President Bio should return to his grass roots base – an Op ed

Sorie Fofana: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 October 2019:

On 4th April 2018, Julius Maada Bio was sworn-in as the democratically elected President of Sierra Leone. That is exactly eighteen months ago. Since his election as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, President Dr. Julius Maada Bio has been very busy, governing the country. He has had little or no time for party politics.

It has to be said that the people of Sierra Leone voted for President Dr. Julius Maada Bio to govern the country for five years. Many people in the SLPP have blamed the President for making himself inaccessible.

Some have even argued that the President has suddenly become unapproachable. This is simply because the President has been very busy dealing with matters of State. And rightly so.

Some supporters in the Party’s heartland have even argued that the President has abandoned them because he has not been paying them frequent visits.

The question that must be asked is this: how can the President abandon the running of the country just to be paying regular visits to address party supporters in the Provinces?

It has to be said that save for few areas, the President has been on a nationwide tour, to thank the people of this country for voting for him in March 2018.

On at least two occasions since his election in April 2018, the President has visited the Party’s Headquarters in Freetown. This visit is naturally bound to continue when the President properly settles down in office.

There is the allegation that some people around the President at State House have always made it impossible for Party supporters to see or even communicate with the President. If that allegation is true, it is a very bad way to treat Party supporters.

Party supporters must be given the privilege to freely communicate with their leader. Making the President inaccessible through senseless bureaucratic means is not encouraging at all. The President has always been the darling of the grass roots supporters of the party and the country.

The abject failure by some of the people around the President to make the man accessible to the grass roots supporters of the party is completely unhelpful.

All along, President Bio has been a very accessible man. Why has the President suddenly become inaccessible?

Those who have built a brick wall around the President at State House should not forget the sacrifices that grass roots supporters made to get President Bio to State House today. Those sacrifices should not be allowed to go in vain.

President Bio is truly the President for the whole country. But, it is equally true that, he is supposed to be the leader of the SLPP. He came to power through the SLPP. That fact should not be swept under the red carpet at State House.

The President’s visit to Gigibonta Restaurant last Sunday is a very good start. The President should start connecting with his support base – the grass roots. Keeping the President behind the fortified doors of State House is not what the President truly needs.

What the man really needs is for people around him to help unite the party, reach out to party faithful and make life comfortable for grass roots supporters of the party.

The impression should not be created that the President has been captured by a coterie of self-serving individuals who have surrounded the President at State House and have succeeded in making him completely inaccessible.

The decision by the President to visit Gigibonta Restaurant last Sunday (Photo), has become the latest popular talk shop in town. That’s the best way to go, Mr. President.

We call on the President to return to his political base, by starting to reconnect with his core supporters at the grass roots level. That is the game winner.

6 Comments

  1. BRAHIM the King – I thank you and your wife generously for the heartfelt praises,and confidence, you have been ceaselessly expressing towards me. I have been very busy lately – doing a lot of travelling on business. But that didn’t stop me from noticing that you were under attack for being a true friend of mine.

    Nothing’s changed – I am still the same Saidu – still making lots of dough,still not loving the opposition,still outspoken,authentic,and fearless…still APC to the bone, and core of my innermost being; still a friend of truth,and the poor hungry masses. My friends call me “Great Sayedna” and because of your faith in me, I am bestowing upon you the right to address me as such – using that glorious name,if you so desire…only you do I give permission to utter a sacred name,only those with genuine hearts full of love are permitted to say….It must be so! Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  2. This is a timely reminder to his Excellency the president and he should realise that our current political dispensation of power is time limited compared to paramount chiefs tenue of life leadership till they die. As the writer trully and effectively stated in his article that President Bio is truly the President for the whole country. But, it is equally true that, he is supposed to be the leader of the SLPP. He came to power through the SLPP. That fact should not be swept under the red carpet at State House.

    I have read recently also of the same scenario concerning the NPP party of Ghana by one of it’s senior members Dr Kenneth. They are accusing him of knowing too much when he reminded the president of Ghana of neglecting his roots and power base of attaining/climbing into the leadership of power.

    There must be a balance. Based on records , the late Pa Tejan-Kabbah when he handed over the presidency after his term finished, the grass-root where complaining and even accused him of doing nothing for the SLPP strongholds; and that he connived with the then Chief Electoral commissioner to handover power to EB Koroma dispite the tremendous effort of the late man in transforming Sierra Leone’s economy with an excess of 500 Billion leone in government revenue and decreasing the external national debt to just $150 million. He wiped out our external debts of Billions of dollars by satisfying the regurous conditionalities as an High Indebted Country.

    This compared to the recently handing over power of the EB Koroma leadership where the national wealth/financial resources were looted by his few elites and party members, leaving the economy in austerity and comatose state.

  3. I still do not know whether our country will ever have a President that thinks for himself in the interest of our people.Going to expensive restaurants when many are going hungry,is not the brightest of examples the SLPP should strive try to set.Only God knows the person that will be able to fix this broken system of ours.

    • BRAHIM, President Julius Maada Bio is the president of all Sierra Leoneans, rich and poor. Visiting an expensive restaurant owned and run by a Sierra Leonean is a reassurance to all that the president supports domestic investment which creates jobs for all Sierra Leoneans, your APC or NGC folks included.

      It is a dumb and regressive policy for a president to embrace the poor while keeping the rich at arm’s length. Ours is a free enterprise society where the rich play a critical role in investing their wealth, paying their fair share of taxes and providing jobs for the poor. Bio’s decision to visit that restaurant was spot on.

  4. Gigibonta Restaurant is located at Lumley beach and they are very expensive. They do not cater for the poor working man and women, let alone the unemployed. So its not the sort of places that president Bio should be very proud of visiting to show he is a man of the people, as the author is suggesting.

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