President Bio speaks at Sierra Leone’s Bintumani Three peace conference

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 May 2019:

Sierra Leone’s national peace and cohesion conference, dubbed by president Bio as Bintumani Three has kicked off this morning to a good start, with speeches by representatives of various facets of society.

But it is the president’s keynote statement, marking the opening of the conference that drew much interest in terms of setting the agenda and the tone of proceedings for the next three days.

He spoke of a Sierra Leone that is desperately in need of ‘consolidating democratic practices and enhancing national cohesion’, whilst pushing hard for support for the establishment of a National Peace and Cohesion Commission.

This is what he said:

The Honourable Vice President, First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Ministers of Government, Members of Parliament, our revered local and religious leaders, representatives of local councils and municipalities, representatives of political parties, members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, our development partners, representatives of Civil Society Organisations present Members of the fourth estate, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, observers, fellow Sierra Leoneans, good morning:

We are gathered here today to take a major step in strengthening our democracy through a consultative conference that will lead to the establishment of an independent peace and national cohesion commission.

Between the 15th and 17th of August 1995, the National Provisional Ruling Council, supported a national consultative conference of Sierra Leoneans. They came from a broad range of backgrounds and interests to discuss the timetable and process leading to the restoration of democratic civilian rule.

On the 12th of February 1996, I, as Head of State, enjoined Sierra Leoneans to promote, peace, development, and stability. I asked every Sierra Leonean to be mindful that “we all are our brothers’ keepers with one destiny and a common future.”

I exhorted every Sierra Leonean to work to “achieve peace and to develop an environment in which democracy [could] thrive” knowing that “the welfare of our citizens is always the supreme law of the land.”

Following rapprochement with RUF leader, Corporal Foday Sankoh, and my initiation of the Abidjan Peace Accord in 1996, yet another meeting was convened by civil society organisations between April 7 and 9, 1999 to advise the government delegation to the Lome Peace talks on the pathway to peace.

Both Bintumani 1 and Bintumani II were consultative conferences. A broad range of stakeholders convened to present their views and expectations, and to make informed decisions about the shared direction and destiny of our nation.

I believed then and I still believe now that providing a space for discussions enables government to hear out the various voices and sentiments of ordinary citizens across the nation.

This Bintumani III conference is about soliciting the views of Sierra Leoneans on the remit, the shape, and the mechanics of the proposed independent peace and national cohesion commission. The eventual establishment of that commission will be a huge step in efforts to further consolidate and strengthen our democracy.

28 years after the adoption of our national constitution, 18 years after the end of civil conflict, 15 years after the conclusion of the Truth and Reconciliation hearings, through five democratic election cycles and three peaceful transfers of power, I want to encourage all of us continue our efforts to build solid institutions that will enable us to consolidate democratic practices and enhance national cohesion.

We have made huge gains. We are a stable democracy. We have a free press. Civil society organisations operate and speak up freely. Our communities are integrated at all levels. We are a nation at peace.

We need to consolidate and institutionalise those gains. We therefore need a viable infrastructure to help us build on past efforts.

Mindful of the lessons contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Report and looking back on our past with total candour, I announced during the State Opening of Parliament in 2018 the launch of a National Consultative Conference with a focus on “peace building, diversity management, and the rebuilding of national cohesion.”

I also proposed the setting up of “an Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion.” The commission will be established by an Act of Parliament. I anticipate that it will comprise representatives of every facet of Sierra Leone society.

So, my government is eager for the final communique from this event and we will expedite its consideration by cabinet and then the Sierra Leone parliament. Sierra Leone deserves a permanent and effective peace infrastructure on which the full spectrum of Sierra Leonean voices is represented. This is why we are here today.

So this Bintumani III conference is about the voices of women, men, the old, the aged pensioners, our youth, children, persons living with disabilities, Chiefs, community leaders, Imams, Pastors, journalists, civil society, members of the security forces, nurses, doctors, civil servants, private business men and women, our brothers and sisters in the diaspora, our neighbours, and ordinary citizens. Each and every voice matter.

