Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 January 2022:
Last Thursday, 27 January 2022, President Dr Julius Maada Bio presented his government’s success stories and overall development agenda to the diplomatic community and development partners working in the country, at a formal dinner held at State Lodge.
Welcoming the guests, Madam First Lady Mrs. Fatima Bio thanked members of the diplomatic community and development partners for gracing the occasion, saying that the event was a way of networking, thanking, and celebrating them for their individual and collective roles in the development of the country.
“Thank you very much for your attendance. I hope that 2022 will be fruitful and a good year for us all,” she noted.
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Dr Babatunde A. Ahonsi, said he was extremely grateful for the formal dinner with the international community and development partners. He noted that its indicative of the importance President Bio has placed on sustaining the friendly and warm relations that Sierra Leone has maintained with the international community.
He further stated that he acknowledged the important and proactive role that Sierra Leone has played in many international fora, chiefly the United Nations, Africa Union, ECOWAS, the G7Plus, of which Sierra Leone is a founding member and the current Chair, and the SDG 16Plus Forum among many others.
“I will not be able to name all of them, but I want to take this opportunity to highlight the most recent appointments of Justice Miatta Samba to the International Criminal Court and of the First Lady, Mrs. Fatima Maada Bio, to the Advisory Board of the Division for Multilateral Diplomacy of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate both Justice Miatta Samba and HE the First Lady on their appointments,” he noted
Dr Ahonsi (Photo) also stated that Sierra Leone has always demonstrated a strong commitment to multilateralism and to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, noting that President Bio should be praised for the efforts dedicated to the advancement of human capital development, especially through an inclusive education policy.
He also cited the early steps made by the government to put in place all necessary measures in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the country with one of the lowest rates of confirmed COVID-19 cases and associated deaths in the world.
He emphasised that those measures did not only prove effective in mitigating the spread of the pandemic but also in building the emergency response capacity of the health system with support from international partners, including the UN Country Team.
Sierra Leone’s Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa, thanked development partners for attending the dinner organised by the government, saying that they have consistently enacted concrete and well-meaning policies that aligned with the foreign policy objectives of the country.
He added that the goal is to ensure that the government derive maximum benefits from their friends and partners, engage in meaningful partnerships at the bilateral and multilateral levels, but most importantly to engage with key stakeholders from the diplomatic community as well as donor partners in the country for a mutually beneficial relationship.
“Your Excellency, Madam First Lady, our distinguished friends, our gathering here tonight further speaks of our commitment to revitalize engagement with the diplomatic and donor community. This has indeed yielded positive outcomes. Through this effort, we have been able to progress on a number of pertinent global issues such as effective management of resources in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, for which valuable, significant, and timely support was received from your countries.
“Let me, therefore, on behalf of His Excellency the President, extend my heartfelt appreciation to you and through you to the Government and people of your individual countries for the ongoing support towards the Government and people of Sierra Leone in this regard,” he concluded.
President Julius Maada Bio assured the international community of his government’s commitment to further enhancing mutual understanding, perceptions, and trust with development partners, germane to sustainable and productive relations among countries and institutions.
“We believe that with mutual cooperation and respect among our country and friendly nations and partners, our aspiration and hard work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for our citizens is possible. We will, therefore, seek to increase our global diplomatic footprint by seeking to deepen and broaden cooperation with existing friends while also making new friends and working with new partners across the globe.
“We have been working to consolidate and enrich our democracy and we have undertaken a significant and unprecedented number of institutional, governance, and rights reforms to that end. We are the fourth most peaceful country in Africa and we lead regional indices for our fight against corruption, investments in human capital development, expanding gender empowerment and representation, fostering democratic freedoms, and protecting and promoting the rights of persons,” the President said.
He added that his government is seeking to expand trade and economic relations and therefore, offering a resource-rich, predictable, and inviting investment ecosystem where all investments are guaranteed protection and promotion.
“Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, Sierra Leone believes that it can contribute its fair share to dialogues on global and regional peace and development. In that spirit, Sierra Leone has received the mandate of the ECOWAS community as the sole candidate for a seat at the United Nations Security Council in the non-permanent category
“Clearly, Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our bid tells a powerful story – that Sierra Leone is a successful case of post-war reconstruction and peacebuilding; — that in peace, the voices of small nations matter at the highest global levels of conversations and decision-making because only those small nations can best articulate their experiences and concerns.
“This dinner celebrates you, the professionals. I want to thank you once more for everything you do in helping us navigate our complex world, in promoting good governance and trade, in fostering cultural understanding and mutual respect, and in pursuing peace and prosperity for all,” he concluded.
President you are a failure to this nation.. But June 2023 will tell you farewell. Brother, you are not fit to be a leader of Sierra Leone.
Hahahahah, what a display of bootlicking and sycophancy by our commander in chief and his band of nincompoops. You have got to wonder, haven’t these gang of criminals already done enough damage to our nation in the past 4yrs, with almost all economic and human development indicators, worst off since they took over power? At what point will these devil incarnates, with stones in their hearts, open their eyes and do the needful things, in seeking the plight of our suffering masses?
In sheer amount of desperation and moral deprivation, it appears there is nothing under the sun Bio and his gang of criminals wouldn’t do to maintain the status quo. Talking about corruption and bribery, say no more. These guys have master the art through and thro. At first, they dished out millions of dollars to international media consultancy organizations, with the sole purpose of embellishing fictional accomplishments; now, the local diplomats are next, with this new scheme of lavishly spent banquet, all put together in the form of BRIBERY to our diplomatic corps.
This is a classical example of Robin-hood on the reverse. Stealing what belongs to the poor masses and giving it to the super rich. Let me remind you Mr. President, if anyone deserves a banquet, and a good meal for that matter, it’s the poor suffering citizens, that elevated you to that political office. It cannot only be members of security forces, the army and police senior officers, along with media houses editors, who are entertain and lavish with gifts occasionally, and definitely not members of the diplomatic corps who are already filthy rich. The money you are spending is not yours sir, it belongs to the citizens of mama Salone. Do the needful, by spending the money to improve citizens lives, not yours alone and your gang of criminals.
The whole episode is reminiscent of Charles Dickens’ masterpiece ‘Oliver Twist’. Though the only twist here is, the begging bowls are carried by the rich elite. These guys (the diplomats) must be crying in their hearts, “Please Sir, we are tired of filling your abysmal pockets, when are you going to give some to the poor?” It is beyond the pale that under Maada Bio’s watch, begging has attained such an unprecedented level of a fashionable affair. And, beneath the splendour of a banquet, could it be that it was a display of juju, or an act of succumbing to the dictates of an occult … ? Beware diplomats. This dumb little guy and his priestess are desperate!!!
“We are the fourth most peaceful country in Africa” and we pray it stays it stays that way. To me is like Bio is holding a gun on the heads of the foreign diplomatic corps and saying support my government or eles. Because one of the causes of conflicts, like tribal, regional and military take overs we’ve witnessed recently from Sudan where the Sudanese people took to the streets and forced the removal of General Omar Al-Bashire,which ushered in a new military dictatorship in the form of General Burhan, and his henchmen is the same economic hardship that citizens were subjectsed because the civilian governments have failed in their duty to diliver for the peoplev that prompted the take overs innthe first place.
Hence is the same reasons given by the other military take overs we witnessed in Burkina Fasso, Chad, Mali, Guinea and the never ending wars in the Sahel, Nigeria, Darfur, South Sudan, Mozambique, the DRC, and Central African Republic.More like the sessions of military coups in Africa is back in fashion. Back to the sixties, seventies and eighties.One would have thought with technological advances and the rest of the world moving in the other direction, we have gone past the lost decades as they were christen across large swathes of the African continent. At the end of the 1960s many of this African countries were promised by our socalled African librators with Independence, we will albe to harnessed our God given human and natural resources to develop our countries.
