Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 June 2020:
A few weeks ago, a senior minister in the Bio-led SLPP government – Abu Abu Koroma, made the news, but for all the wrong reasons – he threatened to kill opposition supporters suspected of violent conduct. He also said – he will go after their families too. (Photo above: President Bio who is also the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces).
His threat which was captured on video (see below), sent shockwaves across Sierra Leone and abroad.
The minister was responding to an outbreak of rioting by young people, following a row between the local chief and a few young people in the northern town of Lunsar, where several properties were destroyed during the rioting.
And after a week of intense public pressure and outcry, president Bio simply suspended the minister, rather than have him arrested and charged with incitement of public hatred and violence.
But yesterday, president Bio also shocked the nation, by announcing that he has once again reinstated the minister.
For many in the country, this decision by the president not only sends the wrong message about his so called “tough on violence” mantra, but reinforces the perception that as a former soldier once accused of the unlawful killing of 29 people accused of treason in 1992 after leading a military coup that toppled the APC government, president Bio has still not shed his violent past.
One comment on social media reads: “President Bio’s reinstatement of Abu Abu Koroma is the true definition of legalisation of thuggery and misuse of power. And this clearly renders President Bio’s so called war on indiscipline useless and laughable, and it may be a disguised machinery to attack the opposition and suppress dissenting voices.
“Although some people predicted that the suspended Resident Minister North would be reinstated, most voices within the SLPP were calling for it, I still refuse to imagine that Maada Bio would reinstall somebody openly threatening to use the army and police to kill innocent citizens.
“Where is the discipline in your government! Where is the discipline, Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio. Henceforth, we urge all youths under Abu Abu’s jurisdiction to be very careful. President Bio has left your lives to the mercy of this man.”
Another message reads: “How to ruin your efforts in rebranding a country: Step 1: call your opponents terrorists. Step 2: Tell your ministers to publicly threaten your citizens with a shoot and kill policy. Make sure your ministers include family members in this policy.
“Step 3: And if there’s a backlash from the public, pretend your ministers delivered the wrong message by “suspending” them. Step 4: Tell your minister in charge of the country’s finance to remind your citizens that they have always been poor, they are still poor and that poverty will never go away.
“Step 5: reinstate your “suspended” ministers that threatened your citizens with a shoot and kill and family massacre policy. Step 6: Just don’t pay your health workers even if it’s in the middle of a pandemic.“
Today, several opposition politicians who were rounded up and arrested by president Bio’s government forces over a year ago, are still languishing in jail, accused of violent conduct or incitement of violence during a clash between the police and opposition supporters, when heavily armed police stormed the opposition APC party office.
Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden – a senior opposition APC politician who is also a former minister in the previous APC government, will appear in court today in Freetown, charged with ten counts of seditious libel and incitement of subversion, after simply criticising president Bio’s government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as well as questioning his government’s human rights record and governance approach. She has been in detention for over a month.
Dr Sylvia Blyden did not threaten to kill anyone – but president Bio’s minister Abu Abu Koroma who yesterday was rewarded for threatening to killing his fellow citizens – did.
Is this the New Direction promised by president Bio during his 2018 presidential election campaign? The international community must take note.
Once again President Maada Bio who is the Commander In Chief and Fountain of Honor has proved that he is a listener and respected the wishes of majority of the voters in the Northern province, who came out to demonstrate to reinstate the most powerful minister in Makeni after he made a “ politically incorrect statement.” To my admiration and surprise, Minister Abu Abu Koroma made an excellent apology to the people just like a father will do to his kids, when he threatens to “ Kill you with beat” whenever you do something wrong, which was done over the AYVTV and Radio Democracy the next day, after making that statement.
The people of Sierra Leone are aware of the most popular revolution in the history of our nation which President Bio was part and parcel of, that is the main reason he was democratically elected in the 2018 presidential election, and by all indications, that means they gave him THUMBS UP and THANKS for the redemption of our nation from the APC dictatorship for 25 years.