Our constitution and national consultative conferences have not been about the singular ambition of a politician or the narrow self-interests of a few politicians. Sierra Leoneans have proven again and again that they are capable of getting together and talking to one another about the future of their nation.

Bintumani III is therefore not about politics or politicians. Bintumani III is about the people and the future of our democracy and our beloved country.

So to those who claim to promote national cohesion and yet refuse to participate in such an important gathering I want to ask you a simple question: “where will your attitude take Sierra Leone”? You cannot refuse to participate in an event that

draws its force from all corners of this country and walks of life. You cannot claim to love Sierra Leone more when all your actions and statements are contrary to the spirit of promoting diversity in democracy.

Bintumani III, I have emphasised, is about those real, ordinary Sierra Leonean voices from all four corners of the nation and the diaspora, thinking, talking about, and planning the direction in which we must take our vibrant democracy.

This is a conference about planning the future architecture of the Independent Peace and Cohesion Commission. This is about establishing a permanent commission for peace and national cohesion.

We are here with a singular commitment to move our nation forward. Let us therefore endeavour to make the best of our gathering here to set the narrative right, to neatly arrange the building blocks of the proposed commission in a way that it will reflect our shared commitment to our destiny as a nation.

Let us put forward legitimate arguments that represent our common interests and needs. Let us build an institution that will add value to our democratic credentials. Let us build an institution that will support our efforts to work together and live together in one nation state.

Let us make our governance institutions robust so that people do not easily undermine their legitimacy and effectiveness. Let us talk about how we can make it impossible for any one person or any one group of persons to keep tearing our nation apart.

Let us be totally honest and translate that honesty into real action for the good of this nation. Sierra Leone is not divided by religion or ethnicity. Sierra Leoneans live together, worship together, celebrate together, watch football games together, use the same markets, and live in the same communities very peacefully.

The problem is that bad politician are at the heart of the acrimony that continues to mar the social peace in this country. They make everything political -the ethnicity of people, the region they come from, what they believe in, what they say, even people’s last names and the colour of clothes people wear.

While some of our elections are still characterised by low levels of violence and intimidation, the growing politicisation of ethnicity and ethno-regionalism have become recurrent albeit objectionable patterns of our politics.

Politicians have tampered with critical national data either for political gerrymandering or to justify the uneven allocation of state resources.

In the recent past, we witnessed heightened sycophancy. We saw leaders being turned into demagogues. People overlooked rampant corruption because the looters were politically loyal to them.

Governance processes have been characterised by discriminatory and divisive practices that have unfairly and unjustly excluded sections of our population.

Impunity is rife in our country. “Buff case” and “no case” do not make for justice in our nation. Law enforcement should do its work fairly, without favour, and without fear of recrimination or reproach.

The media and civil society must not foster disinformation and hate. Press freedom is not freedom to sow strife and discord. Press freedom should enrich our civic discourses for the development and not the division of our nation.

Let us hold ourselves accountable as traditional and local council leaders for enriching the lives of our people. We continue to see chiefdoms that are bedevilled with consistent social challenges. We continue to see and address the inadequacies and limits of local governance and their corresponding impact on social peace.

We continue to witness registered political parties that display total disregard for due process and internal democracy as prescribed in the codes of conduct set by the Political Parties Registration Commission.

We even see some parties setting supporters against senior party officials who hold alternative views on peace and cohesion in our country.

Let us hold ourselves accountable for delivering justice fairly and speedily to those who deserve justice. The inability of the poor and the vulnerable to access justice are sources of tension in this country.

Let us hold ourselves accountable as a nation for how we protect and provide access to services for the vulnerable. Let us protect women from sexual violence, gendered violence, and gendered discriminatory practices and attitudes.

Let us protect persons with disability, children, youth, and the aged and the poor. We must promote opportunity for every Sierra Leonean irrespective of ability, gender, or circumstance.

Let us hold ourselves accountable for moving this country in the right direction, ensuring public confidence in state institutions.

Let us hold ourselves accountable for public service delivery, for the quality of our schools, for the actions of our children, for the quality of our services, and for our attitude toward innovation and change.

Let us hold ourselves accountable for supporting probity and transparency in our governance processes and in our daily lives. Do not pay or receive bribes and do not misuse public resources or public facilities.

