department (PWD), before entering politics in 1957. He was a member of the United Progressive Party (UPP) where as Secretary General he was elected to be a member of the United Front Delegation and to attend the constitutional talks.
Pa Bultman later joined the Movement for Election before Independence under the leadership of the late Siaka Stevens and later became a founding member of the All Peoples Congress (APC).
He has served as Ambassador in Liberia, London as Deputy High Commissioner and High Commissioner to The Gambia.