President Koroma’s cross-border shenanigans will destabilise Sierra Leone

Alpha Kawusu

7 March 2012

Instead of focusing on the cross-border exchange of commodities that could inject some life into a dying economy, reliable reports indicate that President Ernest Koroma has over the last month, been involved in transporting ex-combatants and other criminal elements from Guinea and Liberia to be registered as voters in Sierra Leone.

The intent is to intimidate voters in opposition strongholds, rig the November elections and give the ruling All Peoples Congress an undue advantage, in areas where its performance has historically been abysmal.

This latest development adds to a long list of unsavory political machinations that feed on Koroma’s insatiable greed for power.

Other malevolent machinations include the establishment and registration of a phony political party called – the United Democratic Movement (UDM); the arbitrary arrest of political opponents; and the clandestine – yet disgraceful and cowardly call for United Nations representative, Michael Schulenburg, to be withdrawn from Sierra Leone.

Tellingly, the lesson to be learned from these duplicitous activities is that a nation cannot allow the foundations of its democracy to stand on the shoulders of a man whose lack of respect for the rule of law is legendary.

Yet this lack of respect for the rule of law has now entered a new terrain with Koroma’s determination to influence the outcome of the November elections. And to facilitate this process, Koroma has engaged in a military buildup of unparalleled proportions.

Accordingly, for the first time in its history, Sierra Leone has topped such regional powers as Nigeria and Ghana in military spending as a percent of GDP. Yet in terms of GDP per capita, Sierra Leone lags far behind Nigeria and Ghana.

The questions one may ask are, why the massive military build-up? Who are we preparing to fight, when for years we couldn’t sum the courage to liberate that part of our country – Yenga, which has been annexed by Guinea?

These questions will go unanswered, given the arrogant nature of APC autocracy.

Nevertheless, what is evident on the ground is that the ruling party’s penchant for political violence does have a direct bearing on its decision to not only facilitate the registration of illegal aliens and criminal elements from across our borders but also to arm itself to the teeth before the November polls.

Since the APC of Koroma has not made a paradigm shift from the violent tradition of the APC of Siaka Stevens, it is appropriate to suggest that Koroma would rather resort to large scale violence than peacefully exit the corridors of power in Sierra Leone.

Thus, the aggregate effect of Koroma’s insane military build-up and his mass transportation of criminal elements from Guinea and Liberia is that, the specter of an Ivory Coast hovers over Sierra Leone.

Yet this deliberate attempt to destabilize Sierra Leone by a few desperate men would run its course unless the International Criminal Court (ICC) decides to tighten its noose around the country.

Accordingly, it is only an explicit ICC threat of roping in political criminals and nation destroyers before the courts at The Hague, that would stop Sierra Leone from descending into the abyss of an Ivory Coast in November.

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