High tension, anxiety, fear, uncertainty everywhere: Democracy and stability have died in Sierra Leone

Kabs Kanu: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 December 2023:

Sierra Leone is sitting on tenterhooks and the atmosphere is charged with high tension, anxiety, edginess, fear and uncertainty everywhere, despite assurances by the SLPP Maada Bio government that things have returned to normal in the country after the alleged coup attempt of Sunday November 26.

There is uncertainty about what really happened in Freetown on Sunday November 26. While the arrest of Koita buttressed the SLPP Government’s claims that there was a coup attempt, it is believed that two different armed forces, one the government’s, operated that Sunday.

The invitation of ex- President Ernest Koroma by the CID to travel to Freetown to face investigations with respect to the alleged coup attempt and reports that, after two days of being interrogated at the CID, he has been put under house arrest until Monday when he will resume his meeting with the CID( Though it turned out to be false ) has exacerbated the tension, unease and apprehension in the country. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is still a hugely popular man in Sierra Leone, with millions of supporters across the country. Maada Bio knows he has to tread very carefully that he does not accuse Koroma falsely..

All kinds of divisive rumours abound in Sierra Leone. Many people who described the Novermber 26 shootings in the capital as a stage-managed coup attempt , have changed their perceptions and now believe there was actually an attempt to overthrow the Maada Bio government , after the arrest in Freetown of Amadu Koita Makolo, a leading government social media critic and former military officer earlier declared wanted by the government.

However, there are rumours that the SLPP Government, having learned of the plot, also moved ahead of the rebels and helped launch some of the armed attacks, including the release of hundreds of inmates at the Pademba Road Prisons.

The conspiracy theory is that the SLPP Government has extrajudicially murdered many of the political detainees that international interparty peace facilitators would require to be released as part of a peace agreement and so they attacked the prisons and emptied it of inmates so that they will have an excuse for not presenting when the time comes the political prisoners they had killed. Government supporters have denied these allegations.

Meanwhile, many Sierra Leoneans are condemning the alleged coup plotters for coming to destabilize the country further. COCORIOKO has heard quite a good number of Sierra Leoneans denouncing the alleged coup and damning the plotters that they should have left alone our country, already bedeviled by multitudes of sociopolitical , economic and deep security problems under the junta- styled government of President Bio.

Our reporters say that since the November 26 incidents, residents of Freetown and its environs and some parts of the country have been on edge. As seen on videos, Police and soldiers are raiding neighborhoods and openly and loudly threatening residents to release alleged coup plotters and prisons inmates at large or face dire consequences. Not only are they searching home and cars in traffics but they are stopping even civilians and subjecting them to barrages of questions and even searching their phones. Because of this, many people have become afraid to go out.

Many parents and guardians are still afraid to send their children to school because nobody is certain about what might happen next, with police and soldiers everywhere and creating a menacing atmosphere. Some international organizations have asked their employers to work at home temporarily.

Residents around Goderich where the former President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma lives, complain about heavy armed police and soldiers, some even carrying RPGs. They described security as very tight around the former head of state’s home because there are rumours that his myriad of supporters all over the country are not happy with reports that he is under arrest at his Femi Turner residence, though his lawyers and media handlers , as well as BBC reporter, Umaru Fofana, have denied these suggestions by vociferous and vengeful SLPP supporters and Koroma detractors in the social media.

One employee of an international NGO interviewed by COCORIOKO said that people are afraid that more chaos is in the horizon ,in the country ” And what I can tell you is that democracy and stabilty are dead in Sierra Leone, “ he added. “What we have now in Sierra Leone is a police state, and everybody is at their wit’s end , coupled with the extreme economic hardships in the country .”

The SLPP Government is accused of not instituting any confidence -building measures to stabilize the country. Rather, by turning Sierra Leone into a police state, President Bio is aggravating tensions and putting fear in people.

