Tinga Seisay

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Tinga Seisay
Consul General to the United States
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Ahmed Tejan Kabbah
Succeeded by C.O. Bright
Deputy Commissioner of Police
Preceded by Bambay Kamara
Succeeded by Bambay Kamara
Personal details
Born (1928-08-22) August 22, 1928 (age 93)
Mokorewoh, Moyamba, Sierra Leone
Nationality Sierra Leonean
Occupation Diplomat, Chairman, HIC
Religion Christianity

Samuel Tinga Khendekha Seisay (born 22 August 1928) is a Sierra Leonean pro-democracy activist and diplomat.[1]

Early life

Born to a prominent political family, Seisay was educated at the prestigious St. Edward's Secondary School. He began his career as a law enforcement officer after graduating from the Police Training School at Hastings. After several years with the Sierra Leonean police force, Seisay departed for Europe to continue his studies. A gifted student, Seisay was accepted at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden where he read engineering and took his bachelor's degree. While he was a student, Seisay had a life changing meeting with Martin Luther King in Stockholm which deepened his interest in nonviolent activism.

Seisay earned a master's degree in political science at Long Island University. He is a PhD candidate at The New School in New York.[1][2]

Diplomatic career

In 1967, Seisay founded the Sierra Leone Ex-Police Officers Association. He was elected as their representative to the Civilian Rule Committee, that was going to restore civilian rule in Sierra after the military government of Andrew Juxon-Smith. In 1968, Juxon Smith's government was overthrown in the Sergeants' Coup. Seisay was then appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Sierra Leonean Police Force by the ruling junta. Seisay proved to be most efficient in this post especially considering the difficult political climate and skillfully helped manage the transition.

Seisay was initially tapped to serve as Sierra Leone's Ambassador to Egypt but was instead appointed Consul General to the United States. He was stationed in New York where he served for six years.[3][4] He worked to secure educational scholarships for Sierra Leonean students in various fields, primarily education.[1]

Under his leadership, the Sierra Leone Consulate became financially self-sufficient. Seisay also served as Dean of the Consular Corps.[1]

He sat on the Fifth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly for several years.[1][5][6]

Fight for democracy

After Steven's declared a one-party state, Seisay's cousin John Amadu Bangura staged an unsuccessful military coup. Bangura was executed for treason. Seisay became an opponent of the Stevens government.[2] He left his post as Consul General and began to protest the decline of democracy in Sierra Leone.[7] He publicly criticized the Steven's regime in the New York Times.[7]

Political exile

Seisay then went into self-imposed political exile, from which he advocated non-violent resistance.[2] Among his allies were his older brother Solomon G. Seisay, director of prisons, and former Prime Minister Albert Margai until Margai's death in 1980.[2] Seisay aided Sierra Leoneans who fled from persecution to get political asylum in the United States. In 1987, Seisay's political exile ended when Joseph Saidu Momoh became president of Sierra Leone.

Later career and private life

Seisay became an executive in the private sector. Based in the United States, he continuing to work internationally and remained devoted to the cause of re-establishing democracy in Sierra Leone. In the early 1960s, he married a member of the Swedish aristocracy and they raised their family in Westchester County, New York.

He has lectured at several universities, including Dartmouth, and published a number of articles and op-eds most notably in West Africa and Christian Science Monitor.[2]