I like it when people say the truth. I am not here to compare personalities and time. However, I am reminded of my cousin from Port Loko, a one time darling of the erstwhile government. That is Honourable Kemoh Sesay. He was relieved of his post as Minister of Transport and Aviation, because of his involvement in drug trafficking. Later he was reinstated in the government as Minister of Presidential Affairs. After few months he became the Minister of works. In early 2017, a video was posted on social media in which he was addressing a crowd of people in Lunsar.
He threatened the crowd that anyone in that region that is suspected of supporting the then opposition SLPP party will be haunted and cutoff. Surprising, Kemoh Sesay remained in his position until his party lost power in May 2018. Ironically, this forum was in existence and I did not see the ilk of Amadu Ibrahim Jalloh or Young4na calling for Kemoh Sesay’s head to roll. Are we only witnessing such opposing figures because the shoe is on the other foot now? Wonders shall never end!
I really don’t care which party is in power. Please Mr. Abu Paul Conteh, next time out of courtesy, get my name right. I would very much like some of us to come up with ideas how to develop our country and stop talking about who is up and who is down. I suppose if we have a robust economy, which is not out of the realm of possibility, we will be having discussions about how to make the system work for everyone. As it stands, we tend to spend more time arguing about political parties, like football hooligans supporters and forget we are talking about a country of seven million people. One thing I care about most, like majority of Sierra Leoneans, whichever part of the country you come from, or which tribe you belong to, is PEACE!
I think is high time we have a memorial day for all our fellow sierra Leoneans who died in the civil war. We have to honour their lives because if we do that, like what the Rwandan government did for the genocide victims, then we will not forget about that brutal war we went through. To see dogs and vultures eating your fellow Sierra Leoneans is not a nice sight. Something that stays with you for the rest of your life. The trauma of the RUF war is still affecting families up and down the country. I do not think anyone of us that post statements in this forum, have any ill-will towards our country. We want to see our country move forward, both politically and economically.
The problem we have in Sierra leone is, we always seem to be fighting the wrong battles. And it all started during 1967/1968 general elections when the army under Brigadier David Lansana took over in a military coup to stop Pa Stevens from assuming the role of prime minister.
Abu Conteh, may I ask you – were you a participant on this forum back when APC was in power? If you answer is yes, then, say no more, just pointed out your evidence of me being a participant, during that same period and your cooked up observance of my silence back then. Seriously, the likes of you are the reason why our nation will never advance. Always pointing fingers and making flimsily excuses for unpatriotic acts. So if APC killed one million people during their regime, does it make it right for SLPP to kill one person? Indeed wonders will never cease to exist!!
Senesie Boima says—“ What can we say when the most powerful man on OUR PLANET Earth His Excellency Donald Trump calling OUT one of the groups leading the rioting and strikes in the USA, a terrorist organisation”
Mr. Boima, during which speech or statement did president Trump used the TERRORIST label for protesters? May I remind you, as in past controversial issues, he only retweeted a claim made by some extremist conservative racists personnel? Please stop the peddling of FAKE NEWS Mr. Boima. Despite his uncontrollable political impulses, the tenets of the American governance system will never condone their citizens being labelled as terrorists, for simply demanding for accountability and justice. I am not sure if you are paying attention to the overall response by the American citizens, Trump’s approval ratings and reelection chances are slumping, due to his nonchalant reaction in the midst of the George Floyd issue.
Any patriotic citizen who has been following and paying keen attention to events pertaining to politics, as well as social justice, during the past 2 years, should not be surprised by the reinstatement of a minister who through his utterance, has proven to his commander in chief that, he stands ready to kill and massacre any opposition to the current regime. For crying out loud, when exactly did president Bio take action or speak against lawlessness and violence, whenever the victims are opposition members or the culprit happen to be his supporters over the past 2 years? Starting from the violence that erupted after election announcement, targeting opposition members, ranging into several other ravaging incidents with opposition being the victims, up until recently when the president was misguided to label the opposition as terrorists, did anyone ever hear him utter a word, despite the loss of lives in some instances?
