President Bio has spoken – No more kid glove

PUAWUI – Dr Sama Banya: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 09 May 2020:

Almost a year ago to the day, that is in May, 2019, I published an opinion in my Puawui column with the title, “When enough is enough- time to call the APC’s bluff.” The Sierra Leone Telegraph edition of the article suddenly appeared on social media within the last few days.

Whether it was in response to the spate of the recent security incidents and threats in some parts of the country is now immaterial, but it’s appearance was timely.

In that article I gave a historical account of the unsocial activities of the APC since 1968, both in and out of power. In particular I reminded readers of the open threat by the then leader of the APC Presidential candidate Ernest Bai Koroma to make the country ungovernable if his party did not win the 2007 Presidential runoff election.

I reminded readers of the brutal and unprovoked attack by APC supporters on the headquarters of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) immediately the APC candidate was declared the winner.  I gave instances of other attacks on the party at different times in the eleven years administration of the APC.

There were the brutal activities of high ranking APC personnel like Musa Tarawally, Pat Sowe, Paolo Conteh and others at various times but especially at by-elections. There  were also the open biased activities of law enforcement officials like I G Acha Kamara, Karrow Kamara, and the misuse of the military in bye elections by Paolo and other high ranking military personalities.

Philip Tondoneh’s house in Kono was burnt down; we came under teargas even as we were having a 60th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service and pouring of Libation in our headquarters; the list is endless.

Fast forward to the 2018 Presidential and Parliamentary elections and the atrocities, including murder of the ruling APC, were many.

Since the APC lost that election and true to the 2007 threat of their leader, they’ve refused to accept the reality or the election or given peace and reconciliation a chance.

Foreseeing what lay ahead, President Bio organised a third Bintumani Conference In 2018/19. The APC said they wouldn’t attend and they did not.

President Bio despatched His Vice President, not even his chief minister to the former President inviting him to a meeting in connection with fighting against the Coronavirus pandemic which met with a negative response.

One must then ask to what kind of a meeting or conference, Dr Kandeh Yumkella of the NGC and the leader of the C4C respectively want from Bio and his government?

Rev Gbokoma Spence and his “people of God” who persuaded Bio to meet with Ernest in 2012 for peace and reconciliation have been conspicuous by their silence.

Although President Bio has still urged the various CSOs and human rights groups to expand their mandate, in the opinion of many of us, some of these groups have made themselves conspicuously irrelevant by their biased positions since the SLPP assumed the reign of government.

President Bio has spoken – So which way out?

Bio has spoken; he has spoken like a statesman. Beyond that he has spoken like the head of state and President of Sierra Leone. He has spoken in answer to the many concerns of us his people and our friends in the international community.

No one is being threatened; Peace abiding and peace and reconciliation seeking citizens have nothing to fear. But there will be no room, no accommodations for lawbreakers, would-be saboteurs, criminals and any who wish to destabilise Sierra Leone.

The new IGP and Police council have taken the first steps to curb indiscipline and ineffective officials.

The APC has not condemned any of the violence at Pademba Road prison, Lunsar or Tombo. Their only concern has been the welfare and safety of their supporters in detention. But the COIs will go on.

The judiciary is being urged to deal with cases of lawbreaking etc., with some speed. These are statements of reassurance that law-abiding citizens may go about their normal business, as together we continue to deal with the world’s most dangerous current enemy the Covid – 19 disease.

No more kid glove!

Editor’s Note:

In March 2019 President Bio invited leaders of the opposition parties – including former president Koroma to State House. Should president Bio have kept on the momentum to build the trust and confidence necessary for sustainable peace in Sierra Leone, by following up on that meeting with regular dialogue, as was proposed by the Sierra Leone Telegraph?:

 

8 Comments

  1. Even at this trying time when most is expected of you guys to condemn the wrongs doings of this Bio’s administration, instead you all are busy pointing fingers over what the APC has done. TWO WRONGS DO NOT MAKE A WRIGHT. What would you all be saying if APC took back the reigns of power and decided to go on the payback offensive?

    I guess you all are going to revert back to the same old “they did it to us”. This is why I always say President Bio is missing a great opportunity. This is the time for him to leave a great legacy that the people of Sierra Leone will remember him for, when he will have gone. But he chooses this dangerous path…history will surely remember you just like your uncle ALBERT MARGAI…what a disgrace!

  2. Lawlessness and violence must be condemned and put to an end for the benefits of all Sierra Leoneans. In light of this, I am attempting to list some of the violence and lawlessness that have occurred during the past 2years to see exactly who should be blamed: 1. SLPP supporters going on the rampage attacking and destroying citizens properties in the south-east that were deem APC supporters after elections results were announced. 2. The Poro men at the borderline of Kenema and Kailahun districts terrorizing citizens by beating and kidnapping others for forceful Initiations.