Videos have appeared on social media of a section Chief in Bo addressing a big group of glum-faced and desperate looking men described as ex-combatants and former members of the notorious tribal militia,the Kamajors, whose leaders were arrested and tried for war crimes by the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone. If Maada Bio is planning to revive and use them to defend his beleaguered government , then many Sierra Leoneans are arguing that President Bio wants to take Sierra Leone back to war.

Rumors floating are that Bio has no implicit confidence in the army and police, now believed to be dangerously divided along tribal and regional lines, thanks to Bio’s politics of exclusion and blatant tribalism. Bio is about to repeat the same mistake made by the late President Ahmad Kabbah ,who catapulted the Kamajors over the national army and triggered the Johnny Paul Koroma Coup of May 1997.

The lack of neutrality , one-sided and asinine handling of the Sierra Leone crisis by ECOWAS is causing a lot of anger among opponents of the government, who believe that the regional organization is not making any attempt to listen to the other side of the story. They believe that ECOWAS should have engaged the opposition as well to hear their grievances, instead of just blindly supporting the Bio government and promising to send a standby force to defend the Bio government.ECOWAS will soon be part of the problem in Sierra Leone as it happened in the country and neighboring Liberia during their rebel wars in the 1970s.

People believe that ECOWAS is not actually supporting the Bio regime. Rather, ECOWAS being composed of corrupt leaders and dictators that their people do not want, and would jubilate if they are overthrown, they are protecting their own skins and megalomanic interests of ECOWAS member- heads of state, who have skeletons in their cupboards, like Bio.


  1. Kabs Kanu, I must tell you that you had a rendezvous with death during your youthful years in Sierra Leone when Siaka Stevens held power, a man who determined who lived or died. Some invisible forces guided you until you were able to escape. Let us put all of it down to youthful throes.

    Through your response to Bilal Coleman I am now even more entrenched in the knowledge that the media do take their toll on politicians even in those days. Poor Bio is now operating in the era of Social Media where he is facing a war of attrition. He knows the fighters, but he cannot reach them – how frustrating. He may have to sue for an unconditional ceasefire soon. He is not even sure anymore whether those around him are real allies or defectors-in-place. He knows what to do to free himself but the step is too dangerous and diabolical for him.

  2. “Democracy and Stability Have Died In Sierra Leone.”

    It Is THE ROTTENNESS OF WESTERN DEMOCRACY That Has FAILED Dr. Samura KAMARA and Dr. Ernest Bia Koroma.

    If The ROTTEN DEMOCRACY Has Been UNABLE To, Even In A Subtle Way, Give The SLPP Government The Funds To Pay The APC Party For Boycotting The Government, How Can The SLPP Government Afford To Pay The APC Party?


  3. Attacking someone and disagreeing with them are two different things. Kabs Kanu makes statements as he perceives a situation, or as they have been reported to him. As an example, who can sincerely deny that there is tension or anxiety in the country since the announcement of the results of the 24th June 2023 elections. The alleged coup may well turn out to be a culmination of the tribal and regional turmoil in society, which are here to stay for the foreseeable future to further stifle meaningful economic growth.

    Who can honestly deny Kabs Kanu’s argument that ECOWAS under the chairmanship of the Nigerian leader, Bola Tinudu, has lost its way vis-a-vis the political situation in Sierra Leone? Amazingly Bola Tinudu tends to speak before he thinks; this became starkly noticeable when both the presidents of Niger and Gabon were ushered out by their respective armies. Bola Tinudu was in a mood to dispatch ECOMOG immediately to Niger to reinstate the ousted president, Mohammed Bazzoun, until he came to his senses. The immediate formation of a security treaty between Niger, Mali and Burkina Fasso helped to slow him down too. Now Niger has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Quite clearly EOWAS were not closely following events in Sierra Leone. Bola Tinudu was busy sipping tea in his office in Abuja while Bio was on his murderous campaign – killing Northwesterners as if they were flies.

    This article by Kabs Kanu should stand as uncompromising evidence for the international isolation which our country is currently subjected to – The EU, The US, The World Bank and others want us to keep our distance. As a result Bio has launched a campaign of taxation. It’s even alleged that to join the police force, would be candidates have to buy the application form.

