Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 April 2021:
Serious doubts are once again being expressed about the integrity and credibility of Sierra Leone’s president Julius Maada Bio who is now caught up in accusations of misogyny, as well as lying about being refused entry into hotels in Japan as president because of unpaid bills owed by the former government – an issue that could destroy the image of Sierra Leone irreparably.
Accusation of misogyny came about when this happen: Speaking last week on national television, president Bio was simply asked by a female TV presenter to clarify his relationship with former president Ernest Bai Koroma, out of concern for what is perceived as president Bio’s failure to pursue national cohesion.
This is what the female TV presenter said: “Mr president, what’s your relationship with the former president? In reply, president Bio flippantly said: “What’s your relationship with your former boyfriend?”
This arrogant response from a president who has become very comfortable with unexplained wealth, has prompted calls for public apology to women in general and the female TV presenter in particular, for such misogynistic remark that women across the country are faced with every single day of their lives.
Women in Sierra Leone are discriminated against in every sphere of society; and not only do they have to deal with such misogyny but are faced with gender-based violence, rape and abuse, despite legislation to promote equality and deter such crimes.
Many in Sierra Leone believe that such a statement by the president on national television, shows that women are more likely to face sexual discrimination and abuse in the workplace which reinforces men’s dominance across all spheres of society in Sierra Leone.
This accusation of misogyny comes as the wife of the president is also being accused of unlawfully receiving millions of dollars of State funds to support her ‘Girl-Child’ equality promotion project.
President Bio’s statement on national TV, claiming that he was refused entry in hotels in Japan because of failure by the former government to pay unsettled bills has also been described as a big fat lie.
Evidence obtained by the Africanist Press after investigation, shows that the president is telling lies to discredit the former government and President Ernest Bai Koroma in particular, who is currently in Benin heading an ECOWAS delegation to oversee elections in Benin.
This is what the Africanist Press said about President Bio’s comment that could destroy Sierra Leone’s image abroad:
“In an effort to dismiss the glaring evidence of illegal public spending and the frivolous use of public money on international travel and other non-budgetary purposes, the President has made some statements that we found to be false and deliberately inaccurate. For instance, the President claimed he was prevented from checking into a hotel in Japan because his predecessor had a previous debt. He claimed he was forced to pay off the debt on arrival before he was allowed into the hotel.
“This false statement regarding a hotel debt in Japan has been repeated three times now by the President in his effort to justify the unprecedented expenditure his many international travels have cost the people of Sierra Leone.
“Africanist Press has examined records of the President’s travel to verify this particular claim. The records show that President Bio made a trip to Japan in late August 2019. The President’s trip to Japan was for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) held on August 28-30, 2019, at Pacifico Yokohama, in Yokohama, Japan. The conference was co-hosted by the Japanese government, the United Nations, and other development agencies, including the World Bank. The government of Japan has lead this conference since 1993. The TICAD conference of 2019 had more than 10,000 people in attendance, including 42 African leaders from 53 African countries, and 108 heads of international and regional organizations.
“Our investigation shows that all invited delegates to the TICAD conferences, in particular heads of state, had accommodation and relevant protocol arranged for by the host government in advance of their arrival. We investigated details of President Bio’s travel to the TICAD Conference in Yokohama, Japan, in 2019, and we found no evidence that President Bio, or any member of the Sierra Leone delegation, encountered any difficulty in accessing their hotel rooms on arrival in Japan during their visit for the TICAD conference.
“A press release issued by the Japanese Foreign Ministry on 29 August 2019 confirmed that a 15 minutes summit meeting was held between President Bio and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Yokohama ahead of the conference. The press release confirmed that President Bio was visiting Japan to participate in the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) held from August 28 to 30. Records from the Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry reviewed by Africanist Press show clearly that strong diplomatic relations exist between Japan and Sierra Leone spanning three decades.
“Our investigation discovered that Japan first hosted an official delegation from Sierra Leone in October 1990 headed by then minister of agriculture and natural resources, Mohamed O. Bash-Taqi. Japan’s Foreign Ministry noted that a total of 12 diplomatic visits from Sierra Leone to Japan between 1990 and 2019. They included two presidential visits, first by Ernest Koroma in 2008 and 2013, and then by Julius Maada Bio in August 2019. Both presidents were invited to attend the TICAD conference.
