President Koroma’s speech in Portugal – who is he fooling?

Santhkie Sorie: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 April 2019:

Former President Koroma of Sierra Leone can do all the travelling he wishes to do and make speeches everywhere, as long he does so as a private citizen and not pretend to be representing the people and government of Sierra Leone.

He had a full decade not only to make inspiring speeches to spur his country to greater things, but to enhance his own legacy and he failed on both fronts.

Whatever he does now to remain in the consciousness of the nation, is a desperate attempt to make amends for his poor leadership as president, which, day in and day out is being laid bare by numerous events for all to see.

Ernest Koroma has looked into the pit of oblivion and has developed a hatred for its features. Especially because it confers loneliness on its victim. It is worse for public figures like former president Koroma, who merely a year ago was surrounded by people saying “yes sir” to him all the time.

To compound his melancholic situation, Ernest Koroma is constantly receiving calls from within his APC to step aside from the party’s chairmanship, so that the party can be reformed if it is to become an effectively democratic fighting force, or at least conduct internal free and fair elections for the party’s leadership.

What is certain is that both prospects hold the dismal outcome of political suicide and a hasty burial for the former president.

It is sad to see a former president fighting to stay relevant.

His presence in Portugal last weekend, was designed to show the APC party rank and file that the international community still admires the former president. But he failed.

Today he is being lampooned even by supporters and loyalists of his APC party, as he heads for a disgraceful fall from grace.

How many people in Lisbon have ever heard of Ernest Bai Koroma anyway, apart from the handful of Sierra Leoneans that have made Portugal their home?

Ernest knows the countries where he can quietly slip in and out of these days, without facing withering and humiliating demonstrations.

We are waiting to watch Ernest Koroma live on television in Sierra Leone before one of the Commissions of Inquiry, as he  showcases his articulate powers in explaining where he was when his administration descended into a bottomless pit of corruption and den of criminality.

19 Comments

  1. Mr Anthony Moiba, you asked me to tell you whether there are “no better politicians in the APC to replace our former President” and I should be honest that “he failed badly, especially in his second term in office”.

    The first part of your question should be appropriately directed to the headquarters of the All Peoples Congress (APC); I think they would give you a better answer than me. I am pretty sure there are many eminent politicians out of their present 68 members of parliament. But perhaps, at this moment in time, Earnest Bai Koroma (EBK), is the only figure that can unify the party, and win them the 2023 elections.

    Then the APC party would be faced with various scenarios: one being, EBK would steer the government for half of the mandated first term in office, and hand over to his running mate or vice President, and (EBK) would retire permanently.

    My brother, Mr Moiba, the APC are frustrated because of the OBSTRUCTION of their development agenda after the recent 2018 parliamentary and presidential elections. Who knows, if the APC were in power today, the University of Kono (UNIKON?) and Mamamah International Airport could have been up and running.

    Furthermore, more roads could have been built to integrate the country and thereby create a viable business environment. For now, all these development strides have been given the red light by the present Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) government; albeit we should commend their Free Quality Education (FQE) initiative.

    Take your pick. It seems the conflict here has culminated to a chicken and egg situation. Which one made the first appearance on earth?

    Whilst pondering this question, bear in mind that education without the requisite facilities and environment is a total lost cause. Even in the United Kingdom (UK) which boasts of an advanced economy, a lot of people (including parliamentarians) have the tendency to opt out of public schools and put their children in fee-paying private schools. Why? This is because of the free-rider problem in the utilization of public goods. ‘Free’ is never associated with ‘Quality’.

    Now, coming to the second part of your question, I think it is unfair to lay all the blame on EBK’s shoulders for a failing economy. EBK is just a human being like each and everyone of us, and therefore prone to failures or mistakes. And whilst evaluating his successes or failures, we should ask ourselves: what were the circumstances that led to these failures?

    EBK took power from 2007 and up to his second term in office, in 2013, every sector of the economy was relatively running fine. From peace, human rights, law and order, social cohesion, freedom of expression to a buoyant economy that climaxed to 20% growth.

