Former President Koroma of Sierra Leone announces he is stepping down from politics

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 April 2022:

After months of intense speculation as to whether former President Koroma of Sierra Leone will step down from office as the chairman and leader of the country’s main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) Party, he has today announced that he is stepping down to make way for a new leader and chairman.

A statement issued by the former President’s office in Makeni, says that “he strongly believes that he has been privileged by God and his people, to serve as President of Sierra Leone for two terms; and as the Leader and Chairman of the APC, for even a much longer period.”

“He says it is now time for him to leave the political stage and continue serving Sierra Leone as a statesman. President Koroma notes that he is looking forward to his continued contribution to the promotion of democracy, peace, security and stability in Africa and other parts of the world.”

“The former president and outgoing Chairman and Leader of the APC, therefore, thank the APC and the people of Sierra Leone profoundly for the privilege accorded him to serve them. However, he wishes to reassert that it is time for other great Comrades to take the great APC forward.”

“The outgoing Chairman and Leader further notes that the APC, being the great institution it is, is capable of a smooth and successful transition which we have clearly demonstrated over the last four difficult years. He therefore he appeals to membership to move on in unity with the great task ahead.”

Recently and in the last several months, the former President has held high level discussions with various heads of international institutions working in the country, including the United Nations, foreign Ambassadors and High Commissioners from Europe and the USA, about the country’s political climate and the need to reduce rising tension between the ruling SLPP party and opposition parties.

Presidential and general elections are due to take place in June next year. There are speculations, the APC party’s 2018 presidential candidate – Dr Samura Kamara (Photo), may be re-elected by the party ahead of those elections as its 2023 presidential candidate, following his very narrow margin defeat at the 2018 polls by Julius Maada Bio to clinch the presidency.

This is the full statement issued by former President Koroma’s Office today:

Former President of Sierra Leone and the outgoing Chairman and Leader of the All People’s Congress (APC), Ernest Bai Koroma, on various occasions clearly stated that he would not be contesting for any position in the APC.

Despite this, and although the 1991 Constitution is very clear on the presidential term limit, there seems to have been some anxiety about a political comeback, which is being fuelled by continued calls by several groups for his active involvement in party and national politics.

In the first week of January 2022, the attention of the Office of the Former President was drawn to a social media campaign with samples of T-shirts and baseball caps calling on the statesman to re-engage in national politics. His Office then released a press statement, dated 6th January 2022, distancing him from such calls. He reasserted his position that he was preparing and looking forward to relinquishing his current position at the party’s upcoming National Delegates’ Conference (NDC).

Also, the general public may recall that a few days ago a group of APC supporters resuscitated the campaign for the outgoing Chairman and Leader to seek re-election in the upcoming NDC. In response to this, former President Ernest Bai Koroma wishes to reiterate that he has no interest whatsoever in party or national office.

He strongly believes that he has been privileged by God and his people, to serve as President of Sierra Leone for two terms; and as the Leader and Chairman of the APC, for even a much longer period.

He says it is now time for him to leave the political stage and continue serving Sierra Leone as a statesman. President Koroma notes that he is looking forward to his continued contribution to the promotion of democracy, peace, security and stability in Africa and other parts of the world. (Photo above: Former President Koroma and the US Ambassador to Sierra Leone).

The former president and outgoing Chairman and Leader of the APC, therefore, thank the APC and the people of Sierra Leone profoundly for the privilege accorded him to serve them. However, he wishes to reassert that it is time for other great Comrades to take the great APC forward.

The outgoing Chairman and Leader further notes that the APC, being the great institution it is, is capable of a smooth and successful transition which we have clearly demonstrated over the last four difficult years. He therefore he appeals to membership to move on in unity with the great task ahead.

“While the Party is concluding its constitutional reforms, the litigations and preparing for its convention, I urge the general membership to embrace the prospects of a new leadership including the chairmanship of the party, and to work together for victory in June 2023”.