Let us hold ourselves accountable for how we treat our people and communities.

Let us hold ourselves accountable for our civic responsibilities, protecting our rights, but also respecting the rights of other citizens. We must treat one another with fairness and justice.

I call on our compatriots in the Diaspora to play a role in mobilising expertise, ideas, and investments to Sierra Leone. They too have a stake in the strengthening of our democracy.

Let us expand the civic space through our interactions on social media and eschew dangerous rumour and hatemongering. We all have an abiding interest in a peaceful and prosperous Sierra Leone.

Fellow citizens, these are the sources of frustration and discontentment in our nation. So our problems in Sierra Leone are not only limited to bad politics and bad politicians, but to the nature of our engagements in the civic space.

Therefore, we have an obligation at this conference to discuss together, think together, and work together on how to build an institutional architecture that will help us provide solutions to the issues and more raised above.

Bintumani III is a meeting to design how we can secure our democracy from shocks with a permanent, representative, and sustainable peace and cohesion infrastructure that resolves the triggers of conflict in our country. This continuous search for stability is a sine qua non for development.

To me, reflecting with honesty and total candour on the past and the present and tasking ourselves with institutionalising practices and processes that ensure fairness, equity, and justice is no doubt the exigency of our time.

I want to take this opportunity to salute and thank Sierra Leoneans from all walks of life who are present here today – paramount chiefs and leaders of local councils and community leaders, women, children, persons with disabilities, civil society organisations, journalists, members of the security forces, representatives of various institutions, and many more.

I also want to thank our development partners who have demonstrated again and again that peace and cohesion in Sierra Leone matters for the international community of nations. We thank our brothers and sisters from neighbouring countries who have always supported us with their blood, sweat, and unconditional goodwill in making our nation a democracy and our nation a better place.

In this Holy month of Ramadan, I ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to grant you wisdom, patience, and grace in your deliberations.

As we heave our nation up the hill of sustainable peace and development, let us not be distracted by those who would rather weigh us down or talk us down.

Let us disclaim and discard the old grudges, anger, and mistrust that have blinded us and continue to blind us as a nation.

Let us embrace and celebrate the ties that bind us as a nation. I thank you. (END)

Justifying the need for setting up a National Peace Commission, the government’s Green Paper says:

“Though a diverse society, Sierra Leone has been largely free of ethnic, regional and religious strife. The high level of religious tolerance and ecumenical synergy, in fact, has over the decades been drawn upon as a critical resource for conflict prevention, mitigation and resolution. However, national elections since 2007 have been characterized by potentially destabilizing tensions and sometimes outbursts of limited violence, producing increasingly entrenched patterns of ethnic and regional voting.

“The situation is reminiscent of the late 1960s political turmoil that provided the false justification for the imposition of one-party by late President Siaka P. Stevens and must be seen as a direct threat to our democratic experiment and the peace and stability that the country has enjoyed for nearly two decades now.

“The re-emergence of ‘tribal’ and regional politics, largely absent during the years of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah’s Sierra Leone Peoples Party’s (SLPP) rule, is the result of a deliberate policy of ethnic favouritism and appeal by political leaders of the All Peoples Party (APC) Government of former President Ernest Bai Koroma.

“Exploiting ethnicity and regionalism for political purposes may lead to violence, the loss of life and property. It can lead to wider instability that might disrupt the state and society. And it undermines good governance, accentuate fissures in our society, and gives traction to corrosive demagoguery, thuggery and corruption.”

You can Read the Government’s Green Paper for the establishment of a National Peace Commission Here:

Green Paper for National Peace and Cohesion Commission

13 Comments

  1. Mr David Bangura, I am not sure the readership of this medium would welcome WILD ACCUSATIONS from people who cannot substantiate them.

    My current input (about political tribalism) is well researhed and I am 100% standing by it. However, if there is any area you think, somehow, I was economic with the truth, then point it out – so that I can make modifications, omissions or corrections.

    It is a pity that lies are always easily accepted and forgotten – but the truth is always difficult to chew and swallow. Until we are honest with ourselves, Sierra Leoneans would find it difficult to define a way forward for our beloved country.