    Let us use this platform to agree or disagree without resorting to personal attacks. Kabs Kanu does get it and simply expresses the way he gets it.

  4. Bill coleman, what I see here is not Kabs kanu who don’t get it. It is you who wants to be deceitful that don’t get it. Where is the tribalism? Is it a lie that your SLPP junta government is wickedly killing our northern brothers? What is the explanation for you killing Captain Eddie Conteh who was not involved in coup business ? You killed him for being northerner and you want to come here to preach sermon to who. Look at the wicked way you killed also our northern brother leather boots for nothing. I know for sure yeatay yeatay and Koita are also dead for they being northerners. Why be such wicked to our northern brothers? You killed Soriba also and you are preaching to us about tribalism. Please stop your provoking of us northerners. Our patience will not go on for long. Stop the wickedness to your brothers from the north that you are killing like flies. The truth will come out.

  5. What I see here is not Kabs Kanu that don’t get it. It is you the very Bill Coleman that said it. What do you expect one to say when you the SLPP junta government killing our innocent brothers from the North. You killed Col. Eddie Conteh. Did you see his hands in your fake coup? You killed him for nothing. You killed leather boots also for nothing, just because he hails from the North. You will keep killing our brothers until we one day rise up against you. I know you killed yeatay yeatay , soriba and koita already . We know your wickedness, Mr. Coleman more especially to our northern brothers.

  6. YOU are insane and out of your mind, Bill Coleman. Your mind has been become depraved by whatever blind loyalty you you have for the SLPP. Did you read any tribal sentiments in my article? That is a straightforward , informative report on the tension building up in Sierra Leone. It is not an editorialized report. So, I am not free even to report about events in Sierra Leone ?

    You are a glorious sycophant of political partisanship, polluting social media with your skewed analyses of events in Sierra Leone, an irrational , rabid supporter of the forces of evil in Sierra Leone that cannot see where the pinch of the shoe starts.

    Coleman, have you ever sat down and reasoned about where our present problems in Sierra Leone are coming from ? While we sympathize with the grieving families of all the unfortunate people killed by GOD-Knows -whom ( And I have already written a lengthy obituary in my newspaper sympathizing with them) , all these evils would not have been happening in Sierra Leone today if President Maada Bio had not boldly stolen and rigged the last election . They would not have been happening if your president had not set up an apartheid type exclusive oligarchy, hurting citizens from other parts of the country. If you take your time to read my editorials in the COCORIOKO newspaper, I have also written to condemn the alleged coup attempt and stated my repudiation of any kind of unconstitutional takeover of government , whether by the ballot box as Bio did, or by arms as others who stage coups do. Electoral and military coups are not the answer to our problems in Sierra Leone. They are some of the daunting problems in our nation. You cannot condemn one and be silent about the other, if you were born to be honest.

    Once we have people like Maada Bio, who are elections thieves who seize power by rigging elections and coup makers who use violence to seize power, there will not be peace in our country. Elections thieves and coup makers are birds of the same feathers destabilizing our country. You will not understand, bro, because your mind is screwed. You no longer distinguish right from wrong. Your perceptions are tainted by the green shades on your eyes. Shame on you, Bill.

    And oh, by the way, let me correct you. My journalistic career had been spent gainfully fighting both the APC and the SLPP. Let me take some time to correct you here. If you were old enough to have been following events in Sierra Leone in the 70s and 80s, you must have heard the name KABS KANU much earlier because I was one of the few people who used to attack and challenge the APC Governments of Presidents Siaka Stevens and Joseph Momoh . As a student at Fourah Bay College, everybody knew me not only for my vitriolic attacks on the APC but my contribution to many demonstrations staged against the APC from the campus as the Minister of Propaganda of the FBC Students Union government. I condemned the APC for the same things I am condemning the SLPP today—-dictatorship , corruption and tribalism ( though, in all fairness to the APC, the government was not as tribalistic as this Bio SLPP Government ).

