Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 September 2022:
Yesterday’s inauguration of newly elected president Ruto of Kenya at the Nairobi national stadium was going well until President Ruto welcomed and paid tribute to visiting Heads of State, but omitted the name of Sierra Leone’s president. One of Ruto’s aides had to point to President Ruto that President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone was among the visitors, before he could be acknowledged.
Even worse, Ruto pronounced Bio’s name incorrectly, to the embarrassment of Sierra Leone’s president.
Fo many Sierra Leoneans, such an embarrassment is unheard of at the highest level of State protocol, and there are calls for Sierra Leone’s minister of foreign affairs to take full responsibility for this huge gaffe.
But some political analysts say that Ruto’s snobbery of President Bio is connected to President Bio’s mishandling of recent deadly riots in Sierra Leone and the labelling of former President Koroma’s APC party as a terrorist group, responsible for organising the riots.
Former President Koroma was in Kenya (Photo above) supervising presidential and general elections in the country when riots broke out in various parts of Sierra Leone. There is immense political sympathy and professional respect between the newly elected Kenyan President and former president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma.
But writing on Twitter yesterday, President Bio sounded upbeat, and put on a brave face to the Kenyan fiasco. He said: “Today, I joined other Heads of State and Government at the inauguration ceremony of President William Ruto in Nairobi, Kenya, in demonstrating Sierra Leone’s commitment to promoting Pan-Africanism and democracy. Congratulations once again, President Ruto and the people of Kenya”.
A political commentator in Sierra Leone wrote: “Disgracefully, disgraceful! Just been informed by the BBC reporter in Kenya that even a seat was not provided or made available for Mungo Park (President Bio’s new nickname for his all too frequent travels abroad) during the just ended inaugural ceremony of president Ruto in Nairobi, Kenya. Sources from the event planning team had this to say after the event, “how can they provide seating accommodation to an uninvited guest or even acknowledge him at the peak of the event when they haven’t extended any iota of invitation for him to grace the well-attended ceremony by some of the big names in the continent”. Even the uninvited guest was not properly acknowledged, and his name was wrongly pronounced.”
This is what Reverend Kabs Kanu, Editor of Cocorioko said about President Bio’s most embarrassing moment:
“The fact that I worked as a diplomat in a very senior capacity for 9 years makes it even more possible for me to spot out the anomaly and shame . I know how the system works. Protocol officially compiles all the names of invited guests to such a big occasion. There is no way they could have omitted President Bio’s name from the list the President read from if he was invited. The president does not write his own speech. It is not one person that writes the president’s speech. It is teamwork. Even we in New York also used to do the compilation and help in writing of the speeches. How could the new president have omitted President Bio’s name from the list of invited guests the new President acknowledged from his speech?
“And look at what the President said: he did not say he omitted to mention President Bio’s name. If he did, he could and should have apologized because it is a grave protocol and diplomatic blunder . The new president rather said he had just been reminded that “our friend and brother from Sierra Leone “also attended . Why did he not say “I omitted to mention the name of an important person we invited”? And he went on and completely mispronounced President Bio’s name.
“I worked for the Foreign Affairs in a very senior capacity for 9 years and we here in New York, State House and the Foreign Ministry in Freetown worked together in everything, even in preparing statements, speeches and talking points of the president and misters . We made sure that the talking points were well produced and rehearsed to avoid blunders etc. How could we have prepared a presidential statement and completely omitted one of the names of the invited presidents ? Somebody here or in Freetown would have picked it up that the names were incomplete.
“We received special training on our appointments about how to make sure that we did everything right in protocol and diplomacy. We were taught that in diplomacy, you cannot even say mistakes are negligible because even a 1% mistake would hurt the president or the country. Rather, we were told ” mistakes were a no no ” No mistakes. Not a single nuance that would raise any red flag . Nothing. I am sure other governments gave their State House and Foreign ministries the same training on protocol.
“This is a big embarrassment. No way to patch it up. And the Kenya president did not even treat Bio with respect during his explanation. He treated our President just like a common guest. I am sure the cocktail will taste bitter in President Bio’s mouth today.