He also reassures that the APC will continue to work with all stakeholders including the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), the Judiciary, and other actors to ensure that the transition process is smooth and that a new executive is ushered in as soon as possible.

In this faithful period of Ramadan and Lent, the Former President and outgoing Chairman and Leader sends his best wishes to all Sierra Leoneans and his prayers for a unified, peaceful, democratic, and prosperous country.

14 Comments

  1. ‘Can someone let me know if a crook can arrest himself?’

    This is a brilliant question, Mr Santhkie Sorie, and thank you ever so much for asking it. It is clearly meant to be a rhetorical one, and quite rightly so. For who in his right mind would expect a police chief who doubles as a phoney PhD holder to step forward and get arrested, detained and investigated for a criminal act in which he was a willing participant and of which he is a direct beneficiary?

  2. Alimamy Turay, thank you for disagreeing with portions of what I wrote. This is how it should be, it’s what this forum is all about – to agree to disagree in a civilised way. It means I can hold a debate with you for hours. Indeed all our public figures in the country have question marks against their names, we are just looking for the least satanic amongst them. Yes I do wonder quite often how Bio became a brigadier in a flash. Shall we just say he was/is a paper brigadier, just like the paper PhD holders that are being uncovered, including the man who is expected to investigate fraud in our country – inspector-general Sovula. What an irony? Sierra Leone is in trouble . The man designated to catch crooks is himself a crook. Can someone let me know if a crook can arrest himself?

  3. Thanks Mr Santhkie Sorie for recognising my analysis of the current political game play in the country. I have been following your comments in this forum, and may I say, I admire your competence and attention to detail in the English Language. Although an impending Commission of Inquiry (COI) against Maada Bio and his cabal of thieves was not the theme of my comment, on the whole, I respect your views and opinions on the subject. Without any hard feelings, I would like to say that your comments would come out much better if you refrain from ‘corlaying’ about certain characters in the politics of Sierra Leone – especially without reflecting to their previous performance in the administration of the country. What makes you think that Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella – an offshoot of the present corrupt SLPP regime – would not behave the same way Maada Bio is misbehaving today?

    I think part of the problem the country is facing today is attributed to the mentality of Sierra Leoneans themselves. We call our Presidents ‘Pa’ but they are not our fathers. Their mandate is a social contract between them and the people – the latter being the employer. But they intimidate, harass, and even think they can kill us with impunity. They don’t even care about us. We admire them for the fake titles they assume. It is only in Sierra Leone that one can jump four ranks in the military (from second lieutenant) and become a Brigadier, in a space of three months! What about the Lieutenant, Captain, Major and Colonel positions? This reminds me of ‘Yea Dominion Yea’ …

  4. AlimAmy Turay, please forget about a commission of inquiry into the Bio administration, nothing will come of it , it may even be stillborn. What have been the consequences of the last commission of inquiry? I personally know people who have been able to hold on to their properties even though they could not justify how they got them before the commission of inquiry. It’s all an unconscionable game played on the people by APC and SLPP. Bio’s and his entourage’s hands have become just as filthy as those of Earnest Koroma and his gang. Would it surprise you if Bio refused to appear in public at an inquiry just as Earnest did? Do you happen to know the number of inquiries that have been held in the past whose findings and recommendations have come to grief?

    The only way out for us as a people is to deny SLPP and APC the presidency in 2023. We are now sixty one years old as a so-called independent people, but what’s independent about us when our leaders hitherto roam the world with a begging hat to keep us afloat; they have no national or personal pride. They should make us feel ashamed to be Sierra Leoneans.

    If we boot out both APC and SLPP in 2023 The Almighty will once more pay us attention with a Yomkella presidency, otherwise for the next sixty years we shall remain the same or worse. The sad reality is that most of us in this forum will be dead, buried and forgotten in another sixty years, and our grandchildren will be inching closer to retirement, even if they have just been delivered at the hospital this minute. Let us think about it. The fight is now, let us forget about tribe and region.

