Since the main opposition party, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) abysmally lost control of State House following the resounding victory of incumbent President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in the 2007 Presidential polls in the West African state of Sierra Leone, its leaders and followers have so far resorted to a rather debauched political mantra of “we started this and that” wherever President Koroma and his All People’s Congress (APC) government made tangible, concrete gains evidenced in the enormous infrastructural, health and agricultural achievements the country is experiencing in modern times.
Largely out of lack of coordinated and structured thoughts expected of any meaningful opposition party so serious of an alternative government, Julius Maada Bio has taken the cue from his political protégés, as he continues to manufacture political theories that are yet to fit the political discourse since he was “selected” flag bearer of his party after very controversial elections laced with vote-buying, allegations of tribalism and some indistinguishable oath-taking.
The apparent lack of any coherent ideas that would have hitherto provided the alternative political hypothesis, Bio, either out of deliberately distortion of the facts, or out of ignorance, or both, recently told BBC focus on Africa that the current government had only constructed three or four kilometers of road, and that his SLPP had constructed a 700 stretch of road across the country during their erstwhile reign from 1996 until their ousting in 2007.
This assertion, spurious as it was, did not only expose the political illusion of Maada himself, but that of his party as well because records at the Works Ministry have so far indicated that the only road that the SLPP constructed was from Masiaka (Mile 47) to the northern provincial headquarter town of Makeni. If Bio’s BBC spell was an injury out of ignorance, his National Publicity Secretary, a Tamba Sam added salt to it when told the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation’s (SLBC) tea break programme of May 18, 2012 that the APC government had indeed constructed the Wilkinson road-Lumley Police Station road but that it was done to “satisfy” diplomats living around that area.
What Tamba Sam did not know or refused to understand was the fact, as he was reminded by the author of this piece, that the said road was a 5.2km stretch and that it could not be constructed because of the presence of diplomats since the government is also undertaking road construction and rehabilitation across the country, including Moyamba and Kailahun. The bottom line was that, Tamba Sam succeeded in stabbing his presidential candidate who had earlier maintained that the only road the incumbent government had constructed was a mere 3 or 4 kilometers.
What however Maada Bio and his political godfathers have so far failed to acknowledge was (is) that the current APC government has so far rehabilitated well over 1,205 feeder roads across the country, rehabilitated the Makeni-Kabala road, a 168 kilometers stretch, the Panlap-Madina Oula-Guinea/Sierra Leone border covering 148 kilometers, another 32 kilometers of the Bandajuma-Pujehun road, and the completion of the Bo-Kenema and Makeni-Matotoka highways, among others. The completion of the 86 kilometers Rogbere-Panlap road leading to the sister Republic of Guinea was immediately undertaken by the current government after the SLPP abandoned it under murky circumstances amidst European Union (EU) threats of the government of Sierra Leone losing millions of United States dollars. That the Koroma government had to complete it is yet a clear pointer on how serious the administration is committed to linking cities, towns and villages under the auspices of the “agenda for change”.
Furthermore, Bio’s lame chances for consideration as a serious presidential contender started the very day he was pronounced flag bearer for his party. This is because his name not only reminded Sierra Leoneans of the nefarious human rights record of the notorious National Provincial Ruling Council (NPRC) junta, but his enthusiastic role in the abrasive and brutal extra-judicial killings of twenty-nine innocent and unsuspecting Sierra Leoneans, including former Inspector General of Police, James Bambay Kamara, Salami Coker of Ports Authority, a male palm wine tapper at Waterloo, lawyer Kawuta Dumbuya and Colonel Yayah Kanu formerly of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, et al.
Whilst Bio had since been denying his complicity in those broad daylight massacre of his kith and kin, the blood of the victims so haunted him that he somehow “inadvertently” admitted his responsibility in those cold-blooded murders in his recent BBC’s focus on Africa interview in which he was also described as “a double coupist”. That description of Bio being a “double coupist” cannot be so apt because of his role in the April, 1992 overthrow of the APC under late President Joseph Saidu Momoh, and later the palace coup he masterminded against his boss, Captain Valentine Strasser.
By way of justifying the latter, Bio told the world that Strasser had wanted to renege on the NPRC’s commitment to relinquish power to a civilian administration. Again, this was a blatant misrepresentation because it is on record that as soon as he assumed power than he tried, though in vain, to mobilize paramount chiefs, students, civil society in an attempt to postpone the holding of elections.
Desirous for democracy and fed-up with the NPRC’s militarism and the committal of rife human rights violations, another Bintumani Two conference was convened. Bio’s first defeat in that enterprise was his failure to finger the original list of delegates to Bintumani One. So, Bintumani Two came with yet another unflagging resolve that he and his junta cronies and civilian hustlers MUST GO.
The final straw that of Bio’s triviality for the presidency is the fact that up to the time of writing this article he still stand accused by former SLPP President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and erstwhile Vice-President, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Solomon E. Berewa of siphoning thousands of United States dollars from the sale of the country’s passports and in just three days had the colossal sum of USD100, 000 deposited into his offshore Meridian bank account. Up to the time of going to press, Bio is yet to proffer any convincing explanation of that theft.
In conclusion, therefore, allegations of Bio’s sale of our country’s passports, his role in the cold-blood murder of 29 innocent and unsuspecting Sierra Leoneans, and above all, his role as a double coupist have left many Sierra Leoneans and the international community wart of his intentions to compete for the Presidency of our country. It cannot be summarized better than what an anonymous Western diplomat said: “…indeed, Sierra Leone is fledgling democracy. In some other countries, no serious political party would even consider him for a district council chairmanship”.
And this is where one would unequivocally agree with the leadership of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) Party when it stated in their May 10, 2012 press release that “…we are of the firm belief that the presidency of our country should only be coveted by people with the highest standard of integrity, honesty, and with an unblemished character that both the people of Sierra Leone and the international community can continue to repose confidence in at all times…”.
Author, Abdulai Bayraytay, holds double master’s degrees in political science with bias in international relations, and social work from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo and the University of Toronto both in Canada respectively.
© 2012, Abdulai Bayraytay. All rights reserved. Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.