Amin Kef Sesay: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 01 November 2022:
President Julius Maada Bio and First Lady Fatima Maada Bio, last Friday 28th September 2022, hosted neighbouring Guinea’s military Junta leader, Col. Mamady Doumbouya, who was on an unannounced, surprised visit to Freetown, said to be geared towards strengthening mutual bilateral relationship between Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The Guinean military strongman was received by a high-powered delegation comprising the Vice President, Senior Government officials including the IGP and CDS at the border town of Gbalamuya, Kambia District.
They later headed for State House in Freetown where the Guinean Leader and President Julius Maada Bio held bilateral discussions on the peace and tranquillity of both countries.
It would be recalled that on Monday, 11 October 2021, President Julius Maada Bio departed Sierra Leone for Conakry, Guinea on the invitation of the Military Head of State, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.
During the one-day working visit they discussed security co-operation issues between the two neighbouring countries, the restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Guinea and the ECOWAS democratic transition roadmap.
It should be noted that although the Republic of Guinea was suspended by ECOWAS from all Community activities due to the military coup, ECOWAS member States are not prevented from engaging the Republic of Guinea on bilateral issues.
The Guinean Head of State departed Freetown for Guinea at the end of his one-day working visit.
According to BBC Umaru Fofanah, President Bio is the first head of state to visit Guinea since ECOWAS slammed sanctions on the regime following the military takeover.
It has been speculated that the Sierra Leone leader pushed for the final resolution of the issue of the disputed border town of Yenga and the joint security patrols along the two countries’ borders which stalled following the coup in Guinea.
Also speculated was that the new military Head of State, Col. Mamady Doumbouya briefed his guest on their plan of transition to civilian rule.
However, according to Sierra Leone’s Vice President, Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh the Guinean Head of State, Colonel Mamady Doumbuya was on a one-day working visit to bolster the strong socio-economic, cultural and political ties between the people of Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Madda Bio might turned out to be the most cold blooded President that like to curry favors and playing the devil’s advocate for the military junta under Col.Mamady Dumbunya in Guinea .Bio is working a tight rope in maintaining under the radar relationship between his government and the military junta that is now running the affairs of Guinea .After the ouster of Former would be dictator , Alpha Conde , that wanted to change the constitution of Guinea to run for a third term only to be blindsided and removed through popular support by the military , that Boi should be careful not to be seen by the rest of the ECOWAS leaders as playing the double game with them .They want to maintain the pressure on the Guinean military junta until they honor their promise of handing over to a civilian elected government .How does Bio’s actions help speed up such a desired outcome is at worst discribed as giving succor to a military dictatorship .He doesn’t want to be seen as trying to undermine the sanctions regime imposed by ECOWAS and the international community . We understand Sierra Leone that shares a deep history with Guinea is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea .Boi needs to trade carefully here because the present military junta are under strict sanction regimes imposed by ECOWAS members state , for which we are part of. And the former Guinean military dictator Daddis Camara will soon be on trial for ordering the killing of more than hundred and fifty youths during his time in office .
So Col Mamady Dumbunya is making his predecessor accounts for his past actions .Can we see Boi stands trial for the killing of unarmed prisoners at Pa Demba road prison in Conarky not Freetown? Bio needs all the friends .We’ve seen former African leaders taken to task and forced to account for their actions during their time in office .It is not beyond the realm of possibilities .On the other hand, Sierra Leone is virtually hugged by the Republic of Guinea. Events in Guinea have always impacted us. And we all know dating back to the seventies majority of our leaders that are forced out of power always end up seeking political asylum in Guinea .Prime Minister, Saika Stevens, in the late sixties after the disputed 1967 elections , to the 1992 overthrow of president Joseph Momoh , the overthrow of Captain Valentine Strasser , by Bio ,and later when Lt.Con .
Jonnny Paul Koroma overthrew the internationally recognized elected government of Preaident Tejan Kabbah in the midst 90s. Guinea /Conarkry has always been their first port of call One would have thought Monrovia just like Sierra Leoen founded after the abolition of the barbaric salve trade and English as their official language would have make more sense for our former leaders to flee to .But none of them do .Maybe Boi is preparing the ground work in case he lose the 2023 presidential elections. So his safety and security is guaranteed .Is better to be safe than sorry .Make no mistake, during his five years of reign of terror , he have burned more bridges than he was prepared to build especially with the opposition parties .The social and economic ties between this two countries cannot be underestimated .Despite the sanctions , the movement of people and the trade volume between the two countries continue as usual .So it is vital the joint security patrol between the two country over the disputed Yenga border issues is resolved .At the same time the Bio government should encourage the military to stick to their schedule to return to the barracks at some point in the future .