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.
I want some FACT CHECKING on this whole narrative about the sending of a truck load of ARMED SECURITY PERSONNEL to replace former President Koroma’s SECURITY DETAILS. Does the author and Mr. Justus Kamara have any idea on how these security details are PLANNED and EXECUTED?
Just saying that you don’t like the way the well COOL, CALCULATED, RESPECTED, DILIGENT, NO YES SIR MAN and DECISIVE IG handled this matter is not enough. Would both of you explain to us how this process works? Until a clear picture of the process is known, then accusing the IG of any wrong doing will be very UNFAIR. This IG is just doing a perfect job.
Why are you guys showing more concern for the Ex president? He’s not made any public statement since the end of his second term. My brothers and sisters I will advise that we allow him to move around freely and welcome those who appreciate his work. He’s never invited people to make party for him because of his achievements but people who know where we were before him and what he did during his time in office are celebrating his success by happily welcoming him with songs and praises.
Before Bio became president people will gather to welcome him every time he is returning home from travels but former president Koroma never said anything nor did he allow anyone to intimidate Bio or his followers. now if he’s retired and people are showing him love, how does that affect Bio’s government and governance? EBK is now a peaceful citizen like you and I; so let him be.
For the security issues, that’s his own take on the matter, if he’s not satisfied he has to raise concern. Kabba was satisfied with the way EBK was handling his security personnel that’s why he never complained and we all see that till his death he was very safe. EBK is not satisfied so he has the right to complain and reject.
About the retirement benefits, EBK has never complained to anyone that he’s not been payed since he left office. He is ok with the condition and knows that they will eventually pay him one day.
That Pa Kabba was entitled to 30 security did not mean he should have got 30. Learn how to interpret well Mr author. He should have requested for up to 30 if he felt that he needed 30 but not more according to you. And if he felt that one was enough that’s fine but he can always ask for the rest whenever he thinks that it is necessary.
My advice to you my author is this…Don’t take sides whilst writing stories for the benefit of this nation. you are putting yourself in a funny position tomorrow.
“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?” Sorie Fofana
While I am not in any way defending the current Inspector General of Police, I do not think that he should be blamed for this incident. Ex-President Ernest Koroma has more than 15 armed police officers assigned to him. If the police are rotating the security details assigned to VIPs, they have to do it in such a way that there should be no vacuum during that rotation.
It means that the personnel that are going to replace their colleagues have to go there in a group which implies that they have to go in a truck while those relieved returned in the same truck. There is nothing wrong with that. This is the way it was done and it would continue to be done. Why should this be different If the police had left Ernest abode before their replacement arrive and something happens, we will be the same to call for the IG’s head to role.
Another thing that I would like to point out as former Police Officer and security to a VIP myself is that the IGP is not responsible for postings. There is an AIG responsible for personnel and human resources. The current AIG for personnel is AIG Aiah SAMANDIA (he was the former ADC to Samsumana until the latter was sacked from his VP position by President Koroma).
Rotation of personnel is not done by the IGP unless if it is for very senior officers. Had President Koroma not seen this as another opportunity to score cheap political popularity, this is not something that the IGP would even know about until it is reported to him in the monthly briefing by the AIG responsible for Personnel.
We are talking about devolution of authority and yet when things go wrong we want only the IGPs head to role. This is a very unfair indictment of a very fine officer Dr. Richard Sahr Moigbeh
I would not blame AIG Samadia either. Some quarters are quipping that AIG Aiah Samadia has a stone to grind with the former president, who removed him and his brother Samsumana from the APC gravy plate. But I don’t want to buy into it.
I believe that H.E. Bio is not an idiot, and he was freely elected in a free and fair election by the willingness of the majority Sierra Leoneans. The whole world is watching the behavior of Ernest Koroma. I hope he is aware of that.
President Bio is a peaceful and understanding man, but at the same time we want him to act like a former military officer. We are aware of Koroma’s movements. He is always trying to sabotage Bio’s gov’t. Koroma is just an ordinary man today like anyone else. What does he want then? Bio you have to act.
I personally believe that the current chairman and leader for life of the APC has been having sleepless nights since President Bio won the election; and I guess he has now developed insomnia and that might be affecting his ability to think rationally especially with the commission of inquiry hanging over his head.
The only means he has at the moment is to confuse and distract his core APC party supporters with the exception of the current mayor of Freetown (Yvonne Aki Sawyer) who cares about Sierra Leone more than her party, from the developmental strides that the new government has made within one year.
He really succeeded during the 2nd opening of parliament since the whole world is still talking about the walk out of the APC MP’s rather than the progress report of the new direction.The APC party leader is also waiting for the right time to unleash his destructive powers when he will be called to face the commission of inquiry to give an account for his stewardship for his past 10 years which will be an insult to him and in his distorted mind he believes that his supporters will rise up against the government and cause destruction of our country and democracy.
I hope and pray that the core members of the APC party will realize that even after the death of the founding fathers of the APC the party still prevails; and if by chance their current leader for life happens to have a heart attack today, the party will still survive so let him stop believing that he can continue to use his supporters as human shields just in case he is found guilty by the judge of the COI and I hope if he is found wanting the judge will find a special room for him at the Pademba Road prison.
Embarrassing former Presidents and Vice Presidents is not right. It is unacceptable. God will never forgive all those responsible. AMEN AND AMEN.
Thanks Mr Fofanah, it is better you let the people of Sierra Leone know this, because some are still in the act of tribal and political fight.
