President Bio renews wedding vows today as economy goes belly up

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 February 2020:

Today president Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone takes his wife – Mrs. Fatima Bio to the altar at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Regent , where they will renew their matrimonial vows which they first took in London in 2013 at a low-key Islamic wedding.

According to ministry of information sources, today’s ‘wedding’ will be a private affair. But critics say it will have all the trappings of public office – the Presidency, which makes the wedding a public matter.

Although a public holiday has not been declared, few in Sierra Leone will have much to talk about today other than what is now dubbed “Sierra Leone’s Royal Wedding”.

Estimates put the cost of the wedding at hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But according to ministry of information officials, not a penny of this cost will be met by the taxpayer. But many in Sierra Leone are doubtful.

Some are suggesting that the Bios have used their public offices as President and First Lady to raise most of the cash they will be splashing out today, in a country where over 4 million of its citizens will be going to bed hungry tonight.

Sierra Leone has one of the highest mortality rates in the world, with fewer than 50% of all adults expected to live to see their 50th birthday; almost 20% of pregnant women and children under 5 years old – dying needlessly because of poor healthcare and poverty.

A recent World Bank report warns that Sierra Leone’s economy is facing serious challenges, as the government runs out of cash to pay the salaries of public sector workers; export revenue falling at an alarming rate; prices of basic goods and foods in the markets and shops rising; the value of the Leone falling against global currencies.

Unemployment, especially youth unemployment continues to grow – year on year, as the capacity of businesses to expand and create jobs, are hampered by high interest rates and poor access to investment finance.

Hundreds of university graduates entering the labour market every year, are faced with the hard choice of staying on the path of ‘honest living’ or enter the world of criminality. Many, turn to drugs to dull the pain of daily existence.

Sierra Leone’s economy has been in serious recession for the past five years, especially as a result of the twin shocks of Ebola and global economic downturn in 2014.

The former APC government of president Koroma was voted out of office after two terms in power, as citizens became disenchanted with its inability to manage the economy and the rampant corruption at all levels of government, costing hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

The Koroma government survived on foreign aid and rising government borrowing, raised mainly through the weekly sale of treasury bills, as well as taking cash from commercial banks that should have gone into private sector business expansion.

In 2018, after winning presidential election with a very narrow majority of about a  few thousand votes, and unable to win  parliamentary votes, president Bio vowed not to default to similar pattern of reckless economic behaviour in governance. He began with an economic austerity many applauded, which he said was designed to close leakages in government finances.

Two years on, there are signs of avarice and vanity creeping into the psyche of the Bio-led government, stemming from State House, from where much discipline was promised. There are financial leakages reported by the Auditor General in her latest report across government, as Billions of Leones cannot be accounted for.

Today as president Bio and the First lady renew their wedding vows, most people in the country will be worrying about where their next meal will come from.

The wedding celebrations started in earnest last night with a lavish, mouth-watering all night party, few in Sierra Leone can afford.

Has president Bio got his priorities upside down, as the economy goes belly up?

In three years’ time, president Bio will face the people at a general and presidential election, where he will seek to renew his vows to the people of Sierra Leone. Will he be remembered as the president who took his eyes off the painful economic circumstances people are facing today?

Will he also be remembered as the president who looked inwards for self-gratification and fulfilment, rather than the gratitude and happiness that comes from the people after a job well done as president?

President Bio is not alone in seeking self-gratification in painful times of economic misery. Take a look at his Finance Minister – JJ Saffa throwing cash at his wife’s birthday party, and you will begin to see where this New Direction government is heading (see video below).

This is the Finance Minister who promised to fix the economy and ease the suffering of the people in six months. Today he is one of the wealthiest people in a country classed as one of the poorest in the world.

Wedding bells will be ringing in Freetown today, but few will hear the sounds which will be drowned by crying mothers, who will lose their babies in hospitals lacking vital medicines, trained staff, and suitable medical equipment.