“And let me tell you who will take issue and be hurt most : The wife. Wives do not take lightly their husbands being slighted in public , let alone be embarrassed . Whenever we go out, my wife quickly notices if I have been disrespected even in a speech where my name is mentioned, and she demands immediate correction. When somebody fit to be my daughter repeatedly referred to me as Kabs , she had somebody go to remind the speaker immediately to refer to me as either Rev. KABS Kanu or Mr. Kabs Kanu. That is what wives do. They get hurt more when the husband is not treated right.
“The whole incident should be investigated by both the Kenya and Sierra Leone State Houses , if SLPP spin masters ( and mistresses ) are absolutely sure that the President was really officially invited. There was a major goof somewhere.
“The new Kenya President did not help matters when he tried to rectify the snob. He should have apologized that he did not name one of his invited guests. Saying that he has just been told that President Bio too was present was very disrespectful to our president and our country. He said it as if he did not know that President Bio was invited.
“Poor SLPP spin masters and mistresses. You are ruling an intelligent Sierra Leone at a new era when knowledge and understanding have increased due to a combination of Information Technology and social media. The intelligence of our people has become sharper than normal and today people read even body languages , tones of voices and even nuances of statements. This is no longer the old era of passive participants. Today, everybody, even the palm wine tapper at Leymbema Village, is an active participant in the decoding of social media communication and nuances . You can no longer fool even him.
“President Bio endured a very embarrassing day in Kenya today. People would seem inclined to believe from the interpretation of what happened at the Kenya stadium that the name of an uninvited guest was forced to be mentioned in the presidential introduction of the invited guests.”
Vickie Remoe, publisher, blames the Kenyan President for this presidential embarrasment. Writing on her Twitter feed, she said: “I hope a strongly worded memo will be sent from our Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Kenya’s cuz you don’t treat a Head of State like that. Whether you like President Bio or not he represents the people of SierraLeone and is deserving of respect and all protocols!”
Could anyone confirm whether the new Kenyan president Ruto was not using any notes or teleprompter to deliver his 36minutes maiden UN General Assemby speech? He seems to be a powerful orator. If his words and vocals are as powerful as his deeds, Kenya will be as good as as gold.
President Ruth definitely use a teleprompter or his notes to deliver such a remarkable address at his inauguration. Everything about Kenya’s economic, social and -political future, under his new government cannot just be addressed off-script like that, under the watchful eyes of the world leaders present at the ceremony.
I do believe president Ruto only went off-script when he was informed about president Bio’s presence and he had to hurriedly announce his presence too.
My bad, Mr. Massally, I thought you were asking about the inauguration speech of president Ruto. I just found out you were referring to his UN speech. Again, I still believe he either used a teleprompter or some notes. He is a -powerful orator, I can see. Why do you think Kenyans voted him as their president?
I kept looking for one but the self-styled hustler had his head and gaze straight ahead in the direction of his audience. I thought a teleprompter was floating or suspended above the heads of those listening to his speech in the assembly hall.
It is fair to say that he has it in him to hold a crowd spell-bound and have them mesmerized. The onus is now on him to deliver the bottom line-increased foreign direct investment (FDI), economic growth, low unemployment rate and low inflation – for the people of Kenya.
Mr, Massally, you are on point and I do agree with you about the challenges facing Kenya’s new president Ruto, but here is the sad irony facing our leaders in Africa. Either it’s a weakness or it’s by design, once these leaders take on this enormous responsibility, with time, they become oblivious of the sufferings of their people and also become incapable of stopping corruption that eventually overpower their promise to their people. It is so ironic.
The accusation that President Bio is a killer, having blood in his hand but won the 2018 elections even by 1% is laughable and contrary to the United Nations Peace & Reconciliation Commission Report of Sierra Leone.” Maada Must Go” slogan is only tenable through the ballot box. Not by riotous conduct resulting in the inhumane killing of police officers and gullible misguided supporters of so-called PPP. Any unsubstantiated blanket accusation against Maada will not stand the test of time So please forget it brother.
Well said Mr, Fatorma. Most of these naysayers are just going about criticizing and blaming president Bio for all the ills in the country, which is not fair. President Bio inherited so much of the problems he is facing from the previous APC government of president Koroma. Who doesn’t know that?