Mr.Sorie Fofanah your advice to former president Koroma is not in place as far as l am concerned. Firstly, late Tejan Kabba had nothing more to offer to Sierra Leoneans after his turbulent two terms of office, conpared to Ernest Koroma. If on the contrary, Ernest had not yet outlived his usefulness, I see little in your advice.
Mr. H. Sankoh, what has Ernest Koroma got to offer Sierra Leone? Corruption, chaos and lawlessness?
Interesting analysis, Mr. Fofana.
Ernest Bai Koroma and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia retired from the presidencies of their respective countries at about the same time. Johnson-Sirleaf has gone on to win the prestigious Mo Ibrahim award, an award that pays the winner $5 million for excellence in African leadership.
Also, the former president of Liberia has been invited by the African Union and the United Nations to head an African elections monitoring team in a couple of African countries.
Additionally, Johnson-Sirleaf retired as the head of her political party the day that president George Weah was sworn in as head of state of Liberia.
Unlike Johnson-Sirleaf, Koroma, after destroying his country’s economy, mainly through the pilfering of public funds, has refused to quit from the political limelight. He is still the leader of his party and suffocating it to death in the process. One only wonders what would have happened had Samura Kamara, the APC candidate, won the presidency. Kamara would have been ordered to follow the dictates of Koroma or face expulsion from the APC, which would force Kamara out of the presidency.
What we are seeing now is a desperate, power-hungry and insecure man attempting to personalize his security team. In this foolish move, Koroma is also attempting to usurp the powers of the president of Sierra Leone.
Rotating a former president’s security team is prerogative to the current president and the security forces of the country. The former president does not need to be consulted. President Koroma never consulted former president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah when he withdrew security personnel from the former president a year after power was transferred to him (Koroma). Koroma should stay quietly in retirement until he is called to appear before the Commission of Inquiry.
Firstly, I would like to ask the writer, where it is explicitly stated in the Sierra Leone constitution or in any other laws, precepts and tenets relating to the governance of our country or any other nation in the world, through the use of emphatic declarations, that a former President cannot participate engage himself in the internal social or political affairs of a country in which he was once Head of State.
For the purposes of clarity and to assist and enable mediocre minds to be able to comprehend what I am saying, I will cite the clearest examples. I am quite sure everyone has heard and seen in Nigeria, the most densely populated country in Africa, former Presidents can be seen engaged on a daily basis with loud microphones in active politics, campaigning and speaking to massive crowds, sometimes tiny pockets of people.
Olusegun Obasanjo is one of them. Good luck Jonathan and Ibrahim Babangida are others. Has anyone heard any complaints coming from there? Nothing? Alright, then let us move on to Ghana, where John Agyekum Kuffor is also actively involved in politics, and was the mastermind behind the present President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo’s victory.
And there’s more, in 2016 in the United States Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter were actively involved in the campaigns of Hillary Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump but won the popular vote count; yet there was no uproar, finger pointing, anger, suspicions or malice directed towards them. Not a single word of protest? Amazing.
Obasanjo harshly criticizes Buhari, day in and out, yet his security detail has still not been revoked. A good and focused leader will just laugh and shrug criticisms off and keep on doing his work. SLPP supporters and their party need to grow up.
APC is not responsible for how they see and interpret things if their distorted visions compels them to see dangers that are not there, and hear voices that have not been spoken, and they become so traumatized and delusional that they begin to call old men who are dwarves children, then that’s up to them, it is of no concern to us at all.
Ahmed Kabbah was a tired, old man, who didn’t see the need of involving in politics anymore, because he had seen it and done it all. He was totally content with his accomplishments. And that was a personal decision that suited him well. Koroma is different still strong, vibrant and having a lot more in store to offer our nation. Leave him alone, SaLone has more pressing matters to attend to.
Prices of goods are high, deal with that first; and while you at it, fix the electricity and shortages of water problems also; and don’t forget lack of adequate affordable housing facilities for the poor masses; And the countless dusty streets that resemble farmland, need to be properly redone and tarred. And sanitation, jobs for the youth, provisions for elderly, the mentally challenged and the handicapped must become a priority.
I could go on and on forever. Wake up, leave the opposition in peace. You have a great deal of work to do and insurmountable problems to solve. The clock is ticking. And the Rising Sun Will Rise Again.
And I quote from you: “Alright, then let us move on to Ghana, where John Agyekum Kuffor is also actively involved in politics, and was the mastermind behind the present President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo’s victory.”
Where from this conclusive statement of yours? Please don’t say or assume things you don’t know, ok? I’m a full blooded Ghanaian, and I put it to you that all what you said about our former President Agyekum Kuffour is not true. He’s home enjoying his retirement. He’s wasn’t any mastermind to the current president’s rise to power.
Please stick to your country’s history if that’s the field you have authority on. Thank you.
Good evening Mr Conteh. Thanks for your comment. Though you are right for former heads of states to be involved in politics but there is a difference.
The head of states mentioned are not leader or chairman for life of their various parties. What they did is to endorse the flag bearer of their various parties, but not to go and sit at party headquarters to direct affairs of the party.
Even Kabba campaign with Bio in 2012, but he was not directing affairs of his party, the way your chairman and leader for life does.
APC is one of the few communist parties in Africa, and that is why they allow someone to rule them since 2002. That is very undemocratic my brother.
You have to analysize topices very well before commenting sir. No one is against EBK campaigning for his party, but he should give chance to others to grow. Is he the only compentent person in your party sir?
Thank you very much Mr Fofana. You are one of the few people that write in the interest of the country and not in the interest of Green or Red. Keep up your good work.