Bob Massally: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 April 2023:
“The continuation of these trials in running up to Elections certainly disadvantages those candidates involved; and as in the case of Dr Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara, it is image denting and potentially affecting his popularity and that of his political party.
“To the ordinary man the trial depicts the opposition Flagbearer as untrustworthy and continues to expose him as being corrupt. This will inevitably provide credence to the others in the presidential race and definitely thwart possibilities of a level playing ground,” (Sorie I. Kanu: The road to 2023 elections in Sierra Leone: A focus on the main actors; Sierra Leone Telegraph, 20 April 2023).
What the chequered history of Sierra Leone has taught us is that an accusation or sentence of corruption against politicians in Sierra Leone, does not matter one bit when it comes to their ascendancy to the highest office.
Late former President Kabbah was a convict in the 60s, and he in turn implicated NPRC’s Julius Maada Bio in a ‘contractgate’ and passport deal in the 90s. Yet, both Kabbah and Bio became occupant of State House as President of Sierra Leone.
In his analysis, Sorie I. Kanu said he fears the ongoing judicial shenanigans against the APC presidential flagbearer Samura Kamara (Photo) is bound to dent his election chances. I just want to remind that every APC/SLPP opposition leader in this century has increased his share of the presidential vote by over 10% from one election cycle to the other to clinch the Presidency.
Incumbent political parties in Sierra Leone hardly perform, so the long-suffering people of Sierra Leone will always have a pang of regret, thinking they probably made a mistake by not voting for the previous loser and try to make amends in the next chance given to vote.
Ernest Bai Koroma increased his vote share from a lowly 20% in 2002 to 55% in 2007. Julius Maada Woni Bio from a reasonable 37% in 2012 to a crawl-over-the-line of 51.8% in 2018.
Samura Kamara, President Bio’s opponent in the June 24th presidential poll, will be starting from a high-base of 48.2%, needing only a snail-pace to crawl over the finishing line with 300,000 – 400,000 more votes.
Considering the dire unprecedented economic situation in the country due to the incompetency, profligacy and corruption of the Bio-led government, and to be a bit charitable – the recurring global geo-political and other crises, voters in Sierra Leone are not a happy bunch.
Adding in the cocktail of the abysmal human rights record of every regime the Retired Brigadier, now President Bio (Photo) has ever been associated with, and the stoked demographic tensions and security fears in Sierra Leone, the ruling government has a reason to be presently shaking in her boots and prowling around with paranoia and hysteria.
Please read what the late President Tejan Kabbah said about Maada Bio in 1997. Verbatim excerpts from the speech delivered by President Tejan Kabbah on January 2, 1997, during the launching of the Gunboat and Landing Craft donated by the government of China:
“A number of individuals and business interests entered into all kinds of dubious transactions with that regime in the name of national defense. At the time the NPRC regime left office, hundreds of billions of Leones and over a billion dollars had been paid out from Government funds on such contracts and as of today’s date are still owed by similar sums and are being claimed against Government.
“A number of these contracts are at best dubious and the beneficiaries of some of them are either members of the NPRC top hierarchy or their relations or business associates.
“Another instance of the reckless and irresponsible manner in which the affairs of state were conducted by the NPRC regime is in the granting of a general power of attorney to Steven Bio, the brother of the erstwhile Head of State and government, to conclude all and any defense and military contracts anywhere in the world and at his sole discretion, as the accredited agent of the Government of Sierra Leone.
“By virtue of such unusual authority, Steven Bio concluded contracts running into tens of millions of dollars. There is no evidence that most of those contracts have been performed but Steven Bio has already been paid millions of dollars on them and he is claiming further amounts as arrears of payments.
“Furthermore, in his capacity as Chairman of NPRC, Brigadier J.M. Bio himself on the 1st February 1996 few days before he left office, caused the government to pay into the account of his private firm, P. Banga Investment Limited the sum of Le235,000,000 in respect of contracts that the firm had purportedly entered into with government for the supply of spare parts for the replacement of helicopter engines which did not belong to Government.
“Incidentally, it was into the account of this same firm in the Channel Islands that Brigadier Bio paid his own share of US$400,000 from the passport deal which was disclosed recently,” the excerpt ends.”
For other sources on this, please read: