Yankuba Kai-Samba: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 November 2020:
On 7 December 2020, a press statement published by the State House press secretary announced that the president will be travelling to Gabon to strengthen bilateral relations between Sierra Leone and Gabon.
This is the second time president Bio has travelled overseas since the COVID 19 pandemic obstructed his penchant for costly and non-essential overseas trips.
President Bio has become known rather unflatteringly as the” flying president” because within two years of becoming president, he travelled to more than 50 countries, setting a record and costing taxpayers huge sums of money that could be used to help build the country’s healthcare system.
His latest unnecessary trip to Gabon, follows an equally eyebrows raising holiday trip he made to Lebanon over three months ago.
Prior to his holidaying in Lebanon, his press secretary said the president would stay in Lebanon for a week, during which he would promote bilateral relations with Lebanon.
But Sierra Leoneans were left bemused as to why the president was in Lebanon in the middle of a raging Global Covid-19 pandemic. They also question the secrecy surrounding his visit to a country rocked by significant instability and conflict.
A trip we were told would be for a week stretched out to nearly a month, without any news or statement from either the president himself or his press secretary, who did not travel with the president, until at the tail end of their sojourn when for the first time, the first lady, Mrs Fatima Jabbie Bio, mentioned on Facebook that they were “enjoying their honeymoon” in Lebanon.
Up to this day, the people of Sierra Leone who elected president Bio in 2018, have not been told, with clarity, the true reason as to why the president had travelled to Lebanon.
It is against this opaque background that further questions must be raised about the president’s mind-boggling trip to Gabon, and more importantly, especially as there is developing a fast and serious breakdown in diplomatic relations between Sierra Leone and her next-door neighbour – Guinea.
About a month prior to this year’s general and presidential elections in Guinea, the Guinean President Alpha conde, closed his country’s borders with Sierra Leone, after accusing the vice president of Sierra Leone of recruiting mercenaries to disrupt his country’s elections.
In recent days, the Guinean president has again raised the temperature by imposing a trade blockade on Sierra Leone.
Gabon is a central African country – farther away from Sierra Leone. It is 2,787 km from Sierra Leone whereas Guinea which is across the road from Sierra Leone. This is what the Gabonese think about president Bio’s visit to Gbon:
One would have expected president Bio to have prioritised the re-building of diplomatic relations with Guinea and respond to this fast-declining relationship with Alpha Conde as a matter of utmost urgency, by travelling with a high-level delegation to sit down with his Guinean counterpart to iron out their differences and misunderstanding.
Sierra Leone stands to lose greatly if president Bio does not show leadership but rely on ECOWAS and AU to intervene on his behalf.
Most traders in Sierra Leone travel to Guinea almost every week to buy goods for sale in Sierra Leone. This informal business sector provides much needed income for significant number of households in Sierra Leone. It is also a source of tax revenue for the government of Sierra Leone.
Any delay on the part of president Bio to resolve the deteriorating diplomatic relations with Guinea, rather than sitting down with president Conde to restore trust and confidence between the two countries, will further damage the already battered economy of Sierra Leone.
This will lead to more suffering and increasing poverty for large swathes of poor communities along the border, especially the business community in Sierra Leone who are largely women.
Our President likes to fly,but please don’t ask me why. Some say he loves to eat a banana, an apple and a pie while in the skies, as he soars and the engine roars but the SLPP denies this, calling it all fabricated APC lies. Another said, when the President flies in haste he loves to take off his shoes, while reading the news without regrets, about his outdated, complicated views. This President loves to fly and sigh and cry with tears of joy like a boy with a toy when gliding and spinning in the air. He is as happy and zappy, like a newly-born deer or mare rollicking and frolicking without a worry, or a care. “Over the highest waterfalls, cliffs and peaks of mountains I would like to fly, very high and out of sight like a kite, so I can inhale and exhale fresh air, without remorse or fear, all this politicking is driving me nuts;” The President complained.
The cheerful pilot laughed and replied smiling;”The tendency to seek distractions from unpleasant realities by indulging oneself in needless traveling will not solve a damn thing Sir, it will only make matters worse and lead you eventually to the abysmal depths of traumatizing regrets. Return to your people and find the courage to evaluate your heartfelt intentions; and if your innermost core, your spotless mirror of conscience reflects a bright and promising future for your efforts, so be it – Hold on firmly to the path you are on, success will eventually come to you.”(lol)The President shook his head in agreement, and then the Pilot added, “Forget all this needless flying for now – Firstly learn to crawl, then walk, after which you will be able to run and the fly. Such is the way to Greatness.”
I personally believe that this its a wonderful news to hear that our Pro active President Bio is on the road again to establish bilateral ties in our region whilst most leaders around the world are still trying to combat this dreadful coronavirus disease.