  2. “The majority of Sierra Leoneans still favor the All Peoples Congress and Bio has done nothing great to sway this majority his way. In terms of the overall population, APC has the edge. The SLPP because of their contemptible actions is losing grounds.” CONCERNED CITIZEN

    What is the premise used to make this wide claim? The Run-off election in March 2018 was by popular votes and the current president defeated the APC candidate by a margin of 7%. The number of seats in parliaments does not give one party the edge in population, considering what has been revealed before and after the election.

    The Statistician General, Professor Osman Sankoh – a northerner himself, has sacked several directors at the Statistician General’s office. Their crime, he said that they tampered with figures that satisfied their paymasters and not the reality.
    The APC under Koroma, created two new districts in the North as a result of figures generated by the crooks he put at the Statistics office. This made the APC to add seven new constituencies to the existing constituencies in their stronghold, whilst no new constituency was created in the south and east of the country.

    As far as the APC was concerned, the only region that saw growth in population since the last census was the north. If this is not enough to give the party that created this advantage to itself while disadvantaging the other a majority in Parliaments, then what else?

    Also, looking at the results for most of the constituencies in the Western area, while the APC defeated the SLPP in several constituencies by a margin of less than 500 votes in some instance;s and this happened when the APC was calling the shot.

    Many of us who are swing voters are not counted when these two big political parties are making their boastful statements. But in reality we are the people who determine who wins, because the true demography in Sierra Leone has shown that ratio in demography between the two major parties is almost 2:2.

    We swing voters are not fools. We will vote for who has true love for this country, and against anyone who is bent on bringing the country to its knees because of personal vendetta.

  3. No wonder the shrewd and savvy Siaka Probyn Stevens said he was a Limba, the third largest group (9%) in Sierra Leone – a fact disputed by many, who strongly believe that he was a Mende from Moyamba District in the South-East. Hellp!

    Siaka Stevens knew from his experience of being in many parts of the country as a Union Official, his place lies within the Limbas who are aligned with the largest tribe – the Temnes. Stevens believed that one can wedge himself between two opposing groups and dictate the conditions and outcome of the game, if ‘you’ play your cards right. And after establishing his gameplan, Siaka Stevens tenured as Prime Minister and later as President, in the most peaceful era since the country’s independence.

    Perhaps, people should stop acting as counteracting or neutralizing forces to public outcry as a result of their anger and disappointment at the present deplorable economic outlook, alongside social tensions created by the polarisation of tribal sentiments, and the consequent stagnation of an economy that has the potential to transform into a capacity that can accommodate each and every soul in the country to a reasonable standard of living or existence.

    As many would have learnt by now, it is high time Sierra Leoneans began to call a spade – a spade. We have been in this hypocritical mindset for too long now. Where did we borrow it from? Did we inherit this trait from colonisation? Or, have we been indoctrinated by the political elite to shy away from facts and realities?

    Let’s face it, our main problem is TRIBALISM. We mock each other for the simple fact that one belongs to one ethnic group rather than the other. We associate a particular ill to one group and use that fact to legitimize our conscience for our evil deeds against them … our brothers; even though on the contrary, we are comfortable with anything foreign: including, ideas, people, goods and services, foreign money, among others. We are negative of anything that is ‘made in Sierra Leone’.

    The most disturbing component of tribalism in Sierra Leone is Tribal Opulence or Superiority Over Another. Each tribe ascribe to being somewhat superior to the others, perhaps due to their respective development in the past, with particular reference to education, ethnicity, ownership and wealth, and the numbers game.

    Playing the tribal game of numbers by politicians has discouraged a lot of groups, especially smaller ones, in forming cohesive forces with other groups in seeking the interest of the country. Some groups are constantly fighting to occupy a shaky and volatile middle ground whilst the rest have become disgruntled and see themselves as spectators in the constant battle between the Temnes (36%) and the Mendes (31%) takes place in the contest for supremacy.

    Leaders before and after Siaka Stevens’ reign (1967-1885) who participated visibly in the tribal game had experienced the most stumbling blocks in their attempt to carve out a cosmetically unbalanced or marginalised political solutions – thereby increasing regional tensions and public anxiety, leading up to coup detats, and to some degree, laid down the foundation of a senseless and devastating civil war.