Wedding bells will be ringing in Freetown today, but few will hear the sounds which will be drowned by the hustling and bustling sounds of unemployed youths, elderly and disabled men and women with young children begging in the streets for their next meal.

No one is denying the Bio’s right to renewing their wedding vows if that’s their priority. But when the private life and decisions of the president affect his public life, questions must surely be asked about his sense of judgement, his ability to govern and lead the nation out of the deep economic mess and social divisions that have opened up in the last twelve years.

Highlights of the wedding so far:

13 Comments

  1. Sierra Leone will never fail to surprise the world in the most negative way. What a laugh … for other countries to discover that the current President of Sierra Leone, the land of iron and diamond, was so broke he couldn’t even afford to marry his ‘second’ wife in a church ceremony. He had to settle for a traditional Muslim wedding in the first instance; albeit against his wish. Was it a marriage of convenience intended to legitimize for what the country is witnessing today?

    The maverick Retd Brigadier Dr Julius Maada Bio had a short spell as the country’s military leader, and then drained the state coffers and fled to the United States with his ‘first’ wife. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for him, and was somehow deported from the greatest democracy in the world. He eventually landed on his feet in London, where he met the love of his life – his second wife.

    For over two decades, the poor guy couldn’t secure a reputable and meaningful job. And it is alleged that while in London, he had to survive on state charge, coupled to his wife’s meagre earnings as a third-rated cameo actress. However, he went back to Sierra Leone and controversially won the 2018 presidential elections. Hmmm. What happened, or what corrupted the thinking facilities of the gullible people of this tiny country?

    Today, the country is in dire straits. All economic indicators (micro and macro) are pointing in the wrong direction. The prices of basic food commodities are skyrocketing, people are going to bed on empty stomachs, and some are hopelessly becoming destitutes and dying. Nonetheless, amid all the suffering of the masses, the President doesn’t give a monkey’s and he is so insensitive about the plight of the people in his quest to renew the marriage vows to his second wife in an extravagant church ceremony.

    To the eyes of many patriotic Sierra Leoneans, they see this President as a waste of space, a fraudster, and hence unfit to lead the country. All he cares about is self-fulfilment and gratification. The critical question is, will he continue to sucker the nation, next time around? Or is it a fait accompli that the people of this beautiful country are dumbfounded when it comes to choosing their leader?

  2. Hahahaha…you’ve got me rolling on the floor with laughter; So you were misled like millions of others huh?You got sold base metal for solid gold didn’t you?(lol)You wanted a Virgin wife but got tricked into marrying a loud,loose woman, instead. (lol) Oranges, are lemons look alike,but they one is very sweet and the other sour; always remember that. (lol) A butchers giant knife,and a barbers tiny blade,are clearly not the same thing.(lol)Now concerning your intention to sue,and take the Honorable Mr Thomas to civil court, I would seriously advise just forget it, because it will be a wasted effort.

    Your single opinion will not stand against hundreds of others that his lawyers can bring as witnesses, citing that they also heeded his advice, have found it fruitful and have not regretted at all. Again,his lawyers can argue that he is an Editor that has the right to express his heartfelt observations, and that he didn’t coerce, bully or trick you into voting for the inadequate SLPP.

    Answer – what will you do then when judgement is given against you? I would advise that you let this one go, and become more vigilant in future endeavours. I feel your pain man; switching sides and voting for bunch of losers is truly a heartbreaking thing. But the damage has already been done; there’s no need crying over spilt milk – stand firm now that you have learned your lessons very well and vote Red…Come 2023,Vote APC. Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  3. Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to personally sue the Editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph Mr Abdul Rashid Thomas for misleading Sierra Leoneans, including me to make a very poor choice. I have a snap shot of my ballot paper to show that I voted for President Bio even though I was and I am not an SLPP member. I just wanted a change, as Mr. Thomas was advocating. Regrettably, I voted for General Bio, based on what I read everyday on the Telegraph website authored by Mr Thomas or edited by him.

    The last article that convince me was on March 2018 and it was titled: “Rising poverty in Sierra Leone – voters must vote for regime change”. Here is the link:

    https://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com/rising-poverty-in-sierra-leone-voters-must-vote-for-regime-change/

    Today, I have come to the realization that Mr. Thomas got it wrong just as he is still getting it wrong. In view of his deception, I want to sue him in a civil court. Can readers Please advise me as to which court I should go?

    • David Samura, please confess that you voted for the useless APC in 2018, got disappointed with the outcome of the elections and that you are clandestinely trying to revive the moribund APC from life support. If you are not telling the truth, Mr. Abdul Rashid Thomas has a way of ferreting the truth.

      No one is advising you to cease supporting the decrepit APC with its Chairman for Life who lives in a $10 million mansion in Makeni while the rest of his towns men and towns women wallow in abject poverty. Go ahead but don’t come here to hypocritically promote your dying political party under the guise of a dry humor. APC is forever dead, never to rise from the shallow grave in which it was buried.

  4. Its totally insensitive,foolish and degrading, for a public official,JJ Saffa,our Incompetent Finance Minister,to be recklessly showering cash money on a singer as if he was a cold-hearted Pimp in a strip club,promoting the lust of the eyes,and flesh. Totally repulsive,in bad taste,and outright disgraceful. No doubt, these are the kinds of men who see young women as objects,and cheap commodities that can be bargained for, bought,and sold.

    His attitude in the video speaks volumes;Watch it keenly and you will see a menacing predator without a heart; A hopeless, miserable,incompetent drunkard,already rotten to the innermost core of his being by thefts,and fraudulent activities. These people should not be holding any kind of Public office,at all,because their judgement totally STINKS! Strange is it not;that in these hard times,they are marrying,and still being given in marriage? (lol)

    They are celebrating, overfeeding, drinking, after wickedly stealing truckloads of donated rice belonging to the! starving, hungry, poorest of the poor among us. Do those lame,and mentally I’ll sleeping on the pavements of the cold,evil streets of Freetown tonight know that this President is renewing his marriage vows, flushing away our meagre revenues? How can someone, anyone expect half-witted criminals like these to make sound decisions on behalf of our nation?

    Who still believes that these SLPP dimwits,that stupidly allowed our struggling nation to be dragged to court,instead of on to the tables of dialogue,
    in order to negotiate their way out of this mess they have created,are still on the right track towards progress? They are marrying,and still being given to marriage,celebrating,acting the fool,honoring themselves,while the masses continue to suffer,in hunger.

    Instead of finding pragmatic ways of improving the standards of living for all our people,they are applauding failed efforts,that stemmed directly from the thoughtless indiscretions, of an inept,pathetic government.Good for nothings,countless as sand,with efforts that count as nothing.(lol) Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  5. If that’s the case Mr. David Bangura, let them enjoy their wedding. Happy days. God bless the President and the First Lady.

  6. President Bio is a Catholic. Correct me if I’m wrong. Is it possible in the Catholic church to marry the same woman twice? I don’t get it. President Bio divorced his first wife or vice versa, I don’t know. He married his second wife sometime ago in London. Was the wedding in a mosque or church? My question is this – How did the Catholic church come to the conclusion of accepting the approval and blessing of this second wedding? Can anyone help? God bless/help the Catholic church with their decisions.

    • Sahr Matturi, President Bio’s first marriage to Ms. Frances Bio was a traditional rite. It was not done in the catholic church. The Archbishop of Freetown has verified this. Bio and his first wife divorced a long time ago. The president got married to Mrs. Fatima Bio in a Mosque in London seven years ago.

      Since he had never been married in a catholic church before, there was no impediment for him to marry there today. The man is a devout roman catholic and wanted a catholic wedding in addition to the Muslim wedding that he had with his wife seven years ago. God bless the Bios.

  7. There are many more senior/elderly Citizens in Sierra Leone but they would never go in public/media and call the President of their country a boy. The President of a nation is the Fountain of Honour. It is very pathetic that the level of Moral has gone so low.