President Bio took no chances based on the past experience with the Ebola disease that ravaged our country few years ago which unfortunately the past destructive APC thieving officials use to enrich themselves. “Prevention is always better than cure” , and that is the reason why the president and people of Sierra Leone are not in any panic mode even though most developed nation are still struggling with this disease.
Gabon is a perfect country to learn from because they have the highest score in Human Capital Development in the sub- Saharan region, so kudos to our president for making this wise decision to learn from Gabon how to learn how to strengthen our agricultural sector. The reality is, Guinea will always be our neighbour and the relationship between us has always been symbiotic relationship based on mutual respect. I personally believe that President Alpha Conde’s decision to manipulate the constitution and making Sierra Leone a scapegoat by injecting tribalism in our country is rather unfortunate. I believe that President Bio should hold his ground by ignoring Conte because the allegations were baseless and unfounded , and whenever he comes back to his senses, he is free to open his boarder because our embassies are still open in both capital cities.
I can still remember in the 80’ when the late Liberia President Samuel Doe closed his boarder based on false allegation, the response from late President Sierra Stevens in Krio was, ”Doe Wae lock e doe na him go open e doe”.
Hahahaha, the indomitable, intellectual, one of a kind, ingenious master STARGAZER, my humble brother from another mother, glad to be back in your midst sir.
This absentee president, is nothing sort of a tourist in the shores of Sierra leone. If you want to hide from Bio go to State House, you will never find him there, sitting in his office attending to the affairs of the state for which he was elected. Your best bet is to sit out, at the departure and arrivals lounge at Lungi International airport, to be able to catch a glimpse of the commander in chief. I am running away from my county’s problem, because I as their president don’t have a clue what I am doing. The type of life style Bio has become addicted to, cannot be found in Sierra Leone, thanks to his government’s lack of commitment to address the core issues affecting our country. Alpha Conde is behaving like that towards us, because he thinks we are a poor and vulnerable country. He will never dream of applying border closures to the Ivory Coast.
Bio is running away from Sierra Leone because we lack, good health care, good roads, 24 hours supply of electricity, clean water, clean streets, clean beaches, hundred percent security to the individual persons. So where do we expect Bio, to enjoy his lifestyle? In countries that are well organised and run, and doesn’t suffer the same predicaments that we the citizens of Sierra Leone have to put up with. As for Alpha Conde, he and Bio are two sides of the same coin. Dictators. We have been there before with Samuel K. Doe, who used to close the Liberian/Sierra Leonean border at the drop of a hat in the 80s. We all know how that ended.
I dont think its bad idea for the president to travel overseas, especially to tighten Sierra Leone relationships whith other nations. And also he is the head of state; so he knows what is better for this nation, and I hope he knows also what he is doing. Long live Sierra Leone.
Hahahahahah, he knows what is better for the country! What a travesty. Where did you get this mangled thought from?
“ One would have expected president Bio to have prioritised the re-building of diplomatic relations with Guinea and respond to this fast-declining relationship with Alpha Conde as a matter of utmost urgency, by travelling with a high-level delegation to sit down with his Guinean counterpart to iron out their differences and misunderstanding.”
Couldn’t agree more with the above statement. Suffice to say, the current regime tendencies of misplace priorities, ranging from a variety of societal issues, could not be disconnected to our nation’s economy continuance deplorable condition, with only elite members of the regime flourishing in opulent lifestyles. Based on what I observed during my recent trip to the motherland, our nation is indeed in a comatose state. Absolutely nothing good to write home about. Highly disappointed!!
Special Agent Young4na – Welcome back to the den of lions brother – There are voices
that resemble a referee’s whistle, and others that resemble trumpets; Yours my friend
resembles the frightening noise of Canon built exclusive for all out War…Good to have you back brother.(lol)
I have always maintained that President Bio and his economic team, which includes his finance minister, J.J. Staffa , are in extremely urgent need of O’Level type Economics or even lower. We have an economy forever at the brink of complete breakdown. In the midst of it the President can afford to hire private jet to go for a joy ride around the world. The nation is yet to see any remarkable, positive outcome to any of his travels to justify it.
Foreign policy is not for the naive. A foreign or external affairs minister is someone that is supposed to do all the manual work to lay the ground for foreign investment, including showcasing what a country can offer. A head of state should only then travel to attract foreign investment if he has to, probably to put final touches to a deal in a face-to-face meeting with his counterpart or investors, which only requires a handshake.
President Bio, straighten out your country with whatever you have and sit back to watch foreign investors camping out of your office for you to give them the nod over millions of dollars or Euros which they are ready to shower the country with. As I see it the only thing that sticks out about your visit to Gabon is to see President Ali Bongo by your side to indicate that the latter has remarkably been recovering from a long illness. As a frail human being, my heart goes out to him.