    Bill Coleman, if that is your real name, because I know it is not, when I went to Pademba Road Prisons for the first time, it was not the SLPP that sent me to jail for my journalistic and political activism. It was the APC. Yes, the APC arrested me in 1977 and jailed me at Pademba Road Prisons and according to President Siaka Stevens , when the Sierra Leone Labour Congress went to him to beg him to free us, he was willing to release all the other detainees , except that journalist and teacher called Kabs Kanu. A member of the Labour Congress, Mr. Lattie Johnson, told me after my release. Shaki was even planning to charge some of us with Treason. It took a lot for Siaka Stevens to agree to release me and on our release from jail, Bambay Kamara took us to him at State House where he did not only pour invectives on us but warned us that the only reason the Labour Congress had the opportunity to go before him to beg for us was that he did not do to us what Idi Amin was doing to those tormenting his government. “If some of you had disappeared, who would have come before me to beg me for you when I do not know where you were ? “. YES, Siaka Stevens said it. And there were witnesses.

    And when we were finally declared released, my life was no longer the same. I was warned to be careful because I was being surveillanced in the clubs and places I went to. There were times when I felt that that I was being followed and I thought I heard footsteps at the dead of night around my bedroom. I live at Brookfields then close to the Presidential Lodge. A guy working there and living in the same yard with me, called Anthony, who was an ISU, used to come to warn me a lot to be careful because De Pa does not forgive and could order our arrest again, especially after I started writing for the only anti-APC Government newspaper then, THE TABLET , which my school and college mate, Pios Foray and other college mates Hindolo Trye and Frank Kposowa , had come to me to ask me to join them to continue fighting the APC. I did. We were the only paper that had the guts to criticize President Stevens and the APC, at the risk of our lives.

    We were risking our lives to fight for the people . Where were you, Bill Coleman? I was accusing the APC Government of tribalism too but my Temne, Limba and Loko brothers and sisters did not accuse me of being tribalistic. Today, I have become a tribalist because I accuse the SLPP of the same offence. See how jaded your mentality ? Again, shame on you, Bill. What is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander. Shame.

    After my run-ins with the APC Government, I. could not stay in Sierra Leone because secret plans were being made to bump me off and the Inspector General , Bambay Kamara , had actually told some of us, the released detainees , that though we now had our freedom, he could not assure any of us of our safety. He said we were on our own, because the Pa was really vexed with us and we should find people to go beg him. My life was in danger. So, I was the first member of the TABLET newspaper to flee Sierra Leone in 1978 while Pios Foray and Hindolo Trye , who tried to brave it, fled in 1982 after suffering worst persecutions. DO you know how it felt to leave my country at such a tender age to go live in a strange land that was not very welcoming to Sierra Leoneans because of the roguish activities of our countrymen ? Where were you, Bill Coleman ? I believe you were in Bo or Kailahun enjoying your jakitomboi and jolabetei, and cool frothing torkpoloi , while we were suffering in foreign lands because of our stand for our country. Today, you have the audacity to question my motives—-out of ignorance, of course.

    I continued writing against the APC in Liberia but my elder brother , who was very protective of me and had contacts in Sierra Leone then, who knew a lot of people at State House, wrote and warned me to go easy because President Tolbert and President Stevens were good friends and he had actually been warned by one Pa MACAULEY working at State House that Siaka Stevens could have Tolbert send me back to Sierra Leone. I had to cool down. could go on and on, Coleman.

    Even in the 90s, as a writer for the WEST AFRICAN JOURNAL, SIERRA LEONE NEWSLETTER AND PROGRESS,when my elder brother had plucked me out of Liberia after war broke out and brought me to the U.S, I was still attacking the APC and I am on record for being one of the journalists and a member of the CONCERNED SIERRA LEONEANS of New York/ New Jersey who roundly condemned and demonstrated in New York against the Johnny Paul Koroma AFRC junta that overthrew the SLPP Government in 1997 and called vigorously in various articles for the SLPP Government to be restored by any means possible. Our efforts paid off and ECOWAS came and restored the SLPP Government. So, was I a tribalist, then , right ?

