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.