Politics is a contest of
ideas not insults
12 September 2011
Opposition SLPP's Presidential candidate
- Julius Maada Bio
The battle for State House in 2012 has
started, and Maada Bio is at the
receiving end of APC’s wrath, as they
try to destroy his candidacy prematurely
- even before the game kicks off.
The government says that Maada Bio
was a key player in the NPRC that kicked
out the one party rule of APC in 1992.
They say that he was also a member of
the Supreme Council that took a decision
to execute 28 Sierra Leoneans, including
the infamous Bambay Kamara - who
destroyed many lives and properties,
during the dark days as APC’s strongman
and head of a brutal police force.
Some people want Maada Bio to vigorously defend
himself against such criticisms. I think otherwise.
The SLPP presidential candidate was not in charge of
the NPRC. He was part of the Supreme Council - so
what’s the big deal? In any military interregnum,
there will definitely be extra-judicial killings. It
has happened all over the world and Sierra Leone is
My advice to Maada Bio is that he should use
political ideas and economic philosophy to design
and put forward innovative strategies that will
improve the lives of Sierra Leoneans, in order to
counter the daily insults.
Sierra Leoneans want a change from poverty to
wealth; from beggars to givers and from wearing
second-hand underwear to brand new ones.
Let the people of Sierra Leone understand that Bio
has innovative ideas that could turn the country
round, if given the opportunity. You don't need
Angel Gabriel to come down from Heaven to help you
win the elections or be your running mate.
Your party has a lot of intelligent men and women,
full of integrity and goodwill to save us from
further sinking into poverty and economic
Do you need to launder your past?
I doubt it. As I said before, being part of a system
does not mean you are responsible. So what I think
you will need to do with the Atlantic Ocean is to
make sure that the new found wealth - oil and our
marine resources, are guaranteed to benefit all
Sierra Leoneans without regard to tribe, party or
You are capable of running Sierra Leone positively,
and you will be second-time lucky, because you are
representing a party that has positive economic,
social, infrastructural, educational and democratic
policies and principles that will change the current
situation of the country.
Former American president - Thomas Jefferson, once
said that; a good government is one "which shall
restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave
them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits
of industry and improvement, and shall not take from
the mouth of labour the bread that it has earned."
This is what political parties in Sierra Leone
should stand for. A political party should not have
thugs going around beating, molesting or destroying
properties in the name of politics. A political
party should be full of visionaries, policy
innovators and peaceful men and women.
Many people thought that our politics would be more
civil and responsible than before, as our democracy
keeps growing from strength to strength. But that is
not the case. Rather, current events are bringing
back memories of the dark days of our political
As a journalist, I have always held the belief that
politics is and should be a competition of ideas and
never of insults and violence, as has been the case
in the last few weeks.
Recent development, giving rise to political insults
thrown at the opposition presidential candidate, is
in bad taste and we should all be ashamed of
ourselves. Maada Bio is a presidential candidate and
has met all the criteria that qualify him to rule
the country for the second time, if elected by the
What will some of our colleagues do in the event he
wins the election after referring to him as a thief,
a murderer, and a rapist? I know that every well
meaning Sierra Leonean would also be concerned about
this sad state of affairs.
Commander-in chief - President Koroma
Even now that Ernest Koroma has
turned the country upside down - with no
sense of direction and purpose, the
opposition criticise him constructively
out of respect for the office that he
Admittedly, the media I dare say is
indispensable, but would be guilty of
irresponsibility if anything is allowed
to go on air that fuels discord. The
media should be seen as a powerful tool
for education and must not be used to
As a celebrated country and one regarded as 'the
cradle of democracy', our politics should be issue
centred rather than one of character and reputation
assassination. However, it is very inappropriate to
destroy a person’s hard earned reputation for money
or parochial ends and the earlier media people get
that the better.
In our daily lives, we are faced with myriad of
challenges; lack of clean drinking water from our
taps, hawkers on our streets, rising inflation,
reduction in the size of bread, poor services in our
hospitals, lack of quality education in our schools,
even to the point where the university lacks paper
to conduct examination. Yet, none of these seem to
We digress from all these sensitive issues and
revert to calling a presidential candidate – a
murderer, rapist, thief or how short he is, how
handsome or ugly another is, how sick or mad they
From where I am, I think enough is enough. The
sooner we nip this immaturity in the bud, the better
for the country. We must wake up from our slumber
and extricate ourselves from a journey that clearly
is leading us down a blind alley.
There are many pertinent and burning issues to talk
about, that are affecting the daily lives of the
people of Sierra Leone.
Let us talk about the economy. We can make
comparison from 2007 to date; road construction,
regulation of the mining companies and the standard
of education in the country. This is not the time
for us to start calling names.
But it seems that the only ammunition the ruling APC
party has against the opposition SLPP is the Bambay
killings and the palace coup that took place during
the NPRC interregnum.
Well by the time the year ends, and we start 2012,
Sierra Leoneans will be tired of that song as they
will want to hear new songs. Let us delve into the
present state of our country. Take the education
sector; this is worse than most countries in the
entire sub region.
It was the most disgraceful story of this year
coming out of Sierra Leone that our university was
unable to conduct examinations because they have no
paper. If Ernest Koroma who studied in that
university can allow such to happen, then something
is seriously wrong.
There is a minister in charge of education. Is the
president happy that such could happen under his
watch? Was he angry? If he was, I am sure he would
But for the cowardly heart and sycophantic spirit he
possesses, he has plunged the country to the worst
economic state of ruin that has turned us all into
beggars, thieves and prostitutes just to make ends
Poverty has worsened since 2007
There is enough to talk about regarding
the last four years. And I am sure Maada
Bio would be fully equipped to blast his
way to State House, by constructively
criticising Ernest Koroma rather than
APC is known for all the negativities in
politics. So it is no surprise to many
of us, that no sooner they won the last
elections, they began to unleash their
true colours against the SLPP and all
those who cross their path.
The last four years has been the longest
in Sierra Leone's history, and the
earlier we seek redress in the ballot
box, the better it will be for us all.
Reminiscing these past days, I remember in 2007,
before coming to China I bought a bag of 50kg rice
for Le68,000. Last week, reading stories on the
internet, the same bag of rice today is being sold
at between Le150,000 and Le160,000.
President Koroma’s government is blaming the global
recession for Sierra Leone’s economic crisis. That
Sierra Leone is not the only country that the
recession has affected. It has been felt all over
the world. But because of our visionless leader -
coupled with hopeless policies, we are suffering
The economy inherited by President Koroma was stable
with the dollar pegged at Le3,000. And if they had
followed the economic path of the former government,
things would not have been so bad.
But they came to power with all sorts of useless
policies. They appointed incompetent and
inexperienced people that are now running the
government, whose policies are causing extreme
poverty in the country.
The president like his ministers, are all deceitful
and we do not know who to trust.
"APC WE NOR DAE TIFF - WE NOR DAE LIE." This was
what they were preaching in 2007. Today they are
worse than AFRC, as we do not know who is in
Maada Bio, the time is now right for you to expose
all the wrongs and failures of this government to
the public. And make sure when you do so, it is done
with respect, because you are a different breed and
you belong to a party that commands respect.
As we approach the 2012 general elections, I urge
all and sundry to be circumspect and discerning; to
eschew gullibility and articulate views that would
not bring about apocalyptic consequences, bearing in
mind that the purpose of an election is to determine
and accept the will of the voters.
Back to main list of