Opposition parties say No to Sierra Leone national peace conference  

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 May 2019:

A national two-day peace and reconciliation conference scheduled by Sierra Leone’s president Julius Maada Bio to commence 23rd May, has been voted down by the country’s main opposition APC party, at a meeting of its national executives, parliamentarians, mayors, chiefs, former ministers and other key stakeholders of the party.

The meeting which took place at its head office in Freetown yesterday, was chaired by the party’s deputy chairman – Minkailu Mansaray. The purpose was to decide whether the party should take part in the national peace conference, which president Bio controversially refers to as Bintumani 3.

In what was seen yesterday as a unanimous show of determination by the APC to scupper the president’s proposed conference, delegates attending the meeting (Photo), gave a resounding “No” to the conference which kicks off tomorrow, Wednesday 23rd May.

A few days ago, the former vice president and leader of the minority opposition C4C party – Alhaji Sam-Sumana, turned down the president’s invitation to chair one of the workshops of the conference.

The invitation was sent to the former president 7 days before the start of the conference.

Other opposition party leaders, such as Charles Margai of the PMDC, have also decided to boycott the conference, which they say is unnecessary and a waste of money.

The opposition NGC party led by Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella has this morning issued this notice to its members:

“There is going to be an emmergency press conference today Wednesday 22nd May at exactly 11:am at the NGC Party Head Office, Naimbana Street, Freetown.  Purpose of this press conference is to discuss the NGC political party’s position towards  Bintumani 3. All are invited to come and ontime.  Signed: Act West Region Chairman – Arthur E Pearce “.

Those opposed to the president’s national conference say that what is needed is for the president and his government to address concerns raised by all 17 opposition parties – including the APC, whose leaders met with president Bio at State House a few months ago.

Since that meeting at State House, there has been no follow-up meetings to review progress and discuss the way forward.

Bintumani 3 they argue, is a diversionary tactics by president Bio and his chief minister (who will be chairing the conference), aimed at further marginalisation of opposition parties, creating an overwhelming sense of national instability, which is bad for the economy and foreign investors.

According to political analysts, this widespread rejection of Bintumani 3 by the main opposition political parties and sections of society, is a self-inflicted humiliation for the president and his chief minister – Dr David Francis (Photo), who is a professor in peace studies advising president Bio.

Calls for the president to call off the conference in order to avoid embarrassment, have fallen on deaf ears.

The need for a national peace conference has also been questioned by not only critics of the president, but senior party grandees of the ruling SLPP, such as Dr Sama Banya.

It remains to be seen what happens next. Will the president call off Bintumani 3 at this late hour to save further humilation and waste of public funds?

What is obviously clear now and needed urgently, is for president Bio to sit down again with opposition leaders to revisit the discussions they had with him at State House a few months ago, and address their concerns through dialogue.

President Bio must also now dust off the 1991 Constitution Review Report, which was produced by the late Justice Edmund Cowan and the Constitution Review Committee a few years ago. (Photo: Justice Cowan handing over the Report to president Ernest Bai Koroma in 2015 for implementation).

The recommendations of the report must be put to a national referendum for endorsement, rather than wasting time and money on a national peace conference that will only whip up more anger and resentment across the country.

Sierra Leoneans need a change in the way the country is being governed, so as to consolidate the hard won peace, following ten years of civil war.

This can only happen with the implementation of the recommendations of the 1991 Constitution Review Report.

A national referendum is what is needed now – not another self-styled Bintumani national peace conference.

President Bio must give top priority to Justice Edmund Cowan’s 1991 Constitution Review Report.

This is the opposition APC voicing its objection to Bintumani 3 yesterday:

 

14 Comments

  1. Thank you very much Emmanuel for your observations. What I was doing if you read through my comments, was just trying to define Chief’s character and also make people know the qualities of this great politician. The problem with Chief Sam Sumana is that he likes this low profile and principle business. So, that is why people who know him should come out and say the truth about him.