    I turned against the SLPP for things they did during the Kabbah regime but this will suffice for another day.

    So, Bill Coleman, find out about people before you label them. By the way, can you explain to the people why your SLPP Government is doing everything to sabotage and abort the Tripartite cross-party dialogue it signed a communique with the APC to hold and implement all its recommendations ? I hope you will not say it is tribalism to also ask that question.

  7. A scared leader,especially in the developing world ,epitompses danger .They woulld do anything to hold on to power;killing their compatriots on a large scale means nothing to them .Remember Idi Amin in Uganda? In the end Tanzanian forces kicked him out,and he died in exile in Saudi Arabia .Remember Mabutu Sese Seco in the Democratic Republic of Congo? He lies buried in Morroco after his people chased him out .Remember Ferdinand Marcus in Philippines? He was chased out and died in exile in the United States.Our own Siaka Stevens escaped by the skin of his teeth,Mommoh happened to be in the way when the blow fell from a certain Maada Bio and others in 1992.

    Bio knows that he is in trouble not only with the majority of his people but with the international community too. His human rights abuses are well documented which include the summary execution of people by his security forces .He never won the 24th June 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections – the EU report presented to him directly unambiguously testifies to this fact .The country is all but in name under economic and political sanctions by institutions and countries which matter most for the country’s survival. The International Criminal Court could indict him. He cannot dodge the dialogue brokered by the international community.

    With all these forces forming an insurmountable tide against him, we should see why Bio would choreograph a coup plot to muddy the political waters in an effort to buy time to lengthen his temporary stay in power because the sanctioned dialogue will most certainly lead to either a power sharing agreement or fresh elections. His PhD in staging coups which his wife conferred on him has seemingly become dormant.

    If Bio is not playing primaddona with us and the international community, let him produce irrefutable evidence which ties all those that have been arrested or being questioned to the so-called coup. He is further violating human rights by locking up so-called coup plotters without formal charges and a set date for them to appear in a court of law. We are in for a turbulent period.

  8. Kabs Kanu still doesn’t get it. Sierra Leone is still mourning the untimely deaths of eighteen members of the security forces and a former head of state is under house arrest for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government. This is no longer a time for political propaganda bra. Sierra Leonean government and security officials and members of the International Community cannot all be wrong while you are right. Accordingly, it makes no sense for you to be arguing on the false premise that the failed coup attempt was stage-managed by President Bio. President Bio cannot launch a coup to overthrow President Bio. Have some empathy and sympathy bra.

    You have devoted your entire journalistic career to fanning the flames of tribalism, regionalism, discord, and turbulence in Sierra Leone. In this process, not only have you hurt so many people, but you have also immensely contributed to the destruction of the All People’s Congress (APC) party. Specifically, your crude, bigoted and regionalistic attacks on the people of Southeastern Sierra Leone have alienated those folks to the extent that many that were in the APC have now deserted the party in droves.

    Siaka Stevens may have been a brutal dictator but he was always very good at exploring strategic relationships and inter-tribal harmony hence his APC party never received the electoral drubbing in the Southeast that we see today. In his grave, Shaki would not be looking kindly on this generation of APC leaders that includes Samura Kamara, Kabs Kanu and Adebayor. They are all about tribalism and regionalism.

    Kabs Kanu, Ernest Koroma, the man who once offered you a job that you could not refuse is in big trouble. You should be devoting your time to ensuring that he gets the best legal help that is available out there. Your words and articulations are not helping him. You are not smarter than the authorities that are interrogating Ernest Koroma. They have information that you are not privy to. Have you ever wondered why since his arrest nobody in the sub-region has come out to say anything good about EBK? And we know that EBK was a friend of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Olusegon Obasanjo and others. Bra, this is the wrong time for political propaganda.

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