Sorie Fofana: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 May 2019:
Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah retired peacefully at the end of his second and final term as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone in September 2007. Since he retired from office, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah carried himself like a retired President and an elder statesman. He never openly criticized his successor, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.
On many occasions, after his retirement, President Kabbah travelled out of the country either for an official or private purpose. He never left the country without writing to inform State House about his movement.
I was privileged to write one of those letters when President Kabbah could not reach his Confidential Secretary. He said that he was informing State House about his movement as “a matter of courtesy”.
President Kabbah, on many occasions, raised serious concerns about the implementation of his entitlements as a Retired Head of State.
He wrote several letters to State House, drawing their attention to the late implementation of some of his entitlements
Even though President Kabbah retired in 2007, it took the APC government almost two years before they started paying his pension.
Even though President Kabbah was entitled to four official vehicles, it took the APC government four years before he was given two vehicles instead of four.
Even though President Kabbah was entitled to thirty personal guards, he had only eleven personal guards assigned to him. He had four OSD personnel, four Military personnel and three General Duty officers assigned to him.
It has to be said that, on many occasions, some of President Kabbah’s personal guards were replaced even without his notice. He was never consulted on those regular changes to his security detail.
Not even once did President Kabbah complain of such treatment. He kept quiet and never complained to anyone.
All the personal guards assigned to President Kabbah hardly got promoted in their different forces. Even their allowances were stopped by State House claiming that, they were not entitled to even ration allowances. Their living condition was very pathetic.
After he retired as Head of State in April 2018, President Koroma retained the coveted position of Chairman and Leader of the APC Party.
He was first elected as Chairman and Leader of the APC Party in 2002. He has occupied that position from 2002 to date.
Before the March 2018 elections, the APC Party met and agreed for President Koroma to continue to be the Chairman and Leader of the APC Party.
Some sycophants within the APC Party even advocated for President Koroma to continue to serve as Chairman and Leader of the APC Party until he drops dead.
Personal guards withdrawn
President Koroma’s Special Assistant, Sheriff Mahmud Ismail issued a Press Release dated 11th May, 2019, stating that the former President had no prior information about changes made to his personal security detail.
He said that, “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”.
Personally, I am opposed to the way the Inspector General of Police (IG) has handled this whole affair. Why did he have to take truck load of armed security men to the former President’s residence just to replace his personal security detail?
Why didn’t the IG just change the former President’s personal security detail without any fracas?
He did the same thing to the former elected Vice President, Chief Alhaji Sam Sumana. What is the motive of the IG? Is he out to embarrass this government and give the President a bad name?
Advice to President Koroma
President Koroma is advised to carry himself like a retired President and an elder statesman.
He should avoid this celebrity status that he has carved out for himself since he left office a little over a year ago.
He does not need that at all. All he needs to do now is to support President Julius Maada Bio to govern the country peacefully. He does not need to be at the centre of any controversy now.
The Minister responsible for national security should have a word with his overzealous Inspector General of Police, who is determined to go all out to satisfy all those who continue to protect him in office against the integrity of this government.
Finally, President Koroma should find a way to retire from active party politics, by stepping down from the role of Chairman and Leader of the APC Party. That is the best game in town for him. May common sense prevail.
About the author
Sorie Fofana is the editor of the Global Times newspaper and Chairman of the Board of the Sierra Leone government’s Sierra Leone Cable Ltd. (SALCAB).
SALCAB is a limited liability company operating as a regulated wholesale bandwidth provider and other related value added services to the ICT Industry inside and outside Sierra Sierra Leone.