Sierra Leone constitutional crisis – people in glass houses must not throw stones

Franklyn Davies: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 January 2018

President Ernest Bai Koroma – the Lifetime Chairman and Leader of the All Peoples Congress (APC) has misfired. He has suffocated his party’s caboodle, and most certainly it will be the Diasporans that will have the last laugh.

The whole brouhaha about dual nationality – now locally referred to as “two SIM cards”, is a hot topic in Sierra Leone today. However, it is poised to be a blessing in disguise for the Sierra Leonean people, including those in the Diaspora.

Such a last-minute ploy by the Ernest Bai Koroma APC government to once again play havoc with constitutional provisions, continues to underscore his contempt for the people of Sierra Leone.

President Koroma should know that all his manoeuvres simply provide more evidence to the international community, showcasing his deliberate attempt to undermine the democracy they invested heavily in, after eleven years of civil war.

It is also clear that by his actions, he is strengthening the various lawsuits being compiled by international NGOs and Human Rights Groups (both in Sierra Leone and overseas), for him to account for his 10 years of stewardship – including his looting and blatant abuse of Sierra Leoneans.  The truth is, he has misfired.

It is an open secret that the top hierarchy of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and several senior functionaries of the Government hold dual nationality.  President Koroma’s family filed for him for U.K. Citizenship when he was in opposition.

The APC flag-bearer candidate – Samura Kamara, holds a U.K Passport as confirmed by many who have travelled overseas with him during the past two decades.

Chernoh Maju (Chericoco) Bah – the APC running mate, would have to present evidence of naturalization by both his parents because he and they were not born in Sierra Leone.

John Sisay, a British citizen ran a vigorous campaign to succeed his cousin, Ernest Bai Koroma. In fact, the the Independent, a British newspaper published a glowing article about their pride that one of their own citizens, a South-Londoner,  could potentially be president of Sierra Leone.

In the Independent profile story about John Sisay, a former member of the UK’s Labour party noted that even though he is a British citizen: “Sierra Leone, his home country, was where he wanted to serve. He has political connections there: his first cousin, Ernest Bai Koroma, is the current President and his family has long been socially and politically active.

“There are also financial connections, he is the former CEO of Sierra Rutile, the largest mining company for rutile, a mineral formed mainly of titanium dioxide, in the region and is the president of the Sierra Leone Chamber of Mines.”

However, Sisay’s bid to return to the UK following his failed presidential campaign to succeed his cousin was scuttered following a corruption scandal that could send him to prison.

Sisay is fleeing justice for a 110,000 USD bribe payment he  funneled via a West African logistics companyHis widely known corrupt practices along with his cousin Koroma are about to catch up with him. Today, he serves as chairman of the APC 2018 campaign.

It is noteworthy that all other presidential candidates were born in Sierra Leone, except for the ruling APC’s presidential running mate – Chernoh Maju Chericoco Bah (Photo: Left).

Further, even if they are naturalized, I have no doubt that all aspirants (if they hold dual citizenships in other countries) would have renounced their second citizenship before nomination (which is what they are required to do).

The “duality issue” with the NGC flag-bearer is like the “birther issue” with Obama in 2011, and in that case, he said nothing even though he was attacked, and innuendos flourished.

For a government that has ministers in cabinet and Members of Parliament with dual nationality for the last 10 years, one wonders why they only thought about this now. They shamelessly parade party functionaries, masquerading as respecters of the rule of law.

If Dr. Yumkella has dual citizenship, as intelligent as he is and a true patriot of Sierra Leone, I am confident he will release the facts at a time of his choosing.

Like the decision to leave the United Nations, if he has something to say about dual citizenship, I am sure he will do so on his own volition. If he had a US passport, I have no doubt that he may have already renounced the US citizenship.

Kandeh Yumkella is a decent man, regardless of how his critics like to spin his character. Thus, if indeed the intent of the Koroma government was to disqualify him from running for the presidency, Koroma’s ploy will misfire, and will instead, soon catch up with Koroma and his caboodle.

Julius Maada Bio, flag-bearer candidate for the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) is also reported to hold a Ghanaian passport. It is also equally true that his wife – Fatima Bio, filed for him for British citizenship – a path to make his travels easy.

Thus, if all allegations are true about the three main presidential contenders, the question is: which of these three candidates will speak first? Will they all adopt the Obama “birther” strategy – i.e. don’t ask don’t tell, then release the facts?

For Sierra Leoneans, there is good news in the “Two SIM” or Dual citizenship saga, woefully orchestrated by the ruling party. As Sierra Leoneans, this provides an opportunity for us to pursue Ernest Koroma and his cabal through litigation, under the serious fraud and anti-corruption legislations in the US, UK and the EU, to bring back their looted wealth to Sierra Leone.

These litigations will complement those of human rights abuses during the Ebola epidemic, and many more awaiting president Koroma when he leaves office.

For example, he will be held to account for looting Port Loko of its minerals through the establishment of SL Mining for the Marampa Iron Ore deposits. We also have information on how the cabal has established a company and now they and their family own the bauxite deposits in Port Loko.

These dodgy arrangements were smuggled into parliament on December 7, 2017, which was parliament’s last day of sitting. Does the name Bruski ring a bell?

