The Politics of Deceit – The President of Sierra Leone uses the Anti-Corruption Commission to harass opposition candidates

Dictator – Julius Maada Bio

It is indeed a lethal concoction when you have a crook as President who then appoints a stooge as Anti-Corruption Chief who is always ready to dance to the tune of his corrupt paymaster. Julius Maada Bio has a history of diverting public funds to private use. A corrupt politician who was by accident elected President of this small West African state, is notorious for stealing the country’s passports and selling them years ago to desperate Chinese Businessmen in Hong Kong for thousands of dollars.

He is also known to have made away with hundreds of thousands of dollars when he was forced to hand over power by the international community after staging a palace coup to oust his comrade in arms Valentine Strasser. There were even rumours then that to coax him out of power, the international community made up of the UK, USA, and the UN offered him an incentive of a few million dollars to vacate the presidency, which he pocketed and later used to stage a comeback into power using tribalism and ethno-regionalism as his strategy

On winning the 2018 Presidential Elections, Maada Bio appointed his tribesman, Francis Ben Kaifala, as Anti-Corruption Commissioner. Recognized as well educated academically, Kaifala was found deficient by the Sierra Leone Parliament in the statutory level of experience needed to be appointed Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). President Bio, nevertheless, took an unconstitutional decision to override the rejection of Parliament and went ahead and appointed Ben Kaifala.

After almost four years as Commissioner, Kaifala has shown that indeed he lacks the grit to deliver on matters affecting the state with corruption at the very heart of government as he systematically allows his office to be influenced and compromised by the politics of the day, that is, going after political opponents of his paymaster instead of tackling the very roots of the pandemic of corruption in high places that borders on state capture. Kaifala has also shown he lacks the legal antecedents to do his work. Instead, he spends most of his time on social media portraying himself as an anti-corruption Czar to gain recognition and award from regional organizations with little or no serious credibility whatsoever.

Among the prominent opposition politicians the ACC Commissioner takes delight in harassing on a daily basis is Dr. Samura Kamara, leading aspirant for president in the forthcoming 2023 presidential elections. Dr. Kamara has an impeccable record as a go-getter and achiever in various facets of work ranging from the Civil Service to Cabinet Minister assuming different portfolios including Foreign Affairs and Finance and Economic Development.
He also served as Financial Secretary and Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone and has never been found wanting for abuse of public office or any corruption-related issues under different governments including the Junta-led government of Julius Maada Bio. His credibility was such that Maada Bio requested his services while he was at the IMF to help implement the organization’s program in Sierra Leone.  So, Maada Bio needed people with integrity in his cabinet to be taken seriously by world governments. Hence he brought in the likes of Dr. Samura Kamara to lend some legitimacy to his battered reputation as a human rights abuser and state resources looter.

It is simply preposterous that a head of state who once entrusted state finances to someone who lent legitimacy to his Junta regime is now accusing that same person of corruption through his equally corrupt and inept anti-corruption chief. Maada Bio’s desperation to cling on to power has now become too apparent and he is prepared to give the short shrift to the democratic steps taken by his predecessor, Ernest Bai Koroma, who handed power to him through a peaceful democratic transition in 2018, and ensured he left no political prisoners incarcerated throughout his tenure as Head of State. So, for Ben Kaifala to unleash anti-corruption tactics against top opposition politicians and refuse to go after his own former Chief Minister now Foreign Minister who has been recently exposed to have squandered millions of dollars in rogue financial transfers and dealings is simply double standards, all as a strategy to prevent the largest APC opposition party from winning the 2023 Presidential and General Elections.

The hard-fought democratic and political gains of the past decade is all but in ruin as Maada Bio tears apart the fabric of the socio-political make-up of this very fragile state with little or no mercy – a far cry from the good intentions of its founding fathers whose prayers are yet to be fully realized. Julius Maada Bio has no clue as to how to run a government. His main objective has always been to enrich himself and his family and close cabal in government. The people of Sierra Leone have learned a very bitter lesson in their choice of leaders and are prepared to ensure that this corrupt head of state is booted out of power and made to account for the heinous crimes against humanity and for looting millions of dollars from the people of Sierra Leone. 

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