They say, ‘we shall know them by their actions, not their words’, so clearly the president’s actions have spoken over the past 2 years. Don’t get fooled by the propaganda and empty rhetoric coming out of delusional PAOPA extremists. The fact is, in the current regime, the rule of law and accountability is only applicable to opposition supporters. That means, if you are Bio supporter, you have an open license to kill, maim, be corrupt, rape women, and does whatever the heck you want, with no questions asked or at the very best, a slap in the wrist is the only punishment if found wanting.
However, if you are considered to be an opposition supporter, you should not ask accountability questions, oppose any actions by the regime, or even cry for hardship, else you risk your freedom — no mercies or second chances given. Hardly to believe this, but these are the sad realities in our nation today under the PAOPA regime.
What can we say when the most powerful man on OUR PLANET Earth His Excellency Donald Trump calling OUT one of the groups leading the rioting and strikes in the USA, a terrorist organisation. Did we hear the world leaders and citizen of the USA call for the resignation/trial of Prezo Trump for his comments after the dead of Mr George Floyd? But in Mama Salone, when activists/rioters/enemies of progress took the law into their own hands by attacking and destroying valuable moveable/unmoveable assets/properties of the current paramount chief at Lunsar, and the Resident Minister of the Northern Province confronts these HOOLIGANS AND TELLS THEM THAT THE CURRENT GOVT AND DEFENSE FORCES ARE GREATER/STRONGER AND MORE THAN THEM/SUPPORTERS WE ARE SAYING THAT MINISTER SHOULD RESIGN/BE REMOVED.
Thank you Prezo Bio for listening to THE wishes/concerns of the majority of the other peaceful loving citizens/concerned groups/organisations especially in the Northern province and lovers of the country/diaspora for the reinstallations of the former residence minister. The enemies of progress/development including their supporters/backers/financiers will know that PAOPA MAMA SALONE GO BETTEH FOR WE ALL WHETHER YOU LEK AM OR NOT
Mr. Brima Sesay and Mr. Bilal Coleman – would you please mind your questions, ideas and rhetoric? Don’t assume that I am off for holidays. This glorious platform is being closely monitored by me everywhere at any time. Have to. My advice to you people is to focus on the issues, stay calm and be courteous to others. Be the best of the best till I come back. OK? God bless Mr Sesay and Mr Coleman.
I think it is high time the youths and aging citizens of Sierra Leone, change their mindset and be ready to accept all the laws and administrative rulings of the paopa government.
I think it is high time the youths and aging citizens of Sierra Leone changes their mind set and ready to accept all the laws and administrative fillings of the paopa government.
My friend, the youths unemployment was already alive existing very strongly, how many Okada motor cycle riders were dying involved in a fatal accidents everyday! Common guys, let us speak the reality. How many hundreds of Ex-combats gave rides to customers nation wide, even right now it us happening? If at all you wanted to get to the location you heading to, you must hire a bike ride; this was happening under APC regime led by EBK. Where were you at the time, when I could not hear your voice? Leave Bio alone to do his work accordingly.
Well, talking about RARAY BOYS, I personally wanted to say this to you “he was appointed and elected by God Almighty”. If you have any problem with that, ask God your creator. Thank you
Thanks Mr Brima Sesay for your for patronising reply questioning my citizenship. I fought your type of people in Makeni for determining every Fulani is a Guinean. Maybe if you don’t know your history, I know Fulani people are the largest ethnic group in Africa that don’t have a country of their own. We can be found in West, East and North. The reason I replied to you is because the same statement you made questioning my legitimacy in my own country, where I lost members of my own family in a brutal RUF civil war is the same question an SSD officer ask me when I led a student demonstration in Makeni against the Momoh government.