    It was in 2014 when nature stuck its hammer blow on the Manor River region of West Africa, in the form of an ebola virus epidemic, that “things fall apart” for EBK. It took about 2 years for the countries in this region Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to eradicate this dreadful disease. And consequently, all the economies of these three countries contracted drastically.

    The question is, can we blame EBK for the sudden dip in Sierra Leone’s fortunes? Or, was it a man-made disaster in which EBK was part of?

    Another negative thrust in EBK’s effort in steering the economy was the drop in the price of iron which eventually led to a complete halt in iron ore mining activities in the country. Can we blame EBK for the great loss in revenue in this sector, or can we think deeper and reflect the blame on global market forces?

    Notwithstanding, the 2017 mudslide disaster was the last straw that broke the camel’s back! Excuse me for using this cliche, but it sounds appropriate in summing up the natural calamities that EBK encountered in the last three years of his presidency. Note that in statistical or econometric analysis, there is no such thing as luck or bad luck. There is always a lurking variable that is obstructing manipulation.

    As for corruption, I kept repeating myself that it is a human’s instinct; and this is evident to the fact that even when the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Commissions of Inquiry (COI) are investigating members of the erstwhile government, corruption is taking place in the present administration. Corruption happens all over the world, though in varying magnitudes.

    Corruption is a function of poverty – and that is why it is rife in West Africa. In the case of Sierra Leone, it is olnly the incorporation of e-controls that will abate this phenomenon in the activities of government.

    It is high time the pendulum of blame is deflected away from EBK. The present government was elected to manage the problems of the country. They should not use the finger to disguise their incompetence.

    Have I succeeded in addressing your concerns, Mr Anthony Moiba?

  2. Whatever you report has nothing to do with this great man. We will never forget his great works – SLPP newspaper. He is facing no pressure to resign. He will do so honourably at convention. Not like Maada Bio who refused to resign just to force himself to steal an election and now president of Paopanistas.

  3. I personally believe that former President Koroma possesses most of the attributes of a “Con Artist “. He looks good or handsome, charismatic and he is a smooth talker. But since most of the corruption reports about his government is just allegations which should be proven in the court of law, we need to give him the benefit of the doubt for now and respect the on going process and procedures that the president has put in place.

    But the things that are obvious about him is that he has tasted the sweetness of power and money. The path he is now choosing by blatantly lying to the world that he will retire from politics 3 months after the 2018 elections, has proven that he has the urge to taste the bitterness of humiliation and disgrace, which I believe will be handed to him on a golden platter within his own political party and constituency.

  4. I think it is a good idea for the Sierra Leoneans VIPs to visit Portugal. Portugal is the founding father of our country Sierra Leone not the brits.

    Sierra Leone is Portugese(Sierra da loa) meaning LION MOUNTAIN. So let us respect the choice of former president for his visit to this lovely country.

  5. How can anyone make such claims that EBK is a Charismatic leader and therefore had no cause to suppress, intimidate or kill anyone during his leadership tenure? May I draw your attention to the following: The last APC convention in Makeni, how was the flag bearer chosen? Was there no threatening remarks in his speech?

    Who said these words: “If anybody challenge me ar go kill am, berr am en drink champagne pan tap en grave” (Quote from Sam Sumana former VP elect). Just some points to think about as I really do not want to delve deeper into his deeds.

  6. He is fooling himself. He thinks people will believe what he is saying, thinking deeply about the country he left. I am happy he is no more in politics and will somehow give the stolen money back to the government.

  7. The Sierra Leone Telegraph have done a most remarkable thing. They have erected a platform for the free exchange of views by Sierra Leoneans or anybody else for that matter. The threshold for being on the platform is very low too as I understand it – you stay clear of foul language and advocating violence in our dear country.

    It would indeed be peculiar if all of us who use the platform to be unanimous on everything – the scene would be too lacklustre.

