Former president Koroma’s security withdrawn

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 May 2019:

A new political row has broken between the SLPP government and the main opposition APC, after the government withdrew security personnel attached to former President Ernest Bai Koroma, without consultation – it is understood.

Writing yesterday in a public statement, president Koroma accused the police of the “abrupt transfer and replacement” of his security by the Sierra Leone Police without “consultation”.

This is what the former president’s statement  said:

“Government Withdraws State Security Attached to former President Ernest Bai Koroma

Freetown – 11th May, 2019.

“The Office of Former President Ernest Bai Koroma hereby informs the general public and the international community that effective today, 1300 hours local time, all state security attached to former President Ernest Bai Koroma have been withdrawn.

“This comes after a follow up meeting this afternoon 11th May, 2019, between the former President and the Brigade Commander North – Brigadier David Alpha – and the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) North – AIG Ambrose Michael Suvula.

“Both the Brigade Commander and the AIG informed the former President that while the state would not impose on him any security personnel that he did not approve of, their instructions were to withdraw the security detail currently attached to him contrary to Part III – Miscellaneous Retiring Benefits (13 -22) of The Pensions and Retiring Benefits of Presidents and Vice – Presidents Act No 2 of 1986.

“The general public would recall that an official Memo was issued on Thursday, 9th May, 2019, by the Sierra Leone Police directing the withdrawal of the police security personnel attached to the former President as well as the deployment of a set of new personnel.

“However, the former President had no prior information about such changes and only happened to stumble upon such critical changes to his personnel security detail after the said memo was disseminated on social media.

“As a result of this, the former President objected to the abrupt changes owing to the fact that he was neither notified nor consulted prior to the changes. He then urged the Inspector General of Police to revert to the status quo.

“Unfortunately, the state has insisted on the decision to withdraw the personnel and in effect, the former President is now left without any state security”. END OF STATEMENT

What political observers find troubling is the way highly sensitive matters of national importance and ramifications are being exploited for political reasons by all sides.

How communication between the government and the former president could have broken down to such appalling level, beats anyone’s imagination, and needs sorting out fast.

There ae rumours the former president is now seeking security personnel from ECOWAS and in particular, from neighbouring Guinea.

If true, this could lead to a major escalation of the current political conflict between the ruling SLPP and the main opposition APC.

A very dangerous precedent has been set by the SLPP government, and this does not bode well for Sierra Leone’s fragile peace. Common sense must prevail.

See the press statement here:

1 Press Release – Government withdraws state security attached to former president Koroma


  1. Here is an eye-catching Headline: “Sierra Leone’s former president expresses concern over his safety”.Quote: “Sierra Leone’s former president, Ernest Bai Koroma has rejected the “abrupt transfer and replacement” of his state security details” unquote, by Umaru Fofana, a Sierra Leonean born BBC News World Service stringer, based in Freetown, Sierra Leone of all places, a rare feat, to be based in your own country. The guy can pull strings (get it, strings?).

    Here we go again, another quote,” Former president Koroma’s security withdrawn”, shouted Abdul Rashid Thomas on top of his lungs, literally destroying his vocal cords (have you been smoking something?) and in the process, eclipsing and upsetting his own newspaper’s normal decorum.

    To be sure, if constitutionality were to prevail in Sierra Leone and concomitantly strive to ensure civility, along with lasting peace, the rule of law must first and foremost be seen to be in vogue without preconditions, irrespective of the beneficiary.

    This means all well-meaning state protocols; signatories to deserving documentations of local, national and international significance must be observed, adhered to and supported.

    The expressed benefits accorded to former presidents and vice presidents are well documented in the 1985 constitution under president Joseph Saidu Momoh and are not be abrogated, except by the cabinet (government) with consultation of parliament.
    Matter of fact, the finance Minister at any given time is mandated to ensure compliance to such constitutionally mandated protocols, regardless of who the retirees are or whom it benefits.

    There are myriads of benefits that go along with the retirement of former presidents, who have “served no less than twelve months as president”. But for the purposes of the topic at hand, emphasis is placed upon the issue of security.

    Here is an appetizer, a retired President shall be provided, at the expense of the State, a life-long household staff comprising of two cooks, two stewards, two cleaners, two gardeners, two laundrymen and one domestic supervisor.
    In addition, one confidential secretary, one private secretary, two office messengers, and all salaries of these workers are paid by the state.