“Japanese diplomatic records further show that Alie Kabba, Maada Bio’s former minister of foreign affairs, also visited Japan for a TICAD Ministerial Meeting in October 2018, following in the trail of other foreign ministers who had visited Japan for similar meetings. In addition, we also discovered that current speaker of parliament, Abass Bundu also visited Japan in 2019 on an official invitation to witness the ceremony of the Enthronement of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. An invitation for a similar event was extended to Sierra Leone’s foreign minister, Dr. Abdul Karim Koroma in November 1990.
“Thus, contrary to Bio’s claim we found no evidence that relations between Japan and Sierra Leone suffered any constraints. Our investigation found that diplomatic relations between Sierra Leone and Japan has remained consistent since October 1990. We also investigated records on the President Bio’s travel expenditures during the Japan trip.
“The Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) records on withdrawals and fund transfers show that President Bio withdrew a total of Le2,506,452,062.80 (about US$270,000) from the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) ahead of his Japan trip. We identified 6 transactions from the Local and Overseas Travel Account in August 2019, specifically associated with the 2019 Japan trip. They included 3 cash withdrawal transactions made on 23 August 2019, and 3 other transactions carried out between 26 and 29 August 2019, including a fund transfer to a travel agency. Two of these first three transactions were drawn in foreign currencies as per diem for both the President and his wife, the First Lady. They were in separate amounts of US$36,587 for the First Lady and US$91,601 for the President; a total of US$128,188 in per diems by the President and his wife for the 5-day trip to Japan.
“These per diems do not include airfare, sea transport, or for supposed hotel accommodation costs paid in advance of the Japan trip. For instance, a fund transfer [FT1923830792] in the amount of Le1,234,251,149.00 (about US$124,000) was made on 26 August 2019, to Africa Travel Centre as payment of costs associated with the President’s travel to Yokohama and accommodation in Japan ahead of his departure.
“The other transactions include multiple foreign currency withdrawals in separate amounts of US$4,063 for Jariatu Darboe, US$3,762 for Tony Lloyd, and US$4,364 for Joseph A.T. Demby; all delegates accompanying the President and First Lady to the Japan conference. Thus, we discovered both from the conference records and the President’s travel records that logistics and protocol arrangements, including hotel bookings, were already confirmed before the president’s arrival in Yokohama, Japan. There is no evidence that President Bio encountered any delay or difficulty in accessing his hotel or anything else related to his visit on arrival in Japan.
“In fact, our investigation found no evidence that additional payments were made by the President towards hotel accommodation while in Japan. Besides the fund transfer payment made to Africa Travel Centre ahead of the President’s trip, we found no evidence on record in Yokohama and at the BSL in Freetown that any additional wire transfer payment was made towards additional hotel charges in Japan on behalf of the President.”
When a sitting Head of State in desperation resorts to telling lies and engages in misogyny, it is time for the people to ask whether they are being well served by those elected to govern the country.
The international community must take note that it is not morally bound or financially obliged to sponsor, bankroll, nor facilitate, president Bio’s bid for a second term in office, with such accusations of massive corruption, misogyny, tribalism, divisiveness, hanging over his head.
The people of sierra Leone gave president Bio one term to prove his leadership – not two terms. No head of State is entitled to two terms in office against the will of the people, as president Trump of the USA quite rightly found out.
Hahaha, ‘talk and do’, did I hear some PAOPA supporter says president Bio is known to do what he says? Ok, let’s see. He says his team will turn the economy around within six months if elected, is that the case now? He says he will fight against corruption with no sacred cow, but his government is being accused as the most corrupt in recent history, with evidential reports from both audit report and Africanist press, yet no one in his government is being held accountable. He says the Lungi bridge will be constructed, is that the case? He says he is for unity, yet his divisive actions have led our country to be highly polarized – the likes of which we have never seen.
He criticizes the former regime for big government and tribalism, yet his government wage bill has been the biggest in recent history with party loyalists appointed positions receiving monumental salaries at the detriment of our poor suffering masses. He says a single treasury account will be utilized for transparency, yet himself, wife and finance minister, have been circumventing parliament, using the nation’s account as their personal, withdrawing millions of dollars in secret for offshore personal savings. I can go on and on listing the many lies and deception by president Bio and his team.
