President Bio reinstates minister who threatens to kill opposition supporters

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.

 

4 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!!

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