  5. The speed of the APC bandwagon heading towards State House was increasing exponentially and its momentum was approaching to that of a juggernaut, and if left unabated, the hopes and aspirations of the residents of State House would not only be shattered, but the party (SLPP) that catapulted them to that status face the likelihood of being wiped out from the political landscape of Sierra Leone. It all started with a devastating blow inflicted by the cunning Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella in front of the elders of Samu Chiefdom, in Kychum. Although the SLPP machinery was discounting the formation of the Consortium of Progressive Political Parties (COPPP), there was no doubt it was causing sleepless nights to the main occupants of State House. Something has to be done – COPPP must be destabilized! How best to destabilize it than utilizing Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) as a prodigal son? Though surprisingly, this crafty move by the SLPP hierarchy left President Maada Bio tantalized as the shrewd Dr Yumkella responded to the SLPP invitation to rejoin the party with the now familiar phrase, ‘Ah hol word’.

    By and large, losing State House was not only the greatest fear of Maada Bio and his First Lady, Fatima Bio, but the consequences of an impending Commission of Inquiry (COI) that will obliterate their allegedly ill-acquired wealth and the prospect of languishing in Pademba Road prisons for quite some time, were deeply resonating in their minds. Notwithstanding this fate, perhaps a surprise win in the APC stronghold of Koya Chiefdom would calm the nerves of a desperate SLPP faction by inherently decelerating the wind of change of their arch-rival – the mighty APC. However, it was a tall order for the SLPP, as the people of Koya stood firm and rejected their Leone-strapped call. Even their new signing Alpha Kanu (aka AK11) – who was an APC renegade – disappointingly failed to make a breakthrough in what appears to be his own territory.

    The defeat of the SLPP in the Koya by-election on the 26 March 2022, coincided with the maturity of the APC new constitution – one of the aggravating hurdles that had impeded the APC from holding their National Convention and thereby leaving the SLPP to monopolize the political space. This left the SLPP in jittery mode with only their trump card left to play – the Judiciary. With the APC new constitution at hand, this has rendered the litigation by Alfred Peter Conteh – an alleged SLPP operative – against the leadership of the APC, without any substance. And in an ideal situation, the Judiciary was only left with the inevitable option of ruling in favour of the APC leadership. Yet, to no avail … This was the crux of the matter that led to the somehow unpredictable decision of the former President on the 13 April 2022. As the current Chairman and Leader of the APC, Dr Earnest Bai Koroma knew that any delay to the APC National Convention will not be in favour of the party winning the 2023 Parliamentary and Presidential elections. Therefore, in all honesty, this was the appropriate time for him to exit the political arena in the interest of the party and the people of Sierra Leone. Now, what will be the outcome of the Alfred Peter Conteh litigation?

  6. Attention mesdames et messieurs! Brilliant and cautious strategic political move there by former President Ernest Koroma. You don’t need to be a political scientist to crack the retirement of Dr Ernest Koroma at this time. “Talk half, Lef half” till campaign time. Yeah.
    Former President Ernest Bai Koroma’s retirement, comes at the right time for the APC. The former President did not say this: “I will not participate actively in politics if I retire”. Also, there is no date when he will retire. Check me if I’m wrong. Let’s not forget that the former President, President Obama of the US, are very popular in their respective political parties and countries. I don’t see how this valuable political character will disappear in Sierra Leone politics. In my view, his retirement will trigger severe political consequences in both his party and the SLPP. The APC should have been in severe political trouble two months ago if the former President had retired. In my view, he was very wise in kicking the political can down the road for the good of his party for four good years. Screaming and shouting about his retirement was for the birds and the inhabitants of cloud cuckoo land. Did they know that? Can you imagine? Anyway, let’s wait and see who the next flagbearer of the APC will be. God bless Sierra Leone.

