Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 September 2019:
A high level meeting was held at State house this morning, Thursday, 12 September 2019, between the leadership of Sierra Leone’s main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party and president Julius Maada Bio.
Both sides have been at loggerheads since general and presidential elections were won by the Bio-led Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) in March 2018, following protests by the APC leadership about a range of issues, including the sacking of public officials believed to be supporters of the APC, the arrest of over 20 members of the APC at the recent by-election campaigning at Hamilton, and the current delay by the Chief Justice in ensuring that election petitions regarding 12 elected APC members of parliament, filed for hearing at the Supreme Court by the APC are heard.
Last night, the APC National Publicity Secretariat published this statement: “The National Advisory Committee (NAC) of the All Peoples Congress (APC) met this evening to discuss a request by State House for a possible meeting to be held tomorrow, 12th September 2019 at State House, between H.E. President Julius Maada Bio and Former President of Sierra Leone, Chairman and Leader of the APC, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma to address Human Rights Issues, Rule of Law, Good Governance, Democracy, National Cohesion and Peace.”
There have been calls for mediation between the two sides, from various quarters in and outside of Sierra Leone, as political stability and national cohesion came under serious strain, after the security detail of the former president was removed without consultation, the arrest of APC supporters at their party’s headquarters in Freetown, followed by an embarrassing scene at the country’s Lungi International Airport where the former president was denied the use of the VIP lounge.
But today, there is hope across the country for common ground and understanding to be struck at the State House meeting, building trust, engendering political harmony and peace.
Senior government ministers – including vice president Jalloh, chief minister Francis – who is a professor in peace studies, were also present at the meeting with the APC party leadership, which was represented by former present Ernest Bai Koroma – who is the leader and Chairman of the party, the deputy chairman – Minkailu Mansaray, Osman Yansaneh – Secretary General, and Ibrahim B. Kargbo – leader of APC in parliament.
Welcoming the APC leadership, president Bio expressed his commitment to peace and national cohesion, adding that irrespective of political differences, political leaders should have a continuous dialogue on issues of peace and national cohesion.
“This is our home and we owe it to the nation irrespective of our different political parties. Let us begin to chat the way forward so that peace and unity can return to the nation,” president Bio said.
According to State House press secretary and presidential spokesman, “president Julius Maada Bio is expected to hold a series of meetings with leaders of other political parties in future, to enhance the role of political parties in the consolidation of peace. This is to continue the national dialogue on strengthening peace and national cohesion post Bintumani 111 conference.”
Many in Sierra Leone say they welcome president Bio’s new form of ‘rapprochement’, which was seen a couple of days ago when he said these words at an event at State House, in reference to the public humiliation of suspected exam criminals by the ACC:
“I must use this opportunity to say I didn’t like what happened yesterday when the teachers (allegedly) were displayed. That was wrong. None of us can say we have not done wrong things in order to correct things. The ACC’s actions were in public and that is why I say it is wrong. Not just because it was in the public but because it is wrong.
“But when I talked about Education I did say that it is a passion for us, and it should be. People have spent their lives just being in the academia to acquire knowledge and teach others. Why are we failing in our duties as parents and teachers to do the right thing?
“So what happened yesterday definitely is wrong but there are times when as human beings your emotions, your passion for something overtakes what is accepted as a general norm, and that is why without even talking to the Commission I will apologize on their behalf.”
Here is a short video clip of the president with former president Koroma and the APC leadership at State House today :
Thank you,my brother Mr Alimamy Turay for your exceptional observations,and flawless insights. Now who wants to know what a Legitimate government looks like – Mr Sheik Jah,of course! (lmao) And please,forgive my intrusion,Alimamy, I’m quite aware, you can handle this,with great ease,but the situation appears to be very tempting for someone like me,who takes delight in drilling common sense into heads just for fun.(lol) Now as simply as possible – A Legitimate Government is any government that comes to Power through a peaceful transition from the Highest echelons of Leadership.
It doesn’t always have to be only by the casting of ballots – there are many cases where a leader becomes ill or physically or mentally unable to attend to his duties,and is forced to use good judgment,like Old Stevens,and handpick a successor. Now here’s the intricate part – Such a government must be globally accepted,and nations must show their approval,and support through the symbolic presence of their Diplomats,and their other interests in the country. Saidu,’the Gentle’ Momoh’s government was totally authentic,functional,and legitimate – it was recognized,and represented in the United Nations,and was a robust,and dependable trade partner with the rest of the world – Indeed,what Strasser,Bio,and others overthrew was highly regarded,and considered as a legitimate government by the rest of the world. Clear enough….Rising Sun Will Again.
All I can say is this. MAY THE SOUL OF THE LATE PRESIDENT REST IN PERFECT PEACE. AMEN AND AMEN. REST IN PEACE FORMER PRESIDENT J. S. MOMOH.
The United Nations General Assembly Meeting is round the corner and Prezzo is trying to assuage the opposition for them not to embarrass him in New York with demonstrations and placards, and to also signal to our (western) moral guarantors and development partners of his ability to be magnanimous in victory albeit delayed.
But how wonderful this gesture would have been for himself and the country at large if it had predated the Bintumani 111 Conference. Now Prezzo has to build on the gesture and no sliding back – let it not be one step forward and two steps backward.
Wow Alimamy Turay you are really a die hard APC, no matter what. A legitimate government? Who voted for Momoh?