    The present Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) government of Julius Maada Bio must be aware of this chaotic or topsy turvy syndrome and steer away from the temptation of singing the songs of marginalization – along the lines of tribalism, contrary to the unifying vision portrayed in the 2018 general and presidential elections.

    Maada Bio should aspire to enjoy politics in a neutral standpoint and refrain from stoking the fire of what could be a spontaneous explosive situation. He should put the country at the forefront of his logical thinking and act as an experienced and responsible arbitrator, instead of clamouring on sentimental tribal values.

    A press conference signed by over 20 Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have reaffirmed the prevalence of human rights abuses to a particular section of the population, inflicted by SLPP government officials and ardent supporters. As usual, the government seems to downplay such allegations and their effects towards national cohesion. However, if the government intends to be economic with the truth, then it would have to accept responsibility for the erosion of its reputation in the long run.

    When Joseph Saidu Momoh took the baton from Pa Siaka Stevens (1985), he misunderstood the Old Man and started playing the Limba roulette. Being an ex army officer, Momoh became overconfident and thus complacent; and it appears he became hypnotized by the changing colours of the rotating roulette, and started nodding on his watch. As he regained full consciousness, he found himself in neighbouring Guinea starting a new life – after he was overthrown in one of the easiest and unprecedented coups by mainly soldiers from the South-East, the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC).

    After four years (1992-1996) of economic deadlock, chaos, lawlessness and an egocentric atmosphere, the NPRC junta handed power to Alhaji Tejan Kabbah led SLPP, which was mostly affiliated by South-Easterners.

    Tejan Kabbah’s immediate objective was to quench the raging fire of the ongoing civil war, which started at the SLPP backyard, alongside the Sierra Leone/Liberia border. However, during the process, he mistakenly succumbed to singing the Mende war song, and just about a year in office, he was unseated in another relatively bloodless coup, this time, by mainly soldiers from the North-West, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC).

    Kabbah, on his resumption as President (1998), after a horrendous campaign to dislodge the AFRC junta, clicked on Pa Siaki’s strategy and tuned the Mende song to reflect national values and morality. It suited him quite well as Kabbah was originally from the Madingo ethnic tribe (7%). This move gave him enough horizon, and with the aggressive military deployment of the Nigerian led ecomog forces, coupled with the involvement of the United Nations (UN) and Britain, Kabbah was able to earn the legacy of ending the senseless tribal war.

    Kabbah’s successor (2007), the first Temne Man from the North – Ernest Bai Koroma – could be an eminent player in the political tribal game; though he was misconstrued for his emotional objectives. It was a well known fact that the North in general was far behind in most aspects of the country’s resource allocation. For instance, in terms of higher education, the North and East were the only regions without university institutions; while both Southern and Western regions can boast of at least two higher educational institutions each.

    Ernest Bai Koroma knew there was persistent imbalance in wealth distribution across the country; and in his attempt to alter the economic loading of the country, he was seen in some quarters as dancing to the gbondokali gymnastics – a traditional Temne dance that prepare young men for the passage of man. Nonetheless, among some of the criticisms against him was his success in building a university (and a clock tower) in his hometown, Makeni, at the expense of anger and envy from South-Easterners. What a paradox?!

    Political marginalization in the country had been embarrassingly defeated in 1967 general elections, when a relatively unknown Siaka Probyn Stevens defeated the pretentious Sir Albert Magai. After what many saw as fraudulent succession of power from his half-brother Sir Milton Magai (1964), Albert Magai did not waste any time in showcasing the goboi devil – a cultural Mende event involving masquerades. Albert Magai rubber stamped the SLPP as the South-East political church.

    There was only one popular SLPP that resonated across the political domain of the country. However, Albert Magai’s vanity and conviction that power can be monopolized by the Mende tribe or group, in a way, polarised the All Peoples Congress (APC) – which was merely a fringe party mainly frequented by Creoles, Limba and Temne residents of the capital, Freetown – to a nationwide party, especially in the North-West.