Today when we look at the African continent and compare it to the Asian Tiger economies and that more or less experienced the same forms of Colonialism in the hands of European powers, and given Independence at the same time, and compare their performance in terms of economic growth, and investing in education for future development of their countries, for some of our African countries, Sierra-leone in particular, more or less the Shovel of development is still stucked on the grounds of where the British Colonial authorities left us.I visited my Village more than twenty years since I left it, and I was shocked at the lack of developments. Can you imagine Joe Biden, President Macron of France, or Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, or closer to home the president of Kenya, South Africa,Rwanda, and the fomer colonies of South East Asia’s governments inviting the Diplomatic community and other international development partners, and present to them their government development plans and how they are doing in terms of future economic plans, and more importantly the strategic footpaths that they intend to undertake to improve the lives of their citizens.
Read them side by side and you will see how worlds apart they are! I am referring here to the grand declarations made by the organisers of the state banquet on the one hand, and on the other, the very down-to-earth and sobering analysis provided just the other day by Dr Dennis Bright of those same state banquet organisers’ woeful basic economic performance during the four years or so that they have been in power. The PAOPA regime’s boatsful claims are indeed staggering. Bio, his wife and Chief Minister seem to live in a parallel universe, being completely oblivious of the fact that all they have done so far has been to build and direct for the rest of us a world rolling on the wheels of begging bowl economic policies and strategies. And they have the nerve to call these successes and great future agendas!
It is clear that through their utter disregard of the needs and concerns of those they govern, Bio and his team consider themselves beholden not to the Sierra Leonean electorate but to outsiders whose generosity they rely on to bankroll their charade of enlightened, responsible and successful governance. Of course, the skilled diplomats that they are, the representatives of the external agencies and partners in development in honour of whom the banquet is held, make the right noises, careful not to step on their hosts’ toes, not to hurt their so-called national pride and sensibilities. In their speeches, they make sure they do not appear to be leading the way. They are careful to show themselves to be following and supporting the government of the day.
However, well calibrated to suit the occasion though the speeches of the diplomats may be, there is no doubt about the identities of those who are in command, who are calling the shots. Sierra Leone on Bio’s watch is a neo-colonial state, led by a political elite who know very well that he/she who pays the piper calls the tune. The state banquet they have organised reflects this simple reality. We are a nation of beggars and our leaders – mendicants-in-chief – have mastered the art of begging to perfection.
Here we go again. Just who is leading Sierra Leone – the international community or Maada Bio? Who did Sierra Leoneans vote in as president in 2018 – foreigners or a man born in Jayhun, Both District, southern Sierra Leone? Does this man have any personal or national pride? Is he all there? There can be only one reason why Bio has allowed himself to come under the tutelage and control of diplomats and foreign institutions: He has lost control of himself and the country. He is now on a deceptive game to worm his way into the good books of these diplomats, principally Western diplomats, and hence their home base, for them to be on his side for the forthcoming elections, in which his party is likely to suffer heavy defeat. This occurrence could see him mounting sustained resistance to leave office, which could result in widespread violence.
But Bio is fooling himself. His naïveté is unquestionable. These diplomats have a job do, they have supervisors at home or their base that they professionally report to. Does Bio ever see the reports they send to their home base concerning him and his government? The people of Sierra Leone are who Maada Bio should be reporting to constantly, consistently and efficiently because they hold the ballot paper and not the American Ambassador, The British High Commissioner, The UN Representative or anyone else. The people can tell whether he is doing a good job or not. When the people cast their ballot without any hinderance, the outcome is not determined by the diplomatic community.
I refer Maada Bio to what happened to Mabutu Sesseco of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Husni Mubarak of Egypt, Ben Ali of Tunisia, The Shah of Iran, Ferdinand Mercus of the Philippines and many others. These were all Western allies, but when their people rose against them in mass, the diplomatic community couldn’t save them. And does Bio remember why his coup of 1992 succeeded? Because the people were sick of APC, they poured out onto the streets to support him and his colleagues. Momoh turned around to see where his friends were, there were none, and so Conakry and Lansana Conte beckoned. Momoh couldn’t resist. Probably Bio has entered into a secret pact with Mamadi Doumbuya in Conakry to have the house where Momoh was hidden ready.