The so called free education scheme is a ‘white elephant’, since there has been absolutely no improvement in the quality of the education, other than more enrolees. Without QUALITY in our educational institutions that can compete with regional or western standards, it will be a waste of resources, time, and just a scheme for corruption, as the education minister was recently accused of corruptly hiring his brother in law, to manage an educational project despite his lack of qualification.
President Bio through his various public pronouncements appears to back his wife to the hilt as she devotes herself to her baby – her HANDS OFF OUR GIRLS programme aimed at promoting the welfare of the Sierra Leonean girl child. For him to then turn and berate in public a female journalist for simply asking him about his relationship with his political rival and predecessor President Koroma, really beggarsrs belief. But there is perhaps no surprise here at all. Bio’s disgraceful behaviour which has been called misogynistic is revelatory of what he truly thinks of the Sierra Leonean girl child and Sierra Leonean women more generally.
In treating the journalist with disdain by making disparaging remarks about her love life, he shows that for him the whole business of HANDS OFF OUR GIRLS, which presupposes total respect for our women at all times, is no more than a means to an end: a publicity stunt, characterised by strident virtue signalling, to be milked for all the political capital it can offer, namely creating and then burnishing for public consumption at home and abroad an image of a very caring, morally and ethically upright political couple. Can there be a better cover than this for the couple’s and their administration’s real and ultimate goal: plundering on an industrial scale and at breakneck speed our country’s resources?
We owe the Africanist Press a huge debt of gratitude for doggedly and courageously searching for evidence, revealing the colossal scale of the plunder and robbery. Indeed through the press’s indefatigable efforts, we already know that HANDS OFF OUR GIRLS programme has been if anything a money making project for the benefit of our very moral and ethical couple. We also now know that travelling overseas on government business including conference attendance is, as the press has again revealed, another avenue the plunderers have joyously and frenziedly exploited in doing their terrible deeds. The couple’s and their administration’s vamperish grip on our nation if not broken in time, will lead to one thing only: the reversal outright of all the strides taken since the end of the war towards rebuilding our battered economy and addressing the attendant problems of generalised poverty and social exclusion.
President Bio has always demonstrated his lLOVE AND RESPECT FOR WOMEN by consistently talking about his late SWEET MOTHER and his BEAUTIFUL WIFE. I personally believe that he was trying to display his GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR by answering the controversial question of the relationship between him and ex-president Koroma who was not even a presidential candidate for the 2018 election. Asking President Bio about having lunch with ex- president Koroma is synonymous to asking President Joe Biden about having lunch with ex-president Trump. I was impressed with his light hearted and friendly response to the two smart and beautiful ladies of Radio Democracy, especially the final question about his “Smile”, because his spontaneous response was priceless.
Finally, I personally believe that the main reason why majority of the voters gave then Brigadier Maada Bio a 5 years mandate to govern is because of his credibility and integrity. In life “You only get one chance to make a first impression, and you better get it right”. When he was a leader for only 3 months, he listened to the voice of the people and respected their wish of restoring democracy which eventually brought him back to State House 22 years later for the second time.
Now he is famously called “President Talk and do” which is a testament that “LYING” is not in his DNA. He delivered his commitment about his Flagship Program – the free quality education, within 4 months of his presidency. But I don’t believe it was necessary for the president to dwell on that Japan issue because it seems like he was trying to “beat a dead horse”. President Bio believes that “His word is his bond”.
Words matter. And words matter especially if you are the president of a country. The office of the president is the most powerful institution of our country. So anyone who is privileged to occupy such position of power, they have to pick their words carefully in public. Making such throw away remarks by president Bio was unnecessary. Women suffer a lot in the hands of men in our country. Bio is not like me or you or the average citizen. A minister of his government might just get away with such outdated remarks. On the 11th of August 1984, President Ronald Reagan of the United States, on his weekly public radio broadcast from his holiday home in California was supposed to announce his signature on the Equal Access Act. The president was joking with the sound engineers for National public Radio during a sound track check. “My fellow Americans I’m pleased to tell you that I have signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes”. The president’s light hearted jibe was interpreted by the Soviet Union leadership as the real thing. They responded by declaring “We now embark on military action against US forces”. NATO forces were placed on full alert.
So a joke by the US president would have send the world to a nuclear Armageddon. Same with the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The Hutus were told by their political leaders that the Tutusies are cockroaches and they should be eliminated. Politicians should be careful of what they say in public. Unless Bio has swapped his job for the comedy circuit – ‘PA DON DOH’.