    The Creoles (2%) with their western cultures, inevitability inherited colonial administration pre-independence. However, the democratic principle of ‘one man one vote’ played against their advantage, and they were faced with the prospects of competing with the ‘kontry man’. What is the Creoles’ strategy to re-assimilate into Sierra Leone society?

    All in all, it is ironic to discover that all the past leaders after Sierra Leone’s independence in 1961, who sought to become champions in playing the tribal card for party of self-interest found themselves defeated by the politics of tribalism. Sierra Leone (7.5 million) is a very small, rigid and compact society with a complex demographic that is susceptible to anarchy and chaos when leaders tend to overtly display the tribal card.

    Beware of the topsy turvy syndrome of political tribalism in Sierra Leone.

    • Mr. Alimamy Turay,

      Your revisionist and obscure political history of Sierra Leone reads like an anti-Southeastern and anti-Mende treatise. The figures that you include in your article are as bogus as the entire analysis. What a statistical and narrative nightmare.

      When we resort to dishonest intellectual exercises to score cheap political points, not only do we do our country a disfavour, but we also raise the temperature of social/civil conflict in the country that we love. Please stop it!!!

  4. In my opinion, I believe that since the end of the civil war in Sierra Leone – politics was downgraded from an open warfare to the status of a Cold War which was characterized by threats, propaganda and other measures short of the sound of weapons.

    Based on that situation, Francis Charles Margai successful divided the SLPP party by forming the PMDC party on the propaganda that the SLPP was ungrateful to the late Hinga Norman who was head of the Civil Defense Force aka “kamajors“ which eventually brought back the APC back to State House.

    But the relationship between the APC and the PMDC went south when Charles Margai threatened to use the Kamajors against former President Koroma if he felt unsecure due to land disputes which eventually landed him behind bars at the CID.

    My point is although the support base of the APC was from mainly the North West, they were very careful not to engage in any violence as their tactics in the South East because of the possibility that the Kamajor fighters that defended their territorial integrity against the RUF were still operating; and I believe that serves as a deterrent.

    Now with the absence of the APC at the Bintumani 3 conference, I believe that we are now having a Cold Peace – since the main opposition party is treating the formation of the peace commission with vocal disgust. But since President Bio has been elected by the people, and the international community has no tolerance for violence against any elected government, the president is left with no choice but to proceed with the willing and progressive parties to enforce peace by the formation of the peace commission.

    My only advice to the APC is to stick to the idea that in 2023 there is a 50% chance that they can unseat President Bio through the ballot box, instead of threatening another war. And at least for the next three years, let them support the current government to develop our country so just in case they are fortunate to win the next election, they will continue the development that all parties have contributed to.

  5. Now we and the whole came to understand that, Koroma led APC has no love for this country. Believe it or not, APC will never smell power again in this country. Our eyes are now opened, nothing can fool us again. You guys are ungrateful indeed. Yes you can avoid or boycott the B3, who cares?

    Sierra Leoneans have learnt a big lesson from you and the whole world in general. Up to date till now APC party never believe or accept that they were defeated in the 2018 elections, this is unbelievable. We want peace for our country as we are already tired of your manipulation. Your chairman and leader for life has no regard for this country. Neither APC, SLPP, or other party own this country. E.B Koroma needs to retire from politics totally. Let him wash his hands off Sierra Leone politics now or else he’ll regret it.

    He needs to learn from the late Dr. Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabba and some others, Like the U.S. former presidents… Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Please E.B.K. go home get some rest. Life is too short, God appointing you as a leader of the country once, is the most and the last respect a man can look for on EARTH.

    For Chief Sam Sumana, he’s dreaming and who so ever fooling him around. As I said before, he is power hungry. He could have stayed with his C4C but instead he allowed Koroma to fool him again. APC will never come to power again.

    • “Now we and the whole came to understand that, Koroma led APC has no love for this country. Believe it or not, APC will never smell power again in this country. Our eyes are now opened, nothing can fool us again. You guys are ungrateful indeed. Yes you can avoid or boycott the B3, who cares?”-Sheku Kamara

      I hate it when people try to upsurge the powers of God/Allah almighty. Who are we but only mortals to make such outlandish statement? We are entitled to only one vote. I cannot nor can anyone else determine how the rest of the voters are going to vote in future elections.

