Kabs Kanu: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 November 2023:
Monday November 6 , 2023 was another very tragic day for democracy in Sierra Leone, as the U.S Ambassador to Sierra Leone – Bryan Hunt, who like his predecessor – David Reimer had raised the hopes of the Sierra Leonean people that America is going to help them fight to redeem democracy in their country, has now seemingly disappointed everybody, leaving a lot of people wondering what is actually going on.
The U. S became the darling of democracy – loving Sierra Leoneans, when it stood at the forefront along with other Western nations and the European Union ( EU) to publicly denounce the June 24, 2023 elections in Sierra Leone as a sham and a travesty and instantly took action against the Bio government, putting on hold the U.S $ 400 million Millennium Challenge Corporation ( MCC ) grant and also imposed travel restrictions on all officials who contributed to undermine democracy in Sierra Leone by rigging the June 24 elections.
Ambassador Reimer even boldly stated in a famous interview with Radio Democracy 98.1 that he did not congratulate Maada Bio because the election lacked transparency and credibility.
The U. S Secretary of State and the U. S Congress have also been publicly vocal in condemning the June 24 elections as fraudulent, putting joy in the hearts of all Sierra Leoneans that indeed, America, the beacon of democracy in the world, was on their side and even if they had no power to order a rerun were about to help institute measures that will ensure that the kind of disgraceful rigging seen on June 24 never happens again in Sierra Leone.
That is why it was shocking just three days ago, when the State House media reported that Maada Bio’s government had passed 10 of the 20 indicators in the MCC scorecard for 2024, including the crucial one on ensuring the democratic rights of the people, and that Ambassador Hunt himself had gone to State House to convey “the good new” to President Bio.
No Sierra Leonean needs to hate Maada Bio or the SLPP to know that the MCC result is as fake and fraudulent as the bogus degrees granted by Dominion University in Sierra Leone, which forced the government to shut down the degree mill.
How could the Bio government had passed scorecards in granting democratic rights when it was under local and international censure for perhaps one of the most blatant rigging of elections ever in the continent of Africa?
How could the MCC had given Bio a pass in democratic rights when his government has outlawed public demonstrations and mercilessly killed innocent Sierra Leoneans demonstrating for their rights?
Will anyone ever again take these MCC results seriously in Sierra Leone?
Stunned Sierra Leoneans immediately started asking what is going on and what kind of shady diplomatic shenanigan is the U. S playing. The U.S states that the MCC is an independent organization that is not under the control of the Federal government. That being so, what business does Ambassador Hunt have in acting as the bearer of the deceitful news to Maada Bio?
The MCC has its own office and people on the ground. They should have carried the fake MCC result to Bio, not Ambassador Hunt, if indeed the MCC is independent.
Ambassador Hunt’s action on Monday and his praises for Bio and even posing in photo ops with him clearly show U. S hypocrisy, duplicity and complicity in the clandestine operations of the MCC, a discredited institution that Sierra Leoneans had long flagged as being collaborators with Maada Bio in destroying democracy in Sierra Leone.
U. S foreign policy has always been under suspicion for its hypocritical nature. Neither the MCC nor Ambassador Hunt’s action on Monday exonerated the U. S and speaking here as a citizen of the U.S, I consider it a shame. I expect a lot from the United States of America, to say the least. We cannot in one breath be giving hope to the people of Sierra Leone and in another breath acting in a manner that suggests that we are engaged in hypocrisy and double standards.
It is still possible that the MCC might still not re-admit Bio into the MCC Compact in December until he proves his commitment to implementing all the reforms about to be suggested by the tripartite committee to be set up after the internationally mediated post-election dialogue between the ruling SLPP and the opposition APC. That is not the concern of the many Sierra Leoneans I have spoken to about this matter. Their worry is that the MCC’s falsified scorecards and the mixed messages from the U.S will embolden Maada Bio to commit worse atrocities including curtailing democratic and human rights, as well as the rule of law. And this will be a tragedy of calamitous proportions to the country.