I will not stay quiet and see a bunch of idiots that wants to return our country to that nightmare. Thank God you and your family were spared that wanton destruction of human life. I pray your family never go through what we had to go through with drugged up RUF rebels. For some of us were not so lucky. Please my Sierra Leonean brother read my posting and understand what I am advocating for our country. I don’t care whether there is a monkey in state house. We want peace. I am not a keyboard warrior, but those that like to promote tribalism, should understand the consequences. We are still mourning family members taken away from us.
so, the president was appointed and elected by god almighty? hm, then do we need democracy and elections?
“…but reinforces the perception that as a former soldier once accused of the unlawful killing of 29 people accused of treason in 1992 after leading a military coup that toppled the APC government,…” Anybody can accuse anybody of anything. But to prove the accusation beyond a reasonable doubt is what the law must focus on. President Bio once being accused FALSELY of killing 29 people is what makes sense. Anything to the contrary is false. Bio was a lowly Secretary of Information of the NPRC when those 29 people were executed. It was Captain Valentine Strasser that was Chairman of the NPRC. Let’s call it as it is. Thus, if blame for those executed must fall on anybody, it must fall squarely on the shoulders of Strasser and not Bio. Strasser was Bio’s boss and the buck at that time stopped with Strasser.
Relative to minister Abu Abu Koroma, it must be noted that the gentleman had served his punishment. No one is perfect and surely not Abu Abu. Moreover, everyone deserves a second chance. While two wrongs do not make it right, Abu Abu’s offense pales in comparison to what many Sierra Leoneans have done. In 2007, for example, Ernest Koroma unleashed the dreaded Leatherboot on peaceful SLPP women at the SLPP headquarters in Freetown. The monster went on to rape and beat up those peaceful citizens. A cheering Ernest Koroma went on to use Leatherboot as his chief of security for years.
Thus, if president Bio deems that Abu Abu Koroma’s value as a public official far outweighs an empty threat that he had made at a time of heightened tensions created solely by lawless APC thugs, then his decision to reinstate his minister is spot on. Instead of second guessing the erudite president, Let’s learn to live with his decisions.
I can’t believe. I hope there will be a strong and loud protest from the opposition parties and all democratic people in the country. Or is the fear to be killed or imprisoned by government forces too high?
Are you praying, supporting chaos and violence in your own country? Are you a real citizen of this country or just claiming to? The law is waiting for you to come out yourself and protest. Come on – organize yourself. The minister has received his punishment and humiliation from the president, what else do you want?
Sorry, I meant to say Hon. Abu Abu Koroma – the so called man of the people that threatened the youths and their families with violence. Instead of helping them to get the necessary education, training and employment support that would address most of the problems that the resident minister for Northern province is worried about. I don’t condone violence, whether it comes from the state or youths. But this government should concentrate on developing our country, instead of going on the path of political vendetta. The youths are bored and don’t know what to do with themselves, in a country where its winners take all. Youth unemployment is a time bomb.
This reinstatement is another nail in the coffin that this president is interested in maintaining peace and stability in the country. The very fact that this Hon. ABU Abu Kamara was caught on tape advocating violence, in itself disqualifies him from holding public office or any public office in the country. He looks and speaks like a street thug. And we don’t need these sort of people near the position of power. There is a whiff of hypocrisy by president Maada Bio, when not too long ago in his state of nation address, he said he will go after the people that advocate violence and try to divide our nation. In essence his own very action is by default undermining the state security . Sierra Leoneans can read through what is really happening. We are not fooled by your actions, but where it is leading us?
There is one rule for “Rah Ray Boys” that gives unflinching support to this president, and the another rule for those that have the interest of the country at heart. These good citizens are ready put their necks on the block to point out your errors. Mr President, your action is sowing the seeds of double standards and is bad for our country. Here are two cases as clear as night and day. The one that advocates violence, in this case the resident minister, by the way not in my name, because I am from the North, was effectively rewarded for bad behaviour. Where does this all end? And the polar opposite of that is, Dr Sylvia Bylden, whose only crime was as a good citizen, came out and advised the president on how to handle to COVID19 pandemic, given her experience, when Ebola outbreak struck. Mr president you can satisfy your ego for now, but you are clearly abusing your power. It is dangerous for a fragile country like ours.