      As recent as 2017, One Mohamed (One drop) Sankoh in his stupor from the loots prophesy that Bio would never step near State House. He did not only stop at that but further posited that the APC was destined to rule for another 40 years before some other party smells the seat of power. He was not alone in his feign proclamations. One John Leigh seconded his statement.

      Lesson, we are mere mortals. We should do what mortals are meant to do and leave that which is in God’s/Allah’s sovereignty to do. Jesus as close as he is to the father, made that known to his followers on several occasions that only his father in Heaven knows what will happen in the future.

  6. B3 is turning out to be a public relations nightmare. It was billed as a conference for national cohesion, yet it is turning out to be a symposium for peace theorists. It’s only outcome would be to ratify the proposed Peace Commission, another extraneous body that would be filled with people of their own hue and likeness.

    This is such a farce. The Bintumani 3 is a redundant and facade political project. The vision and mission of the project is unclear and unqualified. The creation of a new Peace and Cohesion Commission is a duplication of what the Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Democracy and the Ombudsman office are created to do.

    This government is not sober and purposeful. It is sad for them to reverse this country. Liberia and Algeria that we share similar conflict situation with are not in this parochial and idleness of a Peace Commission when they have democratic institutions to function as such. SLPP must follow the rule of law and stop the deception.

    Bintumani 3 is about the creation of a Nationwide Campaign Commission for Bio’s Re-election in 2023. Bintumani 3 is not about the search for peace and national cohesion in Sierra Leone. The belligerent posture of the SLPP since winning the presidency does not show a party interested in nationwide harmony and unity. I intentionally did not say, since the SLPP came to power and assumed the governance of the nation, because in truth Sierra Leone is a divided nation.

    The SLPP can twist the facts until the day they are voted out in 2023. The APC has the legislative majority. So, this peacock attitude of displaying power as if Sierra Leoneans voted them into governance in a landslide election is incorrect.

    Foremost, the SLPP needs a reality check. Whether Bio likes it or not, he is the head of the executive branch of government and not the government itself. Julius Maada Bio is not the law and commandment of the land. His supporters need to take a good dose of the truth that Sierra Leone presently has a gravely divided government.

    The majority of Sierra Leoneans still favor the All Peoples Congress and Bio has done nothing great to sway this majority his way. In terms of the overall population, APC has the edge. The SLPP because of their contemptable actions is losing grounds.

    It is time for Bio and his SLPP jolly riders to get off from their moral and political high horses. Sierra Leoneans in general did not vote for Bio to seek retaliation against the APC. Nor was it to repossess the native land against reputed enemies from the northwest.

    The political ideology of ethnic superiority must be terminated because it is the major obstacle to lasting peace and unity in Sierra Leone. Vindictive politics only breeds more hate and animosity among citizens of the one nation. If despite their majority the populace held the APC party liable, they equally hold the SLPP accountable for their vicious actions.

    Using back channels to distribute national funds only to Bio supporters, is a corrupt practice and a gross abuse of power. If Bio and his SLPP seek peace and national cohesion, let them change their manner of running the executive branch of government. Lead by genuinely reaching out to the majority who opposed you, not just insulating the minority who were already for you.

    But Bio has not made the switch from campaigning to governing the nation. Therefore, Bintumani is not about peace and unity in Sierra Leone. It is about the clever early unfolding of another presidential term agenda for Julius Maada Bio.

    Remember all the “thank you tours” that were actual political rallies? This Bintumani conference is no different. How can you talk about peace and unity when at the driveway to the conference hall there are paid thugs insulting the APC opposition by calling them “Ghetto Youths?”

    How can you talk about peace and unity when a day before the beginning of the conference, a personal bodyguard of the former president somehow disappears from custody in a heavily secured military barracks detention facility? Bio and his SLPP are not serious about peace and unity.

    What they want is for everyone to bow down and worship Bio. What they want is basically for others to go along with their deceitful plan without questioning neither their motives nor their strategy.

    Their self-styled peace commission is meant to serve as the unveiling of the Bio re-election campaign team with no other agenda but to use the country’s limited resources campaigning for Bio to win another term in 2023.