We ask our folks in the diaspora who Koroma has used and now abandoned to wait for the last laugh. Be prepared to welcome him appropriately when he leaves office, with determination to get him to account for his legacy of impoverishing our people, while he is personally getting richer on inflated contracts and fronted shadowy companies.

Yes, we in the Diaspora will have the last laugh by preparing the case files for the trials of the century. Hisene Habri was jailed after 25 year for human rights abuses, and Minister Thiam of Guinea was jailed last year in New York for looting his country’s iron ore wealth, Ernest Koroma must be rest assured the Diaspora will laugh last. People in glass houses must not throw stones.

7 Comments

  1. The reality of human beings becoming restrained when they are holders of minority conclusions described in one of the most recognized approaches in communication investigation: the spiral of silence theory (Noelle-Neumann, 1974). The vast scholarly and public concern in this theory might be due to its overtones for contemporary democracy since the theory makes forecasts about why people sometimes decline to make use of their constitutional freedom of speech, which is a fundamental component of democratic societies.

    Thus, determining the reasons nations (do not) engage in political debates can be helpful for taking actions to encourage them to take part in societal debates and contribute to public consultation. The spiral of silence theory (Noelle-Neumann, 1974, 1993) proposes that parties get persuaded to gauge whether their viewpoint on a controversial constitutional issue correlates to the majority opinion.

    If one’s point of view was perceived to reconcile with the majority, individuals are more prone to communicate their stand than individuals who identify themselves on the side of the minority — these latter bodies might lapse into silence.

    Thus, the minority parties in Sierra Leone’s parliament become less visible in a national point of view over time, while the assumed majority stance becomes salient. Noelle-Neumann (1974) associated this anomaly to the minority parties’ fear of isolation.

    Individuals have a fundamental desire not to get rejected, and therefore yield to identified social standards rather than perform a deviant viewpoint and risk isolation from others.

    Reference
    Noelle-Neumann, E. (1974). The spiral of silence: A theory of public opinion. Journal of Communication, 24, 43-51.

  2. Hey stop making false accusation about something you dont know, Chericoco was born and bred in Freetown, he attended Saint Edwards Secondary School ( the May Park Boys).

    What we the non-Partisan are seeing is different from what most of you Party members and supporters are seeing: As Psychologist( Cooley 1902) describe `SELF CONCEPT“ as looking glass, we see ourselves as if we are reflected in the eyes of other people and we are profoundly affected by what we think, without proper information and knowledge of the issues that are confronting us.

    My common sense is telling me that, the dual citizenship issue has nothing to do with witch hunt or to disqualify anybody. It is because most of the diasporans – past members of Parliament for the APC, didn´t perform to the expectations of their constituencies.

    The APC got lots of condemnation from their people and they dont want to lose the election. In order for them to have peace, they came up with this strategy. They have read the letters written by their supporters. Some of you dont know APC very well, they are very smart. In this case, they asked the People to present who they prefer to contest the March Election and all of the People they got from their supporters are locals, instead of diasporans.

    The next phase will be to change that part in the constitution. Trust me, this is APC. You cannot predict them. They know what they are doing, and it has nothing to do with witch hunting or to disqualify apposition members.

  3. Interesting revelations. Why in the world would the APC allow itself to be ridiculed in this manner? If indeed the APC running mate was born in another country, then his first and foremost citizenship is where he was born, making Sierra Leone (through naturalization) his second home.

    We in the diaspora should not be intimidated, neither allow ourselves into delusional political agendas. Dual citizenship must and should not be a precursor for us to participate in our country’s electoral process. We must not treat this topic as an issue that affects one party or one tribe. It affects all across Sierra Leone and thus we must fight for our right with vengeance. We must unite and be heard.

  4. May God bless you my brother for saying the truth. Only the truth shall bring peace, freedom and justice to our beloved people of Sierra Leone. God’s time is the best!

    All what’s going on today in our socio-political activities in our country tells you that the Almighty God has had enough of APC and SLPP continuing their impoverishment of the people of Sierra Leone. It’s the end time for both of them in their tribalism football games. This time we say No No No! Yes yes yes to NGC.

    • I don’t understand why our constitution is applicable at some particular time. But the constitution has always been there as our guide. If someone now came up with it, does not change what the constitution says. For me this debate is not tribalism neither political. It is about what our constitution says.

  5. I have long believed that the APC government is not that right in everything they have done. We see that late Siaka Stevens did the same thing by squandering the wealth of the country, leaving the population impoverished and threatened. Justice will judge the APC for their crimes. No matter he had wanted to stay in power for another five years.

    Most APC ministers and others under the regime have got a lot to share with the judiciary and imprisonment. Until Sierra Leoneans sleep well, the country has to be cleansed first. All the prices of consumer goods have been inflated. How can people live?

    I am terribly down without any possibility of getting work somewhere, because I am not a national of the country I live in. If the two SIMs is relevant in the country, I may nationalized only to get bread for my family who are also Sierra Leoneans.

    • First of all president Obama was born in Hawaii and not a naturalized citizen of America compared to cherenor Maju from Conakry Guinea. If you are not born in Sierra Leone you are not supposed to contest in the presidential election whether your parents are born citizens

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