Kabs Kanu: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 January 2024:
The Minority Leader of the opposition All People’s Congress ( APC ) in the Sierra Leone House of Parliament, Hon. Abdul Kargbo, has explained to COCORIOKO why he and other parliamentary members of the APC party paid a courtesy call on President Bio on Tuesday.
The highly-respected young parliamentary leader of the largest opposition party in Sierra Leone said the meeting with President Bio was in the supreme interest of the nation. He was responding to questions from the well-read COCORIOKO Newspaper.
In putting in a telephone call to Hon. Kargbo this morning for primary information on the meeting, the Publisher of the COCORIOKO Newspaper, Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu , told the APC leader of Parliament that political events in Sierra Leone today have become very contentious and subject to lots of interpretations and in many cases misconceptions, especially when people are not made to understand the motives behind actions and their results.
Kargbo said that, in this respect, comrades of the APC needed to be appraised with reasons for the engagement with President Bio from the horses’ mouth to quell any possibility of some of them being left in the dark about what prompted their visit to State House and misinterpreting the motives of the MPs.
Hon. Kargbo said the engagement with President Bio emanated from concerns APC MPs raised in Parliament about the high and dangerous level of animosity between the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) and the APC, how it was affecting every facet of life in the country and the dire need for the Government to do something towards defusing the tension in the nation, before things get out of hand.
The young law-maker said the APC MPs pointed out that the arrest and charges brought against former President Ernest Koroma have escalated the state of confrontation and unease in the country; and they emphasized that no action relating to peace and stability in Sierra Leone will yield positive results if Ex-President Ernest Koroma continues to be where he is presently, given that he remains a hugely popular and beloved former head of state.
Kargbo said as a result of the concerns raised by them and the magnitude of the situation , some SLPP MPs agreed with them that it was a daunting problem, and their concerns required the attention of President Maada Bio. It was this that propelled them to make the courtesy call on President Bio.
Hon. Kargbo said that before they made the trip to State House, they consulted with former President Ernest Koroma, who, acknowledging the primacy of the peace and security of the country, agreed with their plans to engage with President Bio. But Ex-President Koroma warned them very strongly not to make any attempt whatsoever to plead on his behalf because he was very confident that the government has no evidence against him that he took part in or had foreknowledge of the November 26 events, which the SLPP regime has described as a coup attempt .
Hon. Kargbo said that the meeting with President Bio was very harmonious and fruitful . The President received them well and the APC MPs were able to express their concerns to him about matters of democracy, rule of law and about the chaotic and destabilizing state of the nation today.
“We left nothing unsaid,” the MP told Cocorioko. “We even told him about the way the Ernest Koroma issue has polarized and divided the nation and our concerns for the peace and security of the country.“
Hon. Kargbo said he told President Bio that the treatment being meted out to ex-President Koroma will set a bad precedent in the country and the same thing could be done to him and other presidents when they leave power.
Responding, President Maada Bio , the parliamentarian said, thanked them profusely for going to State House to engage him and he assured the APC MPs that the Ernest Koroma problem will be solved not later than this week.
“President Bio further told us that he wants us to remain engaged because there was need for us to work together to help defuse the rising tensions in the country.“
Hon. Kargbo told COCORIOKO that he himself believed in peaceful approaches to solving the problems of the country. He strongly denounced chaos and said it was counter-productive and would not serve any good purpose. He stressed his belief that only such peaceful and constructive engagements between the SLPP and the APC would resolve the country’s problems. He was therefore glad that he and APC MPs went to State House to engage President Bio. “We had a fruitful discussion and I am pleased,” he added.