    The only thing I said which some people will judge as supporting Chief because he is KONO is, when I mentioned that, the people of KONO will support one of their own if Chief becomes president. Let me be clear now. I was trying to say that the people of KONO, will be happy if one of their sons/daughters become PRESIDENT. This could happen to any tribe, region or family in Sierra Leone.

    So, it’s nothing to do with ETHNICITY/TRIBALISM. It’s just in the sense to become proud of an ACHIEVEMENT. So, I hope Santhkie, yourself and everyone will understand the point I was trying to make. Thank you very much Emmanuel for bringing my attention to such a sensitive issue. GOD BLESS YOU.

    • It is laughable that a reckless politician like Samuel Samsumana could be declared a popular politician in Sierra Leone and endorsed for the presidency of our country. Are we talking about Samsumana, the man that does not even know what political stripes he carries?

      Today, he is APC, tomorrow, he is C4C and the next day he is APC. Are we talking about Samsumana who was caught on tape negotiating an illegal timber trade by journalists of AL Jazeeira? Is this the kind of man that should be allowed to come near the presidency? In fact, where is Samsumana going to get his votes from? The man is not even taken seriously in Kono.

      We have to be careful the names that we suggest when we talk about the highest office in the land that we love. I will not vote for Samsumana to become a head of my neighborhood, let alone the president of my country.

      What did Samsumana do for his district in over five years as vice president of Sierra Leone? I hope we stop this clownish game and start taking our country seriously.

  2. “President Bio must also now dust off the 1991 Constitution Review Report, which was produced by the late Justice Edmund Cowan and the Constitution Review Committee a few years ago.

    The recommendations of the report must be put to a national referendum for endorsement, rather than wasting time and money on a national peace conference that will only whip up more anger and resentment across the country”.-Telegraph

    The proposed Bintumani 3 is financed by the UNDP. The aim is for political parties and civil society organizations and ordinary citizens to bring forward their ideas about how national cohesion and peace can be foster in the country. Unfortunately, like with everything Sierra Leone since April 2018, the APC and the founder of the C4C (who is APC with a different coat), has vowed to make do all they can to ensure it fails.

    The writer is suggesting for the implementation of the recommendation of the late Justice Cowan constitutional review report. However, what the writer is not cognizant of is the fact that the recommendation of the Justice Cowan’s report was rejected by the APC even before the report was submitted to President Koroma. Justice Cowan was called all sort of names and insulted on APC sponsored newspapers and fora because his report recommended things about governance and national cohesion that the APC sees as unfavourable to their ideology.

    It is therefore foolhardy as to why the writer thinks that the current government would get the APC dominated parliament to approve for a referendum to be undertaken on the Cowan’s Report when they have rejected it since day one. Like their stance against a conference of national dialogue, the will make hell out of such a proposal both in and out of parliament. In short, the APC would reject a referendum on the implementation of the Cowan’s report.

    If it is true that one of the items on the agenda of the propose Buntumani 3 is discussion about the constitutional review report and the over 15 years old TRC report and mapping of ways to implement those recommendation, why would the APC not want these issues discussed with the citizens involved ? This and many other rejection of issues that would damp the unnecessary tension in the country should be as a wakeup call to reasonable Sierra Leoneans that as far as the APC is concern, the want chaos in the country since such status quo suits their quest for power.

    • Thank you first of all Aminata for your contribution on this forum. I respect your views and found your comment very interesting. Where I disagree with you is this and I quote – ‘the APC and the founder of the C4C (who is APC with a different coat)’.

      Let us make it clear. The founder of the C4C, Chief Sam Sumana is not only a CLEVER and very INTELLIGENT POLITICIAN but, a potential future president of Sierra Leone. The problem I believe he had, was that he kept a very low profile whilst he was in office. He was only known because of his duties as Vice President. But in terms of his popularity not only amongst the people of KONO in particular but the nation as a whole is second to none. That is why he still remains the most popular politician in the country.

