President Bio’s lecture at PENN State University – Sound of an empty vessel – Op ed

Alpha Amadu Jalloh: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 March 2024:

President Julius Maada Bio’s recent appearance at PENN State University, purportedly for a lecture on development, human rights, and democracy, has left many scratching their heads and questioning the authenticity of the event.

The gathering, attended predominantly by a paid audience from the SLPP North America branch and others allegedly orchestrated by President Bio’s team, seemed more like a charade than a scholarly discourse.

The supposed lecture, marred by glaring flaws from inception, was a disservice not only to President Bio but also to the principles he purportedly aimed to champion. If I were President Bio, I would have relieved my speechwriter of their duties posthaste, for the lecture lacked substance and failed to offer any meaningful takeaways.

President Bio’s presentation was devoid of noteworthy content, with most of his claims standing in stark opposition to his actions and policies in Sierra Leone. It’s perplexing, if not downright insulting, to witness President Bio speak about good governance while the international community views him as nothing more than a despot—a poster boy for failed leadership.

His attempt to portray himself as a champion of democracy is laughable, given the numerous allegations of authoritarianism and human rights abuses under his watch.

Throughout the lecture, President Bio’s ineptitude was glaringly apparent, as he stumbled over his words and made contradictory statements. This lack of coherence only served to undermine his credibility further and reinforce the perception of his administration’s incompetence.

Moreover, President Bio’s failure to address pressing issues facing Sierra Leone, such as the epidemic of drug abuse among youth and the usurpation of women development agenda by his spouse, First Lady Fatima Bio, is deeply concerning. It speaks volumes about his priorities and his commitment to the well-being of his country.

The presence of a paid audience, strategically positioned in the front row, adds another layer of deception to the event. Such tactics only serve to highlight the superficiality of President Bio’s attempts at self-promotion and underscore his disregard for genuine engagement and dialogue.

In the end, President Julius Maada Bio’s lecture at PENN State University was nothing more than a sham—an empty vessel making noise. It served as a means of self-aggrandizement rather than a platform for meaningful discussion and reflection.

It’s time for the international community to see through such charade and hold leaders like President Bio accountable for their actions and their words. Sierra Leone deserves better.

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