When you have a defunct and pathetic media machinery passing for a state house communications unit, do not expect your secrets to be safe. As president of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio has surrounded himself with a team of media buffoons whose job is to spend time at nearby “cookery parlours” around state house, instead of focusing on the all important job of protecting and enhancing the reputation of the man who was dumb enough to appoint them to such positions in the first place. The state house communications unit is made up of a loose combination of brown envelop cash and carry journalists and half-baked fake PR specialists who have no clue what communications at presidential level should be about.
Unlike former President KOROMA who personally handpicked an outstanding team of media specialists that were well trained in their various disciplines to man the administration of state house public affairs, Julius Maada Bio was only looking to appoint journalists from within his tribal makeup to protect his political interests. I am not sure if any of them have qualifications from recognised media institutions to run a top government media house.
Julius Maada Bio may have suffered a very serious stroke that has affected the right side of his body as his limp from a recent video reveals. But this may have been completely muted across the local airwaves and print media because of the ramifications it might have all over the state. The country’s economy is falling apart and opposition politicians and journalist are being arbitrarily arrested and detained without charge and at the mercy of the presidency. The police service is run by a semi literate individual who does not have a clue as to when to arrest someone lawfully and what unlawful detention means. The entire military is littered with tribal Mende appointments to help safeguard the presidency of Bio. And civil servants are going for months without any salary. The populace cannot afford the basic commodities of life and the cost of living is spiralling out of control. The western secret service agents passing for diplomats on the ground who staged a diplomatic coup to help install Bio at state house must be seething with rage as to how their laboratory experiment has gone wrong and how home offices in their countries may be planning recalls if not already implemented, to bring them back home.
This chapter in the country’s history is a revisit of the NPRC era when a palace coup saw a young greedy soldier ousted his compatriot from power to gain control of a very fragile state that was under attack from rebel forces only to implement a reign of terror that saw arbitrary killings and the summary execution of innocent men and women, some who were hanged just for voicing opposition to tyranny.
The country now faces the prospect of witnessing another political transition as it seems Julius Maada Bio may soon be declared unfit to govern because of health reasons and there will ultimately be a challenge to his presidency if not from within his own party but from those he has spent time attempting to hound into oblivion using a daft anti-corruption tool as a means of silencing opposition.
Whatever happens as a result of Bio’s illness should not result in any kind of bloodshed in a country that has already had its fair share of atrocities, from a bloody civil war to a debilitating outbreak of Ebola and now abject poverty that is eating into the fabric of society and leaving people completely demoralised. Bio should now come to the realisation that the writing is on the wall and he should hand over the reigns of power and leave with his dignity intact or may be thrown out and have to give account of all what he did both in 1993 and the present era.
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