    Former presidents, and vice presidents are literally taken care of by the state. Apparently during and after their service. I bet you didn’t know that.

    Security personnel are also the responsibility of the state provided to the former presidents, and even vice presidents, thanking them? for their service to the state regardless of how they performed while in office.

    The constitution expressly states that “reasonable but adequate security shall be provided for the protection of a retired President, his family and his residence at the expense of the State”, comprising the following, three Police Officers not below the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police, thirty personal guards, and four watchmen.

    Reasonable but adequate security shall be provided for the protection of a retired Vice-President as well, his family and his residence at the expense of the State comprising six personal guards.

    The salaries of the security personnel described in subsections (1) and (2) of this section of the constitution shall be as approved by the Cabinet.

    Now the Bio government had indicated that occasional reshuffling of security personnel are the domain of the prevailing government. True. But constitutionally, security must be provided at all time to the president and vice president. At any given time, they must have their security detail. We live a crazy world.

    Reason given for this reshuffle or withdrawal, as I understand it, is that the former president is still an active head of his party.

    Hold on a second, Mr. government, whomsoever the APC wants their leader to be is totally within their prerogative, and it’s none of the government’s business.

    The APC can opt to have whomsoever they want as their leader. And that goes for any other party in Sierra Leone. It’s democracy, remember.

    The government should not dictate who other party’s leader should be. After all, when a party leader is elected or appointed by other parties, most likely than not, other parties may or may not like the chosen leader. But good luck with that. It’s understandable, because of rivalry or competition. But that’s what makes democracy work, does it not.

    On a final note, it looks a though the only thing African countries are copying from developed countries are their presidents life after life in the presidency: taking care of their presidents. They don’t copy democracy, they don’t copy anti corruption measures, and they don’t emulate social, economic, infrastructure, social justice, human rights and other ills that afflict their countries. God help us.

  2. Mr. Saidu Conteh, the sun will not always rise again (Physics lesson…) You are always threatening with violence and it will be interesting to know how old you are and where your family members are now presently. Will you be prepared to destroy the least we have in our country just to satisfy your thirst for power at all cost?

    Wait for the next election, restructure your party, modernise your leadership with smart and progressive politicians who wants nothing but the better of SALONE. Don’t let the love for EBK be more than that of the country and always remember that if the SUN should shine again it should shine for all, not only the selected few.

  3. The game between former president Ernest Koroma and president Julius Bio should be called ‘who’s the boss’? The security personnel around Ernest Koroma are employees of the government of Sierra Leone. This means that they can be withdrawn, rotated or even fired by the president of Sierra Leone as and when it pleases him without consulting Ernest Koroma.

    If EBK wants to have a say as to who should be in his security detail, then he must omojuba to president Bio. Absent that, he must be prepared for inconveniences. Former president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was never a trouble maker when he retired. Thus, he enjoyed a peaceful retirement until his death.

    Unlike Kabbah, EBK wants to lead his boys in making trouble in Salone. By the way, with EBK’s much vaunted popularity, why does he even need bodyguards? I am sure he will be safe in any corner of Salone. Or if he is not pleased with the guards assigned to him, why does he not hire private bodyguards with his ill-gotten wealth?

    Many Sierra Leoneans including myself are troubled with this security withdrawal issue taking place in our country recently. To be honest, I don’t know the rules that determine the withdrawal of the security details/personnel of former heads or vice presidents. What I do know and believe in is, to respect our former heads of state, no matter how they performed in office.

    It is disgracefully unacceptable to embarrass or disrespect them. All former presidents are the REAL ME. Believe me. This whole mess started with the way all the previous heads of state(Former Supreme head of State(who is the current president), late President Ahmed Tejan Kabba and former President Ernest Koroma) treated former head of state Captain Valentine Strasser(no pension, no security personnel/detail) in my view. Then was the security withdrawal issue of former VP Chief Sam Sumana and now, former President Ernest Koroma. Does the government have the right to take such actions under the law or is it a privilege that is granted by any sitting government to past presidents or vice Presidents?