      Some may argue that he is not patriotic because he did not accept to chair one of the WORKSHOPS of BINTUMANI THREE. Fair enough. But what his critics also forget is that cheif has a lot of pressing things in his mind for the good of his people and his nation. He is working day and night to make sure that he maintains his political base and also reaching out to allies of different groups and political parties all over the country. He is taking note of all the CHAOS in PARLIAMENT and finding solutions in the background.

      Trust me Aminata, if Chief Sam Sumana becomes president of the Republic of Sierra Leone, he will be the President of the whole country and not only for the KONO people or his friends and family. He is a genius who can work over party lines and get things done. He has done it in the past and will do it in the future. He paid a heavy price for working beyond party lines.

      Furthermore, I will confirm to you that the C4C and the KONO people will not be angry if Chief Sam Sumana goes back to join the APC to clinch the keys to STATE HOUSE. They will just be proud if one of them is President and that would be FANTASTIC STUFF.

      I have said this several times and will always say it to enlighten people who know little about this POLITICAL GIANT. His political THUNDERSTORM is roaring LOUDER than what PEDRO DA CINTRA heard whilst approaching the coast of SIERRA LYOA in those days.

      All political parties want someone who will lead them to VICTORY. If the APC thinks that Chief Sam Sumana will be a POWERFUL LEADER that will lead them to VICTORY (as they rightly say in their victory song and I quote: ‘IN THE STRUGGLE OF APC, THERE IS VICTORY’), they should do all what is necessary to convince him and his supporters to make alliance with the APC. That will be no problem in my view. It’s not yet too late.

      Finally, don’t think that Chief Sam Sumana is APC in a different coat. He is not. Infact, I was one of those who was upset when he encountered former President Koroma in Makeni. But later, I recognised his political moves and shut my mouth. He is just and individual with SELF DETERMINATION.

      He wants to be President and he will do all he can to achieve it. AH TELL YOU. By the way, he is second generation APC. Also, he is a chief and Chiefs know how to win and lose elections. What will anyone do if CHIEF returns to the APC to become President and KEEPER of STATE HOUSE? DISCUSS.

  3. Indeed C4C is a disgrace to the whole Kono nationn. CHIEF SAM SUMANA is nothing but a power hungry man, who taught you that Sam Sumana will taste power or rule Sierra Leone even a day? You guys are dreaming. We sacrificed ourselves and made Koroma smell power in Sierra Leone, but what E.B.K. did to Sam sumana, was quite enough for him to keep quiet. Sam Sumana is a betrayal, if left on him alone, APC could have been in power today.

    Ernest B. Koroma has destroyed APC for life. The Ebola, mudslide – Koromma and APC are responsible for the destruction of the country’s infrastructure, bankrupt the economy to ZERO. I guess the who9le world is watching your behaviors. APC is trying to ignite another civil war and we are not ready for that.

    Ernest Koroma is secretly bringing instability to the nation. Ernest Koroma is no longer a head of state, he needs to retire now from politics. We need stability now in the Sierra Leone for God sake. Let him enjoy the money and his fancy cars and mansions.

    For APC to boycott Bintumani 3, it doesn’t matter. My advice to the president J.M.B is to please act like a former military officer. Thank you

    • Fascinating Stuff Sheku. I want us to debate about Chief Sam Sumana’s road to STATE HOUSE if you don’t mind. It seems to me that, you have some ideas/information on Chief of which I don’t know. So, by debating with you, we will understand more on the negative side of things and make corrections/adjustments. Thanks for accepting my call. Sheku there with some interesting STUFF on Chief. GOD bless you.

  4. David, you are very wrong by characterizing the C4C LEADERSHIP as disgraceful. Do you know the POLITICAL GENIUS who is leading the C4C? Do you know that CHIEF SAM SUMANA is the most popular POLITICIAN in the country at present? Can you just imagine why he was asked to CHAIR one of the WORKSHOPS of BINTUMANI THREE?