    I therefore welcome agreements, disagreements and criticisms. I see them as learning tools never to be ignored.

    Remember that we are all fighting for the progress of the entity called Sierra Leone; we just have our different individual ways of expressing ourselves in the fight.

    The incurable sickness that I have is that I am exceedingly patriotic and nationalistic, which has injected the value of a free spirit in me to deal with issues as I see them.

    I have no time for politicians who like to treat us in an infantile manner while destroying the nation, be they APC or SLPP or any of the other political parties.

    My request to all Sierra Leoneans is for us to become unpredictable to these politicians. Only then will they start respecting our intelligence. Earnest Koroma must know that we are in rage over the revelations coming out, whose origins are right underneath his feet.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to read my piece Sahr.

    • Indeed. Accepting agreements, disagreements and criticisms as learning tools will never be ignored. Thank you very much Santhkie for welcoming agreements, disagreements and criticisms.

      Finally, as you rightly said, we should not misuse this opportunity given to us by The Sierra Leone Telegraph to be not only unruly to ourselves on the platform, but to others outside too. You are welcome Santhkie.

  8. Honestly,I try to keep my integrity when it comes to politics in this forum intact. That is why I hardly comment back at most articles. Because, most writers issues on this platform are strictly politically one sided. And am tired of this “FOR or AGAINST” thing!…dont tell me about freedom to one’s opinion..I get that!!

    But the way political issues are discussed these days here in this medium,I it is now a norm for some people to use that as a means for spreading(bias)political shenanigans ,all in the name of ‘opinion’…na em make sef, mi lili pawda wae ah get, ah nor go west am pan kondo!…

  9. Love him or loathe him the former President of Sierra Leone, Earnest Bai Koroma (aka EBK) radiates an aura of charisma, presence and a touch of elegance. Coupled to this is the fact that the guy is a true statesman and an international player accredited to the super league of global politics – attributes that have made him the subject of envy by inept political figures – including their supporters – who strenuously try to superimpose themselves to the populace.

    Earnest Bai Koroma did not have to travel all the way to Massachusetts institute of technology (MIT) or Havard University to be conferred with a honorary degree in governance, as he is an alumni of Fourah Bay College (FBC), the educational institution that had made Sierra Leone as the once acclaimed Athens of Africa.

    On the other hand, MIT and Havard Universities knew they were not going to waste any ink or papper to issue their coveted degrees to camouflage a high school dropout who doubles as an opportunistic dictator of a tiny country, called Sierra Leone.

    The most important trait of a political leader is CHARISMA – and without this magical characteristic, political leaders around the world seem to behave like fictitious actors in an attempt to substantiate themselves, and eventually become dictators. Earnest Bai Koroma, being endowed with this trait, with certain amount of flair, never had any cause to suppress, intimidate or kill any of his people during his tenure as President.

    In his first term in office (2007 – 2012) EBK transformed a country that was still suffering from the side effects of a brutal 11-year civil war, into one of the fastest growing economies in the world; a growth that climaxed to about 20% in 2013, at a time when the world was experiencing one of the greatest downturn of the business cycle in recent history – the 2008 recession.

    However, in 2014 nature struk its devastating blow in the Mano River region of West Africa. An unanticipated and somewhat systematic knock-out punch to the economies of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, in the form of an ebola virus epidemic, which took the lives of over 11,000 people in the region.

    Nonetheless, and in collaboration with the international community, the liberal and meticulous EBK fought tooth and nail to eradicate this dreadful disease; and by 2016, Sierra Leone was declared as ebola free by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    It is very ungrateful and ungracious to evaluate EBK’S successes or failures without taking into account the impact of ebola disease to the economy.

    Who will want to do business, or travel to a country that was infested with a relatively unknown and life-threatening disease such as ebola?

    Today, as the indomitable EBK declares his intention to participate in mainstream politics, his political opponents are sweating profusely behind closed doors, trying to formulate unimaginable allegations in an effort to avoid confronting him in the political arena.