Nonsense, how could a president reveal his true love for women with such a nasty remark. The is reprehensible , inexcusable and disrespectful. He should apologize publicly to that lady .
Oh Mr. President Bio, you were born to lead this country, may God continue to protect and bless you. We all love you too much, indeed you are a great President.
Sad, our impoverished nation being held hostage by a MAFIA regime. They take pride in lies, deception, arrogance, corruption, and stifling of citizens freedom of expression. Behind the scenes, they treat our women and other vulnerable citizens in the most disdainful manner, yet they corruptly employ causes affecting these very segment of our society as a means of syphoning state resources for offshore personal accounts.
They claim to be fighting corruption, while behind the scene, they have been busy looting our meager resources. They claim they are for national unity, yet the main qualification for a government job is to have ties to the South-East of the country. Opposition members are treated as enemy combatant, with any dissent in opposition strongholds view as terrorism — usually resulting to the spraying of live bullets on our ill-informed youths. Hands down, the worst regime in our contemporary history!!
If there is one thing that President Julius Maada Bio has mastered over the years, it is how to work Sierra Leone’s media to solidify his base. In the lead up to the general elections of 2018, no other candidate was singled out for vociferous media attacks as Bio. Questions ranged from what jobs he had held since stepping down as head of the military junta in 1996, as if there is a precedence for former heads of state to take regular jobs, to vailed tribalistic snipes, as if Bio’s tribe was a disqualifier for the presidency of Sierra Leone. But the overkill from the media only rallied SLPP’s supporters to go to the polls in large numbers to vote for their candidate.
Two years to the next presidential elections, we are again seeing a rising media obsession with Bio. The president is accused of having a cabinet made up exclusively of members of his ethnic group. This is a lie. The president’s cabinet draws from the country’s multi-ethnic diversity. It must be clear that no matter who is in power, ethnic representation in the cabinet will always be somehow skewed such that one ethnic group will be represented more. But that doesn’t mean that the cabinet would not reflect the nation’s ethnic diversity.
Now, Bio is accused of misogyny. But it is under this president that Sierra Leone has had the first female Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Moreover, the ministers of Foreign Affairs and Tourism are women. And there are several deputy ministers that are women. As for the interactions with the female journalist, listening to that interview, the president was asked about his relationship with the former president, Ernest Koroma, as if the two must be friends for good governance to prevail in Sierra Leone. The president’s response was that they were not friends. He followed his response with a corresponding question for the journalist relative to her relationship with her former boyfriend. Is this what the media is labelling as misogyny? Interesting days are ahead. But with the APC in turmoil and with NGC supporters like me heading for the exit door, Bio will once again show us all why he is the shrewdest politician in Sierra Leone.
The guy is just a cheap thug. Why is the so-called international community trying to impose this low grade nonetity on the people of Sierra Leone for the second time around? He has been jealous of EBK from day one: mainly because of his shortfall in traits reminiscent of stature, flair and integrity that are pertinent to the job of a leader or President. He knows he doesn’t fit in – thus the inherent sycophancy: including tribalism, nepotism and gangster-type inclination. The arrogance is just a defence mechanism.
EBK failed to achieve the Mo Ibrahim price for good governance because of this lousy little thug. There are less differences between Helen Sirleaf and EBK in terms of their tenure in office as President in Liberia and Sierra Leone respectively. The only alarming problem is the indoctrinated and pervasive hypocrisy, unpatriotism and hatred in Sierra Leone. The people of Sierra Leone should be left alone to determine their destiny – it is not the prerogative of international actors with ulterior motives.
President Bio was elected by the majority of people of Sierra Leone in a free and fair election in 2018. There are a lot of people in Sierra Leone that support president Bio and the SLPP; the same way you have a lot of people in Sierra Leone that support former president Koroma and the APC. To blame president Bio for former president Koroma, who was in office for over ten years, for not winning the Mo Ibrahim price is a very ridiculous, bigotry and divisive statement.
President Bio absolutely does not have any personal jealousy or hate for former president Koroma, the same way I feel former president Koroma does not have any personal jealousy or hate for president Bio. President Bio and former president Koroma are political rivals in a democratic system of government in Sierra Leone, and it’s not unusual for political rivals not to be close friends.