    Quoting a patriotic Sierra Leonean living in Australia, a “second term for Maada Bio is not in the best interest of Sierra Leone.” That’s the bottom-line fact.

    So, as the previous Bintumani conferences led to his removal from office, Bintumani 3,4,5,6, etc., will also lead to removal and the massive defeat of Maada Bio in 2023. A second term for Maada Bio is not in the best interest of Sierra Leone.

    It only serves his selfish and tribal purpose which are anonyms of peace and national cohesion. So, “No Second for Tribalistic and Regionalist Bio.” Not at all.

    • Concerned Citizen, I share some of your concerns. But, I have concerns too that will be made after the conference is over. In the meantime, I have this observation for both the President and the Chief Minister before my analysis later.

      I do not see the logic by saying that, BINTUMANI THREE must/does not have anything to do with POLITICS whilst a POLITICAL FIRE ENGINE is stationed next to PARLIAMENT? Crack my thoughts!

    • The president Julius Bio detractors sound like a broken record. They have been saying the same thing over and over again since the president assumed office last year. But with all the rubbish coming from them, Bio keeps succeeding at a pace unprecedented in the history of the Salone presidency.

      So, the APC did not show up at Bintumani 3. But many of the country’s seventeen registered political parties were represented at the conference. Additionally, the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States, all sent representatives to wish president Bio and Sierra Leone well. Shame on the Bio detractors, especially the APC and the C4C.

    • Mr/Mrs Concerned Citizen, I would like to agree with some of the things that you say in throwing dirt at the SLPP, which the SLPP must take note of and act accordingly to ensure that justice is done quickly. But please remember that he or she who comes to equity to seek justice must come with clean hands.

      You accuse SLPP of human rights abuses, especailly the sacking of APC supporters by president Bio from public service. While two wrongs do not make anything right, APC must stop pretending that they did not inflict injustice on others when they were in power.

      Let us remind ourselves of some of the people sacked by APC when they came to office in 2007: Dr John Karimu the then NRA boss, Mr Emmanuel Gaima – decentralization boss, Alhaji Kanja Sesay of Nacsa, Dr JD Rogers Bank governor, J S Kaifala of Road transport cooperation, Late Ishmail Kabbay of SLRA, Kanji Daramy of Natcom, Foday Mannah of NPA, Alhaji Cole of State Lottery;

      Alhaji Kakay of Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, Professor Laurence Kamara of Statistics Sierra Leone, Dr Bob Kandeh of procurement unit, Mrs Kanja Sesay of Democracy Sierra Leone, Dr Williams – Chief medical officer, Jack Lansana of Pharmacy Board, Professor Aiah Kpakima of university of Sierra Leone, Kamararay of Accountant General Office;

      Justin Bangura of Nacsa, the the Chief Justice, Dr Hindowa Momoh – executive secretary of NEC, Barth Williams of IPAM and Mr Mohammed Rado Swaray from Freetown international Airport who is present minister of information and communication.

      A lot of public servants were sacked when the APC took over governance in 2007. Was that not political marginalization and human rights abuse? Many of those people are still alive today carrying their hurt and begging for APC heads to be placed on the chopping block.

      Even if today we are talking about peace and cohesion, those holding power in the previous government must be held to account, so that justice can be seen to be done, and I am not advocating the sacking of APC supporters in retribution either.

      Those are names of many of those sacked in 2007 for no good reason, other than their political and tribal affiliation to the SLPP. Were they not qualified?

      We need to find a way of ending impunity and political retaliation in Sierra Leone. Perhaps the Peace Commission might be able to achieve that by ensuring a level playing field for all, once it is set up. APC will then be able to take its case to the Commission.

      My only issue with the proposed peace commission is that care must be taken that it does not usurp the powers of the courts and other government agencies and institutions.

  7. Great speech. But to be honest, there was very little on any new ideas. Almost all what the President said has been said and attempted to be done in the past. I think both past Presidents and the present President have reached the SATURATION POINT on ideas concerning NATIONAL UNITY AND COHESION. However let’s see what happens as people digest the speech.

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