  7. Personally, I’m skeptical about this man based on the fact that “It takes only one time to have the first impression, and that is the first time” and “ the first impression goes a long way”.
    In the first place, our country has never ran a parallel government called “ the office of the former president” This man is the lifetime leader of the APC , and his letterhead or statement of resignation has no party emblem ( the hot red burning sun ).
    Finally, “ Words are very powerful”, as he did the first time when he made the false promise to resign from politics within few months as former President Kabba, former Vice Presidents Berewa and Foe did. He supposed to hold a press conference in his party office, including the invitation of the 4 th estate ( SLAJ) members. But that will be very difficult for him because of “ Foolish Pride and Greed”. He still believe he is a “Demi-god”, because even the Almighty God who created Heaven and Earth spoke words before it became reality, as the scriptures stated,” The Lord said let there be light” and “ Go to the world and multiply”.
    The people of Sierra Leone are still waiting for his formal announcement on TV and radio rather than in front of his sycophants on social media.

  8. Ha ha ha koroma started well, but he ended up creating a mess at the end of his dispensation. Koroma craftily cooked up an election victory that was never and ever meant for Bio and his henchmen to win at all, creating a self inflicted wound. Dr. Koroma has blood in his hands. Look were you left your supporters in the wilderness of misery, misrule, poverty, terrrany, nepotism, trabalism, and lawlessness. If there’s a coup today in Sierra Leone, I strongly believe Dr. koroma, will definitely have to give an answer to the secrecy surrounding that elections. He deliberately have left his supporters in the dark.

    Dr. Koroma look at the mess you help manufacture or created. Sierra Leoneans are desperately languishing today more than ever before in our beloved country’s history. How will you become an elder statesman except for the naive and gullible. Your credentials are damaged. So why 4 wasted years at the helm of affairs, with nothing absolutely to show for it. Dr. Koroma, you have questionable end to dead Sierra Leoneans. You have blood in your hands.

  9. The stubbornness of Earnest Koroma has at last been uprooted and cast aside by those who for the past four years have wished for this day. A man is numerous things to different people. Earnest’s opponents in the APC must be making a little holiday in their hearts to see the back of him, they accuse him of undemocratic tendencies, a trait which they believe has subjected the party to turmoil, a key factor in the party’s defeat in 2018.

    Now that the knife has been driven in and Earnest is gasping for political breath, the reformers in the party must be eying Osman Foday Yansaneh as their next target to ready the party for the transformation it needs to give it the credentials of a true democratic outfit in which equal opportunity is the order of the day – autocracy is dead. The days of Siaka Stevens, Joseph Momoh and Earnest Koroma are heading for the sunset.

    It’s quite plausible that the recent diplomatic activities spearheaded by the Americans and British were aimed at persuading Earnest to bow out of the political scene for some fresh air to enter it, particularly within APC circles for the country to experience a reduction in overall political tension.

    Dr Sylvia Blyden is one APC operative who must be dancing “gumbay” or “milo jazz” since news broke about Earnest’s exit; she has been campaigning for it for a long time, seeing it as the only way the party can progress. The lesson Earnest should take from his bowing out is quite simple : Leave the scene when you are still wanted, not when you’re no longer wanted.

  10. Anyway thanks to God for this initial move though not a real one, because I am not convince. My question is, who’s the next man after him, has he secretly appointed someone to succeed him?. Why was this former stateman just reluctant all these years?, was he receiving a special payment as a life chairman, if not, then what was he hiding?. I believed every party has a policy in place within ,not a constitution, does APC party have a mandate, if yes can someone explain it for us?. Or else if you don’t have one; can the board members create one, like a “delegated legislation, no parking no waiting”?. I also thanks the full grown African leaders that are always making a valuable invitations, letting EBK attended all this to showed him what is democracy folks. Last week, his supporters took the street in Makeni town demanding for his stay as a life chairman, O boy; Ernest Bai Koroma thinks that we are fool?, I always repeated this, the 70s are gone.