If people want to talk about blood in president Bio’s hands, let’s go back to the reigning days of late Pa Shaki and his APC government and go over all the politicians and top officials he and his party masterminded in getting killed. Have we forgotten, Ibrahim Taqi, Dr. Forna and others who were executed at Pademba Road prisons ? What about my late uncle, Brigadier Bangura and other high ranking military officials who were also executed at Pademba Road prisons? And then there was the Salone bank governor, Bangura, who was murdered under mysterious circumstances. I could go on and on. Talk about blood in a president’s hands!!
Like I said before and I see you feel the same way, the ballot box in next year’s election, under a free and fair atmosphere, is the only way people will get their voices heard. I wish I was in the country to participate in the voting.
To be fair to president Bio, this man travels all over the world begging for assistance to alleviate the problems facing the country. It is not an easy task but I doff my hat to this hard working president.
BIO LACKS COMMON SENSE PERIOD: IDLE PRESIDENT – WHY ATTEMPT TO BLAME THE KENYA NEW PRESIDENT FOR NOTHING? BIO WAS JUST A RANDOM GATECRASHER Ha ha ha interesting, what goes around, always comes around. All those who lived by the sword must die by sword. You see an idle man is the devil work-shop. Is Bio not really recognising that he has a big job to do in his country, the country’s economic outlook has been dismantled, law and order is nonexistent, with a biased and; bogus judicial system that needs urgent overhaul, corruption and lawlessness are the order of the day.
WHAT HAS DICTATOR BIO GOT TO DO IN KENYA? Bio is not democratic, nor does he subscribe to the principles of democracy within his own country. I was therefore, amazed to see a tyrant and dictator like him attempting to join other civilised leaders within the continent with qualified democratic credentials in Kenya. Charity begin at home Bio. Your leadership is absolutely missing in action. Look where you have now taken Sierra Leone to. You are a tribalist and one sided view leader.
GATE CRASHER BIO NOT INVITED: To all intent and purpose, it was pure idleness, that took bio to Kenya, to witness an occasion, where he was never invited in the first place, wasting tax payers monies for nothing. Bio’s defunct and dysfunctional regime is missing in action. His so-called new direction have now transformed to nightmare, misery, idleness, thuggery, central bank plunder, regional identity politics and mis-direction.
Mohamed Bah, or whatever you are called, yes, my name is Tobangay and I stand by what I said about haters of the country’s president Maada Bio. What I will definitely not do is go into a cheap and inglorious argument with you over this issue. Unlike you, I don’t belong to any of the political parties in the country. I just say things as I see fitting. Let me just say I am very sorry for the loss oh innocent lives in our country over people demonstrating for their rights. It’s unfortunate, but this is what happens when protesters and law enforcement collide and result in violent confrontations, like what happened recently in the country. I must hasten to say, Mr. Bah, that much as I feel sorry for all that is happening in our country, I believe the best way to bring an end to this malaise is to go out and vote in next year’s presidential election and vote president Bio out of office, if you believe he is not the leader for the country. We can go back and forth here in laying blame’s at each other’s doorsteps, but unless we participate in an election and vote our conscience, this problem will never end. It is what it is, my brother.
Just for context, Rev. Kabs Kanu, an icon in the APC party is my younger brother and though we don’t agree on our political beliefs, we don’t go clutching at each other’s throat when we disagree on the politics in our country. We behave like two natured adults. Also, back in the seventies, I was a ring leader in the group that staged the student demonstration against late pa Siaka Stevens and his APC government during the notorious ‘no college, no school’ student demonstrations in 1977. Some of us were arrested and spent time at Pademba Road Prisons and eventually faced pa Shaki , on our release, at the State House. The rest is history. My advise to you, Mr. Bah, is to ‘look before you leap’.
I am sure you were not even born yet when we jumped into the streets of Freetown and demonstrated against your revered APC party and government. Some of us, as far away as we are now from Sierra Leone still have the scars to bear for the decisions we made during that period. Raving and ranting and disrespecting people, for their political opinions, is not the way to go to help salvage what is going on in the country. The ballot box is the answer.
Tobangay or whatever you call yourself, you have the gall to call those of us that cannot stand Bio – haters? Well let me tell you why over 45 percent of people in Sierra Leone (according to the 2018 presidential election result) hate president Bio. They hate him because he has blood on his hands. He is a monster that killed 29 innocent Sierra Leoneans in cold blood when he was leader of his military junta. He is not trusted. One day he will pay for his sins.