Well, perhaps sense is gradually coming to the thinking faculty of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) paopa clique. It appears as if they have been hibernating in cloud cuckoo land for the past 18 months, or so. And as they woke up and slowly regained their energy, they suddenly realised the in-built hazards of their fantasy setting. But somehow, there was light at the end of the tunnel that could provide a passage for them to earth, or reality.
Obviously, president Maada Bio has realised that this is not 1992 when he and a cohort of unruly ragtag soldiers overthrew a legitimate government and indiscriminately abused the human rights of the people of Sierra Leone through the barrel of a gun. He has succumbed to the realities of the 21st century wherein information is assimilated across the world, in terms of micro seconds, and suddenly recognised that there is no hiding place for perpetrators of human rights abuses.
The invitation of the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) party leadership, and in particular the former president Earnest Bai Koroma to State House to discuss various issues, including “Human Rights Issues, Rule of Law, Good Governance, Democracy, National Cohesion and Peace” is a manifestation of the fact that President Bio has BLINKED first, as he realised that he was heading towards a dead end road in his stewardship of ruling this tiny but complex country, called Sierra Leone.
A stance that is contrary to the rhetoric and ‘tough guy’ posture that materialized during the early stages of his presidency. Many people would be pondering why it took him so long to come to this invaluable decision. Is the tough guy gradually becoming The Fall Guy?
What a FORMIDABLE peace RESET. SLPP 1 and APC 1. The fact that President Bio invited Former President Koroma for talks at State House is welcome news. The acceptance of the invitation by Former President Koroma, makes me cautiously believe that, the POLITICAL tension we have witnessed recently, is slowly dissipating. I said it several times in the past that, we need POLITICAL DIALOGUE to save Sierra Leone from the POLITICAL demise/turmoil we now face. That was why I was begging President Bio to hold a NATIONAL POLITICAL DIALOGUE before BINTUMANI III. Am I right to say that BINTUMANI III was waste of time and money?
What just happened is what I would always like to see happen in Sierra Leone at all times. Seeing the current President and the former President not only sitting and discussing the issues that matter most to the country, but also seeing pictures of both men dinning at APC party and SLPP party headquarters. Does that make sense? Talking to myself.
Finally, President Bio surprisingly has started showing TRUE LEADERSHIP. I hope he continues showing leadership. Staying silent and doing nothing when we have problems is not good. Such attitudes create a POLITICAL LEADERSHIP VACUUM which some unscrupulous politicians and officials would exploit for their selfish advantages. I will visit this article again.
GOD BLESS President Bio and Former President Koroma.
Its about time president Bio recognizes that dialogue and diplomacy is the only meaningful way to successively govern a democratic nation such as ours. The politics of revenge, opposition annihilation, intimidation and other forms of dictatorial tendencies will never bear good fruits. The EBK regime tried it and failed, so there is no reason we should believe that the Bio regime will succeed in using similar tactics.
Even the world’s mightiest military power president, Donald Trump, is failing woefully in his foreign policies of using threats and intimidation. In fact, the U.S has become a laughing stock of the world because of such actions. So only unpatriotic Sierra Leoneans who cares less about the welfare and security of our nation will be advising or advocating for anarchy to continue.
Reality is sinking in – things are becoming much clearer,it seems to this President. He now understands the need for an atmosphere of mutual respect,and constructive dialogue with citizens,and the opposition. Perhaps now,he will be able to ‘ Drain the Swamp’ and separate the ‘Chaff from the wheat’ in his faltering,unsteady,administration. Here’s how I would advise him to begin: First out of the door the unapologetic tribalists; then the small army of ‘Good for nothings’, always surrounding State House, must quickly hit the road. Next in line are the illiterate cheerleaders,praise singers,trumpet blowers,and hatemongers – these must be slapped,shoved,and thrown out the door,and told not to ever come back again.(lmao)
Now comes the best part – my song of choice that should be played as they are leaving in tears – A classic Ray Charles farewell song….. ” Hit The Road Jack,Don’t You Come Back No More,No More,No more – Hit The road Jack,Don’t You Come back No Mooooore! What do you say? And then Bio will scream and reply emphatically “I said Don’t You Come Back No More!” Ya Heard! (lol)
Shout out going to the Honorable Mr Thomas – temperance is a virtue Sir, exercise restraint and diligence whenever I overstep your bounds. Just being myself. (lol) Rising Sun Will Rise Again.
What as strange coincidence, first apologising for corrupt people and now meeting with The Godfather and his followers that are responsible for the destruction of our country within the past 10 years because by the words of the president “ He inherited the worst economy since independence“.
What was the essence of the Bintumani 3 conference where most of the international community were present? What type of signal our president is sending to the judges of the ongoing commission of inquiry ? Or is this meeting organised by the lifetime chairman of the APC party based on the advice that he received from his counterparts at the peace meeting in Ghana last week , that the APC has to accept defeat?
My only concern is – a snake will never bite you from a distance and you have to be very cautious whenever they get very close to you. I personally believe that the president should have postponed this meeting until after the conclusion of the COI . But I still hope and pray that he made the right decision.
The meeting between president Bio and former president Koroma is a huge step for our democracy. I think Sierra Leoneans must now learn and respect human rights in our country. As a Sierra Leonean am very proud and happy about the peace and democracy, after our long sufering during the civil war – refugies in neightbouring countries. God bless Sierra Leone.