Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 April 2015
According to a statement from State House in Freetown, president Koroma left Freetown yesterday, with a large entourage of twenty staff, to attend the annual joint IMF – World Bank spring meeting in Washington, USA.
But president Koroma will not be meeting president Obama at the White House.
Last month, president of Liberia – Helen Johnson Sirleaf, was Obama’s guest of honour at the White House – a symbol of what many regard as a reward for good governance in Liberia and her honesty in tackling the Ebola crisis.
Last Thursday, 9th April 2015, Obama met with his international health and national security teams to discuss what more can be done to get to zero Ebola cases in West Africa.
President Obama was updated by his advisors on the situation in the West African region, and was briefed on measures currently underway to end the epidemic in Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Sierra Leone Telegraph’s Political Analyst, say that with Obama’s appraisal of the crisis last week by his team, there is no need for him to meet with president Koroma and, or the two other Mano River Union leaders this week in Washington.
But there are far more serious underlying issues regarding president Koroma’s waning integrity and international image.
When Obama met his advisors last week, he emphasized the urgency of getting to zero, and directed his team to stay engaged with the countries to prevent future outbreaks from becoming epidemics. He reiterated that the U.S. Government will continue the fight against Ebola until all cases in the affected countries are contained.
But disappointed supporters of the Koroma regime were hoping that Obama would invite Koroma to the White House, as a symbol of Obama’s approval of Koroma’s governance performance.
Thousands of concerned citizens of Sierra Leone living in the USA, held a peaceful protest at the White House Lafayette Park in Washington last Saturday, following Koroma’s recent unconstitutional decisions – including his sacking of the country’s elected vice president, which many in Sierra Leone regard as undemocratic and dictatorial.
There are calls for president Obama not to reward the bad behaviour of Africa’s undemocratic leaders – such as president Koroma of Sierra Leone, but to keep to his words: “Africa needs strong and democratic institutions, not strong leaders.”
This is what the statement by State House Communications Unit says:
“President Ernest Bai Koroma, accompanied by a delegation of 21, left Freetown Sunday on his way to attend a high-level meeting on the Ebola crisis during the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington DC, United States of America.
“The objective of the meeting is to hold fruitful and action-oriented discussion on how to help the Mano River Union (MRU) get to and sustain zero Ebola cases, advance recovery efforts, and build greater resilience.
“The event will gather the presidents of Guinea and Liberia, as well as the International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka, and a select number of ministers from partner countries and heads of development partner organizations.
“President Koroma is also expected to deliver a call to action at the first Global Citizen 2015 Earth day ceremony. This event, co-sponsored by the World Bank Group, will bring together world leaders, celebrities, high-caliber musicians, artists, and thousands of citizens on the National Mall.
“According to the World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, their aim is “to raise awareness and inspire action on critical sustainable development challenges” facing the world today.
“Cabinet ministers, MPs, senior government officials, and traditional leaders bid farewell to the president at the Lungi International Airport before his departure to the United States.”
President Koroma and his government are yet to account for more than $14 million of funds meant for the caring of Ebola sick patients and those dying of the virus in Sierra Leone. This has seriously and irreparably damaged the image of the Koroma government.
Furthermore and perhaps more importantly, at a geo-political level, it is clear that president Koroma and his government have shot themselves in the foot, by overtly pitching tent, lock-stock-and-barrel, with the Chinese government in Beijing and the Chinese Communist party, which is also a patron of the ruling APC party in Sierra Leone.
Analysts believe that the Chinese will be in full control of more that 85% of Sierra Leone’s economy and natural resources – including iron ore, agriculture, fishing, and tourism, and infrastructural development, by 2020, should Koroma’s ruling APC party win the 2018 elections.
It seems Obama has become distrustful of the government in Freetown, for its continuing breach of civil liberty, poor governance, corruption and communist style dictatorial tendencies.
So, no entertainment of Koroma’s dictatorship and unconstitutional behaviour by Obama at the White House, despite his visit to Washington this week?
What is clear, is that the White House is sending out a clear message. Those in and out of Sierra Leone that have stood up against Koroma’s dictatorship and bad behaviour, have today been rewarded by the White House for upholding civil liberty and constitutional freedoms.
And should the Supreme Court Judges stand up for justice, the rule of law and constitutional jurisprudence, in their ongoing hearing of the court case regarding Koroma’s violation of the constitution, they too will be rewarded by posterity, as well as earn the respect of their fellow citizens and the international community.