    This POLITICAL GENIUS could be Sierra Leone’s next president. Collaborating with the APC or not is not a problem. After all, he is a second APC generation child, so to speak. If he could join the APC to get GOLD (the keys to STATE HOUSE), the country will move forward, I promise you.

    Finally, I don’t think it is fair to term the C4C LEADERSHIP as disgraceful. However, I respect your views. Thanks David for your contribution on this platform.

    • Good evening bro. I have always admired your comments but today’s comments show why you are always at longer heads with santhikie my mentor on this medium, and even saidu conteh – whom I am always differing with you. Supporting Samsuma because he is kono like you is counter productive sir. No tangible reason was given for his absence. Thank you sir.

  5. Anyone with sound judgement could have seen this coming, even smart little children in class one. This is what happens when you lack clear thinking, logical, prudent minds around you – the end result is complete failure and abject humiliations. Shocking and surprising isn’t it?

    Well, you are not the only one to think so – because mistakes like this one are usually committed by novices and not a leader of a nation who should have outgrown them by now. But then again, it seems to me they have a lot of lessons to learn and new tricks to get acquainted with.

    If at first you swim against the tides and almost got washed away by the raging, frothing Sea, then perhaps next time you will learn to go with the movement and flow of the gentle, submissive waves. In this arena where everyone is desperate to succeed and become a winner, there is no place for tolerance and mercy.

    Politics is a merciless and cruel game – a game of methodical, strategic madness – where the pursuit nd attainment of Golden crowns to be worn, diamond sceptres to be wielded and Majestic thrones to sit upon is the ultimate goal and objective…In this brutal arena, enemies and those seeking their own are as many as grains of sand!

    A hard lesson this would have to be for Mr President, but it will all depend on how he perceives such things; Will he see it as a blessing in disguise or a woeful, terrible, disaster? That’s entirely up to him!. The dice of fate has already been cast, and there is no turning back now.

    Even if Bintumani 3 proceeds or is cancelled, its clear they have failed already – miserably, without having started at all. Disgraceful! Losses, upon losses incurred – in time wasted and monies already spent in the preparations of such a huge event.

    Governance is not an easy task; pride, arrogance and egoism would distort ones vision and make the eyes to become blind – therefore the only way to see clearly as a leader of any nation is to look with heart. Let me reiterate myself – (a nugget of wisdom I offer to all the leaders of the World): “All eyes are blind to see clearly – one must look with the heart”..Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  6. I believe it is too early to draw any conclusion about that meeting because as far as I am concerned, words do not mean anything to the APC party as was evidence during the COI. I believe that they will find another means to sneak into the conference, because deep in their hearts they know that the international community are quietly keeping an eye on them; as the days of acquiring power through violence is over and they have no other option but dialogue. So let’s wait and see by crossing our fingers, legs and eyes.

  7. I see the author has endorsed my comment to the article on May 20 by Mr Oswald Hanciles about Bintumani 111 ie “to implement the product of that constitutional review” by the late Justice Cowan.

    Honestly, this Bintumani 111 is a non starter and just a waste of time and resources – and mere duplication of said constitutional review.

  8. I join the growing number of supporters of president Julius Bio in registering my opposition to Bintumani 3. It is a waste of time and resources because Sierra Leone is a peaceful nation. However, it is too late to cancel the conference.

    President Bio should devote all his attention to turning the economy around. Economic growth and development serves as a solid foundation for peace and national cohesion.

  9. The objection of the three opposition parties to the conference is tainted by personal reasons which are not lost on the populace. The APC wants to be above the law and not be held accountable. The C4C leadership is disgraced and can only find relevance in its collaboration with the APC. PMDC leadership is nursing a personal revenge. These three parties do not have a moral ground for their objection.

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