    If it is a privilege given/granted by the government of the day, then, there is no need to argue or QUACK QUACK. However, I have confidence in the present IG whom I believe will handle this situation fairly and make the necessary recommendations according to law.
    It is very difficult to criticise, address or make any sensible comments on this issue, if we do not know the terms or rules of granting former presidents and former vice presidents with security personnel/details.

    Until we know, let us wait and see what the reactions from the IG and other government organs responsible for this issue will decide. If it is a privilege granted by sitting governments, then the same will happen to former presidents and vice presidents in the future. Former vice presidents from the Tejan Kaba era will not be spared. Also, President Bio will be treated the same way in the future when he leaves office. What is good for the GOOSE is good for the GANGER.

    So, parliament has to pass legislation to solve this problem. But as everyone knows, this PARLIAMENT does not do anything. Approval rating very low. They just sit in that well staring at each other. Since they promised to bring a swift and speedy conclusion on the AUDITOR GENERALS report, nothing has been heard till now from them, let alone legislation for security withdrawal for former heads of states. SAD.

    We, Sierra Leoneans always take things for granted I reckon. Only few people were asking why was Captain Strasser not given a pension at least when he left office? Few people condemned the withdrawal of the security personnel/details of former vice president Chief Sam Sumana. Now, everybody is shouting LOUDER and LOUDER when former President Ernest Koroma is facing the same problem. Is that Fair? Talking to myself.

    Finally, I hope the government will reconsider its decision and reinstate the full security personnel/details of former president Koroma. Former President Ernest Koroma and Former Vice President Chief Sam Sumana deserve respect.

  5. I personally believe that former President Koroma has succeeded in dividing his political party and our nation for years and still believes that as the chairman for lifetime of the APC, he has the power to derail the peace and tranquility which the SLPP has struggled to build after the 10 years civil war.

    The APC succeeded after the first year of the late President Tejan Kabba when they ginger up lots of incitement within the military and the public which eventually motivated former military leader Johnny Paul Koroma, who also hailed from Bombali district, who then invited late rebel leader Foday Sankoh whose final base was also Makeni to destroy our nation and democracy for over a year.

    This time around, the SLPP government is not taking any chances, because the signs are boldly written on the wall that the present leader and chairman of the main opposition APC party is still bent on making our country ungovernable.

    Former President Koroma has already succeeded in commanding his red beret members of parliament that he personally handpicked at his former Hill Station resident, during the process of awarding party symbols when they walked out of parliament just to give the impression to the world that our country is not united.

    Who knows what will be his next move. I personally commend the security apparatuses to send a clear message to the APC party leader that they are not taking any chances this time around as was the case of former President Kabba.

    Former President Koroma deliberately chose Makeni as his base just like Foday Sankoh and Johnny Paul, even though the Chinese spent millions of dollars on his Goderich home as reward for his shady contracts. My prediction is sooner or later, the people of Makeni will rise up against him and turn him over to the government when they realize that his major motive is to destabilize our nation.

  6. Rainy days come and go for such is the way of Existence. But there are other rainy days that have nothing to do with Mother natures exquisite grand design of rotating the four Seasons tirelessly ad infinitum. True. Listen to this – many and countless are rainy and dark days that men create for others bringing them untold sufferings that are conceived in the darkest clouds of mistrust, mischief, pride, arrogance and greed.

    For example, in Rwanda where the worst genocide ever in the history of the world was committed – a heavy downpour, accompanied by the storms of historical prejudices, tribalism, malice and bigotry was conjured out of thin air by a handful of Political magicians, selfish and heartless men, anxious to hold positions of preeminence and power over others.

    It was a clash between two tribes – the Hutus and the Tutsis, both resembling swords sharpened for ages, by hatred, discontent, bitterness and resentments – and as we all know, the end result was a frightening, mind boggling catastrophe.

    It all started with a tiny spark – little injustices, threats and intimidations here and there, continuing for a while and without any warning the tiniest spark ignited, creating an unstoppable, volatile firestorm.

    Sadly, it didn’t end there folks. The next thing they saw was the huge mouth of genocide opening wide, chewing and swallowing thousands and millions in one gulp. Remember, It all began with a tiny spark! And sadly, the same eerie beginnings can be seen in Sierra Leone today. There are sparks everywhere, some coming directly from State House, others being thrown off the balconys of the headquarters of SLPP. Intuition tells me, fire is soon to come.