He will also pay for all the young people and prisoners that he killed in cold blood using live ammunition in the past two years. You call those that criticise Bio – haters? You have the cheek. Yes we have reasons for hating him. No matter how much he washes those blood stained hands, Bio will never see heaven. By God’s grace. He has ruined the economy by his incompetence and slothfulness. Please dont give us any silly partisan lectures here!
Guys, guys, cool off this heinous propaganda about our president Bio being intentionally embarrassed at the recent Kenyan presidential inauguration. It was an unintentional mistake, pure and simple. Mistakes like these happen all the time in the world at large. From what I have been reading from haters of president Bio and his SLPP government is that the embarrassment was not only intentional but was due to the way president Bio addressed the recent demonstration in the country. Let’s be honest and act like mature adults here, guys. Who is president Ruto or the Kenyan people to interfere into our country’s internal affairs to the extent of embarrassing our president in public like that?
These conspiracy theories are the work of the opposition APC who are hell bent on capitalizing on an incident that could just be accepted as a mistake. By immediately mentioning president Bio’s name and presence at the inauguration, it showed the Kenyan president’s regret and instant acknowledgement. Even President Bio, after returning to Sierra Leone treated the slight like nothing and continued to congratulate president Ruto and the people of Kenya. Why do the SLPP haters continue to make the proverbial ‘mountain out of a molehill’ so much about this event?
Our country is facing so much economic, social and political firestorms, so common in most parts of the world, even here in the United States. Why do detractors like the APC think our country, Sierra Leone is the only country in the world facing such challenges? My best advice is for haters to grow up and work together to make our ‘land that we love’ a better place.
One can safely assume the omission of Bio’s name in the guest list of the contingent of African heads of state by President Ruto is not an accident but by design , and laced with snobbery, like an after thought . Indeed it is not only an insult to our dear dear leader but to the people of Sierra Leoen .One wonders how President elect Ruto will missed Bio , whose BMI is more pronounced than skinny and lanky Ethiopian president Abby Ahmed, who by the looks of the pictures coming from the inauguration ceremony was sitting next to him.
How could president William Ruto get his knickers on the twists on one of the biggest days of his life? Did President Ruto mistakenly thought Bio was just one of the protection officers or as the article indicated he was not a fan of Bio after the recent spate of demonstration and violence and extrajudicial killings of youths in our country under Bio’s watch for which Bio blamed the opposition APC and some of it’s leadership . One would only speculate if Mr Ruto is playing the devils advocate and in a shuttle way trying to name and shame Bio publicly to his Kenyan and international audiences .
Although President Ruto was quick to acknowledged his mistake after being made aware of Bio’s presence in his inoguration ceremony , even a novice body language expert like myself, can make out this half baked apology form the Kenyan President doesn’t bode well for future relationship between our two nations .But if we go by what the article suggested , that President Ruto is not a fan of Bio , due to the recent political violence in our country , one would be forgiven to think then former vice president Ruto and former President Uhuru Kenyatta were indicted by the international war crimes Tribunal in the Hague , for the 2007 elections violence in Kenya, in which more than a thousand people lost their lives for which both men denied and later acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence.
I hope Bio was listening to the speech of the President elect .One particular thing that stood out , was the recognition by President Ruto of the enormous contributions that the Kenyan Diaspora make through remittance , to help grow their country’s economy .Hence he is going to set up a Ministry for the Diaspora .Contrast that with what what Bio said recently about the Sierra leoean Diaspora , he accused of undermining his government , and being later day terrorist that wants to make our country ungovernable .Clearly you can see the difference of approach between these two leaders .Maybe William Ruto has done our country a favor . I think if we have a william Ruto in our country we might just be in a different trajectory .If Bio is cleaver enough he will learn from this international public humiliation .
This is an expose of the difference between a genuine and a deliberate mistake – deserved or not! President Bio, how about a Sierra Leone Ministry for DIASPORANS and Countering Wastefulness including Non-Mende Sierra Leoneans?
Seton During – thinking aloud, London, UK.