    3. Riotous conduct that takes place in Bo town between Prince Harding supporters and Jimmy Batilo Songo. 4. Poro men in Bonthe district going on the rampage attacking law enforcement with a subsequent alleged raping of a female paramount chief. 5. Youths in Makali, Tonkolili district attacking their paramount chief and burning his house. 6. Youths in Lunsar Port Loko district attacking their paramount chief, vandalizing his house with alleged killing of a young man. 7. Fishermen and youths in Tombo rioting after law enforcement STOP them from going to the sea after the 3 days lockdown. 8. Reports of riots in Falaba not exactly sure what the reasons are.

    Due to word limitation imposed by Mr. ART. I will stop here for now. Please peace loving Sierra Leoneans and forumites, look at the above incidents and make your judgement. Are those incidents state sponsored terrorism by the APC or they are just spontaneous acts of violence orchestrated by lawless citizens?

  3. It is all about the ripple effect ushered in by the disappointing end of the infamous Commission of Inquiry that was designed solely to discredit the hierarchy of the APC party. The long awaited final outcome of the inquiry left a lot of SLPP stalwarts and die-hard supporters deflated; and today, many are still gasping for air in order to replenish their ruptured egos and reputations. The sudden declaration of a year-long State of Emergency and the consequent disturbances – including the alleged ‘breakout’ at Pademba Road prisons – are merely products or such repercussions.

    Justice Biobele Georgewill, the able and flamboyant Nigerian Judge, had made it quite clear from day one, that he has still got a flourishing leeway in his learned profession. And that, he would not afford to arbitrate as an accomplice to what purely looks like a tribal contest, that could lead the country to the senseless situation of a civil war. Especially considering the previous brutal war that lasted for over a decade. Stop sowing the seeds of war … if Maada Bio is not up to the job, he should take the honourable option and step down – that is what is called patriotism.

  4. The old brutal, violent and savage APC have continued their ways of disrupting democracy in our country. Some of the blame should be placde on President Kabbah for allowing them to thrive within the political space in Sierra Leone. I hope President Bio will put an end to their grotesque violent deeds. I’m so Proud of you Mr President lets take them on their Bluff.

  5. Indeed President Bio has been patient for the longest. The APC leadership who as is known are the fermenters of these disturbances took him for granted and saw it to be a weakness. I am glad he came on strong in his speech, and gave a sterner warning to those disturbing the peace. His speech was Statesmanlike and that of an ideal leader. We are tired of seeing all these disturbances going on in our country, especially so when they are being financed and instigated by a few greedy past politicians who still see it fit to refuse to concede defeat in an election that took place two years ago. I hope that President Bio follows through on his promise to deal with those involved. God bless our President, God bless The Republic of Sierra Leone.

    • Thank you Dr. Sorie Gassama for your eloquent contribution, indeed you said the fact right. The President been silenced for long trying to let the APC leadership realize that, this country is ours but yet they took it for granted to punish the people of Sierra Leone. If you don’t want to or not ready to contribute helping the country for it’s development please be quiet and go to your village take some rest. Again Dr. S. Gassama thank you.

  6. I have been keenly following the reactions of some Sierra Leoneans to the speech of the president HE Julious Maada Bio (last speech) . My only advice is for the youths, remember that the 21st century youths must say no to violence, because remember that those politicians whether active or passive have almost or all their families overseas. So when a violence emerged, we the youth populace have to bear the greater percentage. So therefore do not take the law into your hands, act within the laws of Sierra Leone . Act and take decisions wisely and remember the coat of Arm that binds us together. The president is the fountain of honour, Custodium of our constitution and many more.

    The president has spoken, in fact he spoke well because if a single life is lost in our beloved country carelessly without the culprits being brought to book, he must give account to Allah one day. Therefore he must Act swiftly to protect lives and properties within the laws of our country. So stay away from violence and say no to selfish politicians, otherwise you will have to blame yourself.

    Abdul Nyallay – Deputy Chairman of the Bo District Youth Council, Bo.

  7. Mr Matturi let give honour to whom honour is due, and I was an opponent like you when the SLPP was in opposition and vehemently opposed the re-election of Brigadier as the SLPP flag-bearer presidential candidate again in 2018 as it was in 2012 including my concerns of the defections in 2012 that greatly dented our elected representatives. We cannot choose whom our mother wants as her lover/husband despite our frustrations, concerns etc of her choice/wishes. In politics money talks and the persons who had it and can spend it can get what they wants. You have to accept it as facts and you can do nothing to change it.

    My father was a senior member of the ruling counsel of the Ahmed Tejan-Kabbah led SLPP regime and the house which my elder sister in Switzerland rented for my father in Jones Lane opposite the St Antony Church between Savage St and Syke St in Freetown was burned down during the 1997/98 AFRC military junta era in there hunt for leading SLPP MEMBERS. Mr father had to reside to his local church until the ECOMOG led intervention force reinstate the Ahmed Tejan-Kabbah SLPP party government back in late 1998 and my father was given a room at the Brookfields hotel together with others who had lost their residence DURING THE AFRC ERA. Your uncle Mr Matturi was active in those days of the SLPP/APC as MY father was more close with Mr Salia Jusu-Sheriff as his mentor, uncle, member of parliament for his motherland etc but we cannot decide whom the delegates of the SLPP party wants as their presidential flag-bearer and they are the only persons empower to vote for that according to the party constitutions

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