    Intimidations, insults, arrests, threats, blatant disregard for the law and the rights of others, are all nothing but troubling fiery sparks that can be clearly seen in our society today. And now it is obvious that the satisfaction coming from those sparks are slowly dwindling, reducing and becoming less fulfilling. So the mischief makers assembled themselves and decided that a change was needed – upgrade the attack, target the biggest fish in the pond.

    The SLPP thinks we are at war and now their aim and strategy in self defense is to create ceaselessly burning, unquenchable political fires to secure themselves. In case you were not aware, the leader of the Opposition has now become their newest target. A big fish to fry.

    This is madness. Once have I said it, twice repeated it, and thrice did I insist saying – The SLPP is not here to govern peacefully but to create confusion, promote prejudice, and settle old scores. I will always stand by those words. But they shouldn’t forget that the APC knows how to fight back, and our gloves and armour are unbreakable, because they are made of iron and steel.

    Be advised. Leave the trivialities alone, and govern in peace. The former President is not a threat to the government or the society, so why should they decide to change his security detail without respectfully consulting him first? Something is cooking somewhere, but rest assured, they will have to eat whatever it is they have fried, boiled or baked themselves.

    EBK did the right thing, letting the world know what they are doing to him – We will be watching like Lions looking at their prey, patiently waiting to seize and subdue with overwhelming strength. Quit fanning the flames of disharmony and give the highest priority to governance instead. Leave the opposition out of your meaningless fights and finger pointing…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  7. I really hate to drop this comment but I have to..just to inform you all that are politically inclined to wrong precedence..what goes around comes around. Maada Bio will soon step out and become a former president. His security is surely going to be changed for the same reasons you all are advocating now.

    Because I want to believe that this current argument that you guys are giving us here now is surely not going to work when the tables are turned the other way…That is why setting a good precedent is the only way forward, not the other way round.

  8. Could someone please tell me what security personnel or level of security was assigned to ex- head of state Valentine Strasser? It would be interesting to know, because I may be missing a point here.

  9. Former president Ernest Bai Koroma must learn that there is a big difference between being president and being a retired president. A retired president does not have a say in matters relating to the security of the nation. That task is in the domain of the current president. Also, a retired president does not have a right to national security briefings.

    The president has the right to order the rotation of the former president’s security detail. When Ahmad Tejan Kabbah retired from the presidency, no one saw him throwing his weight around or inciting members of his party to disobey the law.

    On the contrary, former president Koroma has not been a quiet retiree. He is still the leader of the APC and still throwing his weight around as far as political and social issues are concerned. This makes him fair game in the current government’s politicking and security activities.

    The current government must ensure that our nation is secure at all times. If that calls for withdrawing or rotating the former president’s security detail, so be it. Former president Koroma should suck it up and move on.

    • The most foolish cooment ever seen. You better work and put it in the constitution, so that any ex-prezo should resign from politics.

    • Former President Koroma has a major role to see peace and stability where there is National Cohession. He has the right to dictate for his personal security especially when there is a bundle of suspicions. EBK worked with Pa Kabba and Mr Solomon Berewa peacefully, with no prejudice.

      At times the current SLPP looks like a party that is not following our Forefathers’ dreams. Even current SLPP members are intimidated for saying or asking for things in the name of Sierra Leone.

      I am not supporting anyone to bring instability. But Paopa which we voted is moving in a reverse direction.

    • My comments here is let us learn to respect leaders. The Bible does state in the book of To.ans 13:1. If we don’t stop to demoralize our leaders it will be a big problem for this nation. Why people don’t want to say the right thing in this country, instead we brought in instances that are not in place for a leader.

      Subsequently even our maker do advise us not to revenge and I see no reason why this government is putting all this witch hunt against the past government. Sierra Leoneans let us stop this attitude. Our president, this is Sierra Leone you are ruling, not a party. I lay my case for now.

  10. Why blame SLPP government for changing former president’s state securities? The national government always act on security problems of the state and who knows what is cooking up in former president’s camp that has warranted national government to act swiftly.

    We must be mindful of making hasty conclusions especially the former president’s persistence grip on politics. I think the national government is not leaving any stone unturned when it comes to the security of the state.

    Former president is still in the political mainstream of the opposition APC, And taken into consideration all the undemocratic behaviors APC MPs are putting up by the day, government needs to be smart to do changes.

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