    One of the most very important thing that the former President could have done, is to apologize strongly to the Sierra Leone people for his broken promises, during his tenure in office for good “eleven years”. I personally was expecting the former president H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma to come out and apologize to the whole nation, instead of doing it only to the APC party and it’s supporters. Was he not a President for the whole Sierra Leoneans? This stateman and the APC disgraced the “Kono people”, we get message for you comes 2023, by the power of God. Okay I agree with you in your statement that, APC is a great institution but if this is the case, Ernest has destroyed it gbata gbata.

    Last weekend I was watching the American news when I observed the former president of USA ,visited the white house for the first time over 5 years after leaving office, he never be a life chairman!. well now guess what, the law will started hunting. I do really respected our fellow brother Mr. Paolo Conteh, after APC betrayed him, he’s now focusing on himself and family, that what I wanted Chief Sam Sumana to do as well. Take care….

  11. I guess the PAOPA will now have to devise another excuse and blame game, hahaha. For the past 4yrs, Ernest Bai Koroma, a former president, has been a scapegoat for the SLPP abysmal failure in governance. You have got to wonder, how can a man without the control of the national coffers, the security sectors, no cabinet member, no influence on all the state institutions, etc., be an impediment to an economy recovery and infrastructural development?

    Has the current SLPP propose any economic development plans, along with infrastructural development that EBK has oppose or in extension his APC party? I honestly want to know if the APC and other opposition parties have during the past 4 years, blocked or oppose a single bill with economic and infrastructural benefits to the nation, that the SLPP as a government have propose, for them to be pointing fingers.

    Now, has EBK stand firm to fight for his reputation along with his APC existential survival, facing the relentless onslaught from the PAOPA regiment, with tendency to obliterate the opposition upon taking governance? You damn sure he has. That is the instinct of every human being. Backed into a wall, possibly facing total annihilation, you fight back. If only the SLPP have prioritize the nation’s economic and infrastructural development, as oppose to chasing after the opposition, with a mindset of obtaining absolute power, our country could have been better off 4yrs later. So now that EBK is stepping down, we are waiting to see who else will become the scapegoat.

  12. Former president koroma have finally thrown in the towel .The APC party one of the oldest political parties in Sirrra leone have over the years suffered political upheavals and reversal of political fortunes. As former president Koroma leaves the stage and hand over the political batton , to his admires and to stunch political opponents alike they may record this moment as the day the sun set on the grand old party .This is an end of an era full of good deeds the way he worked to hold the country together, especially during the EBOLA outbreaks and Flashing flooding and when some members of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed forces at Tekoh barracks, of all places were caught in planning and preparing to overthrow his government , but later released after being tried .And more recently in 2020 was hunded by Bio and the ACC in a political brinkmanship that almost endanger the security of Sierra Leone .In all this “MR COOL ” kept his cool and didn’t fell for Bio’s baits.

    Just like each and everyone of us , former president Koroma displayed the human condition, that no one is perfect.And we are all capable of making mistakes.And one of the mistakes he made was the unceremoniously sacking of former Vice President Chief Sam Sumana. It was one of the greatest upset during his term in office .On performance wise , I will give him a four star rating .I don’t know how well Bio is going to do by the time he retires ,but if we Judge him by his present performance,I don’t think he will get even a star rating .Maybe the worst President in the history of our tiny nation.I say this because his presidency happens in the age of social media .

    The possibilities for development is limitless.Bio and his supporters might feel their witch doctors prediction have finally come to pass .But as in the scriptures says “a generation comes and a generation goes but the world remains for ever.” but in Sierra Leone’s case the APC and the SLPP parties remains well for the forseible future, until Sierra Leoneans wake up and smell the coffee .The APC and the SLPP parties have been the two major parties in our political landscapes.Apart from the military intervention, both political parties has been used by different shades of characters as political vehicles to get elected to power .The reality of courses none of us knows what this two major parties stands for and what they have done to transform the fortunes of our human and natural resources in Sierra Leone .

  13. What a wasted 4years! He could’ve relinquished his chairman for life position and then continue to enjoy life peacefully. The former President may have seen the pending defeat come 2023 and decided to skilfully withdraw from his failed APC party chairmanship. Better late than never!

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