President Bio won the election in 2018 partly due to his criticism of president Koroma’s policies, the same way I believe president Koroma won the 2007 election partly due to his criticism of president Kabbah’s policies.
Someone once said:Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves;Totally agree! And what is equally true is that every corrupt country gets the kind of leaders it insists on having – no two ways about it. This President has been nothing but a curse to our tiny nation instead of a blessing. An eerie curse that started when he overthrew legitimate authority and power, a curse that unleashed the demons of hell, one after the other like beads on a necklace. Who doesn’t know that Mr Fixer is a trickster in true form? And how did we end up with a liar, thief, tribalist and misogynist in the personality of one man now in State House? How? A military brass with no class whatsoever that sways like grass to every evil wind that comes and goes is who he is.
Answer – if Lucifer once arrogantly attempted to overthrow the powers of Heaven and was cursed by our Omnipotent God, what makes you think this criminal President of ours was spared? That lying spirit of Lucifer that seeks to attain power at all cost regardless of who survives thrives, lives or perish is now controlling our Sierra Leone. It is that same evil spirit that aspires to embrace greed, lust and gluttony like a bee longing to be hugged by the petals of a flower. Why would this President and his ragtag bunch of SLPP degenerates stoop so low and tell lies about his predecessor that he is now calling a Statesman? Geez!
You guys are truly in a league of your own. (lol) An old, inept soldier without a credible mission, lacking in vision and real passion for Sierra Leone doesn’t give a rats ass about the rights of women. His Gold Digger has a shovel made of pure SLPP steel to dig out goodies from the scanty treasuries of Sierra Leone. The time has come – what has to be said must be said, and what needs to be done can no longer wait if we are going to save our country from disappearing into darkest pits of oblivion. (lol)
In the age of information overload, fact checking is the only tool that remains in our disposal for the acquisition of facts and discerning of misinformation. Sometimes left unchecked can be overwhelming. And if the misinformation is coming as it appears to be from the president of Sierra Leone, should concern us all. According to Lewandowsky on functional features 2012:”Everyday conversational conduct requires you to accept rather than reject information in a conversation. Secondly your brain is lazy:you tend to believe something is true when is less demanding of your brain. You assess information based on what is coherent with what you already know. Thirdly, the mere repetition of a claim can make you think that it’s true. Lastly you can be emotionally based if it fits the worldview you have.”
All of the above fits Bio’s views and his supporters. As for his unguarded remarks to the woman TV host, Bio should apologise. Once again Bio has put his foot in his mouth.
He must do the right thing and resign his position as President of Sierra Leone.
The President’s lack of sensitivity towards the woman TV anchor, is a reminder that Bio is in his usual self. You can take the horse to the river, but you can’t force it to drink. You will never get an appolgy from a man whose ego can only be summed up as reaching for the stars. His failure to show leadership during and after the killing of youths in Makeni and prisoners at Pademba Road prison is a case in point. Bio will never change his attitude towards women and girls issues. And just in case you failed to notice, this double talking behaviour by the president has always characterised his person since he swapped the military atire and became the most distrustful president of our time. He talks of promoting women’s issues, while at the same time targeting our high profile women politicians – Dr Blyden and our Mayor Yvonne Sawyer. Now his comments to the TV host just confirmed his misogynistic impulses. It doesn’t stop there.
The president promised to fight corruption, and corruption amongst some of his ministers is just a way of life. How about his promise to unite the country. Look at the make up of his government. He told us he only hire people he knows. This pattern of saying or promising us one thing and doing the opposite is what Bio is all about. Now he is banking on the international community to come to his rescue. Otherwise he will not get reelected. Your vote to elect your president only matters or is equivalent to 40% of the votes cast. The rest is of the 60% dictated by foreign Western powers and international financial institutions, and businesses tbat have as much stake in the stability of the country like you the ordinary voter. That is why we call on the donor community, not to help impose Bio over the will of the people of Sierra Leone. Every one you spoke to wants change for the better.
The last three years of Bio’s rule have seen the assault on our democratic values you held so dear. Respect for human rights, the rule of law, a vibrant and Free press that holds the government to account. These are universal rights that western powers have fought for and fight to maintain at all cost. We fought a civil war over the same issues more or less. So our country’s future should not be mortgaged on the alter of Bio’s incompetence. He has failed to diliver on all the promises he made when he declared his candidacy for president back in 2017.