  8. Hip hip hip, hurray. Again and say it after me forever. Hip hip hip, hurray. Welcome to the big wedding party in “PAOPA” city. See all the “Cut-Ariah”. Ah tell you! This is the sort of achievements that the Bio Administration has interest in. Just imagine the ungentleman Minister of Finance being so unwise and behaving ungentlemanly with our LEGAL tender. He should pay a fine for such reckless and silly behaviour with our currency.

    As regards to the wedding celebration of the President and the first lady, all I would say is this – What you are doing is your right and is fine, as long as it’s not from the taxpayers pockets. The only problem is that, the celebration will not go down well with the citizens of this country, especially at a time like this, when hardship is felt throughout the country. People are really struggling. Remember that, 2023 is not far away when you shall face the realities of your actions.

    Personally, I don’t think President Bio is serious about reelection. He knows he won’t win. His behavior ever since Sierra Leoneans became aware of his failed reckless policies, he no longer gives a damn. I have since judged the behavior of this President one year in his presidency and became consistent in my push for an APC government in 2023. By the grace of GOD, Sierra Leone is going to have a APC government in 2023, that will improve the lives of all Sierra Leoneans, rule the country as a government and unite everyone.

    As for the first lady, she should be careful of what she says in public. Saying that, she’s the first Muslim first lady, does not make sense and does not call for. It’s just another divisive rhetoric which I will condemn outright. The First Lady Fatima Bio must have an aid to edit or advice her on what she writes or says in public. A Teleprompter can help in my view. My advice to her is this – Please First Lady, be careful of what you say and how you say things in public. What you say has some weight and people might interpret in their own way.

    Our First Ladies in the past have always been very helpful to our country. They were always interested in the development of our country and not politics. People like me are supportive of our First Ladies because of their compassionate attitudes to fellow Sierra Leoneans and their neutrality in politics. Think about that. First Lady. A word for a wise is quite sufficient. God bless our First Lady.

  9. Lol – Ar tell you Adewale. These people are getting out of control and cant seem to be able to help themselves. Enough is enough already.

  10. I’m starting to think that most of this guy’s actions are hinged on fantastical thought processes – ways in which only Nollywood is capable of capturing. Which wouldn’t be a far fetched assumption to conclude with, since his wife was a part of that lowly, uneducated, mind-wasting industry of theirs.

    The posturing images that have gone viral of him and his wife on claimed business trips, which never fail to show him and her wrapped in the finest threads man has ever assembled, had steered me to think that this man is in la la land, embroiled in romanticism. But now that this despicable, absurdity – making a mockery out of a depraved nation has mounted, it has become apparent that I was right all along.

    This man is fancy and has no humility in him. People like him don’t deserve to be in position of power, because they will abuse it as we can see. Nonetheless, none of this really surprises me, because we have seen this type of things play out in front of our faces for far too long. This isn’t any different from the guys driving around Freetown in cars with alarms, making all kinds of noises and unnecessary cluster on roads that are already jammed up.

    Also, I’m not sure if he and his wife have made a bet on who will be fatter faster. She is looking chunky lol! These undisciplined Africans want to rule a whole nation, but are failing to rule their body weight. What a Joke.

    • Mahmoud says: “Also, I’m not sure if he and his wife have made a bet on who will be fatter faster. She is looking chunky lol! These undisciplined Africans want to rule a whole nation, but are failing to rule their body weight. What a Joke.”

      Oh Mahmoud, please dont kill me with laugh!! They are the proverbial African madam and Pa! They are expected to go large to show they are living a good life. Lol. Power and free access to State resources are like honey – so sweet, they cannot take their hands off the honey pot. Lol

      In all seriousness though Mahmoud, I wonder if Mrs Bio is pregnant. Or is it Mr Bio who is carrying the pregnancy. Perhaps Bilal can help us with answers. Lol. What say you Mr Coleman?

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