    Other things equal (OTE), and given the present political actors in the country, the guy knows he is still an invaluable capital, and given the chance, he will surely not going to let down his shareholders.

    • Mr. Turay you may be right about EBK but tell me, are there no better politicians in the APC to replace our former President?? Be honest with your self – he failed badly, especially in his second term in office.

      I want the progressives to champion the course of development in all our political parties. We need more KKYs, Bios, Lawyer Kalokohs, Sierra Leone Telegraphs, Awokos, and less Sam Sumanas, less EBKs and never, never the Mohamed Kamarainbas, Cocoriokos etc.!!

  10. Indeed, sometimes I remain thunderstruck when I read pieces of admiration and praises for former president Koroma by participants on this forum. A question that comes to my mind and I ask myself is, can people make themselves so blind that they tend to place all other interests to the fore and take national interest as trivial?

    This is a man whom Sierra Leoneans gave the opportunity to take the helm of governance in order to better the lives of the people and make Sierra Leone once again a great nation. To our utmost disappointment, he ran the affairs of the country with a cartel of rogues and heartless individuals and he acted as capo of the cartel. He nurtured massive corruption in governance, brought down the country’s economy to shambles, inflicted poverty on his subjects which caused them ill health across board.

    He is yet to give account to the Sierra Leone people for his stewardship during the decade long as president of the country. Sierra Leoneans will ever remember Ernest Koroma as the worst leader of modern times in this country.

    Thank you Santhkie Sorie for such brilliant article.

    • We may not want to say it but our country moving forward has been thanks to him. We spend time crying him down and I believe most people commenting here are not in the country.

      We have a country that runs itself right now. The current government is riding on the wave of the previous leadership’s on-going projects that were left by the former government. We have nothing new. So please explain how was that the worse leadership in Sierra Leone history??

  11. Former president Koroma dont want to live like a statesman but rather a politician because he has still not resigned his position as chairman and leader – something he promised to do three month after the 2018 elections.

    He had all the time to have thought of this during his tenure as president but he never did. Now that the commission of inquiry is at his doorstep he want to get the attention of the Sierra Leonean people.

    • Good evening Mr Bash,

      Kay and I fully appreciate your comments. But I need some clarifications based on your assertion that every thing the present government is doing is a continuation from the previous govt.

      Though I may agree with you that government is about continuation and there are some ongoing projects that were initiated by the then government but there are some that are actually new like corruption, which was the label of the previous government and the human capital development which was never emphasised as we are seeing now; the free ambulance service and the effort on mechanised farming are all new. Thanks bro, though it was talked about but was never implemented as we can see now sir.

  12. Koroma to me is an enigma. He says all the right things when he talks or give speeches. But does all the wrong things as a leader. He tribalized every facet of the civil service, weakened state institutions, allowed unbridled and savage corruption and was slow (perhaps deliberately) in his response to national emergencies such as Ebola.

    He squandered an opportunity of a lifetime to turn things around in that nation. But once again he gave a very good speech. A peace corps of engineers will do the continent a lot of good. Thank you Mr EX president but a greater thanks to Nfa Ali Conteh.

  13. The best speech ever as a statesman – not as a president, but someone that was democratically elected and served 2 terms. We should learn to respect our leaders despite political differences.

    • Let’s applaud the writer SanthKie Sorie for his well written article. I disagree with him on one point and that is, and I quote ‘How many people in Lisbon have ever heard of Ernest Bai Koroma anyway, apart from the handful of Sierra Leoneans that have made Portugal their home?’.

      The Portuguese or people in Lisbon are not obliged to know the president or anyone from Sierra Leone. Am I right Santhkie?
      Where I agree with you is when you said that only a handful of Sierra Leoneans who have made Portugal their home need to know about former President Koroma. You are perfectly write.

      I want to draw your attention on comments you made on this forum. Sometimes, you are for or against some areas of other people’s articles. Your criticism sometime seems to be annoying.

      My question to you now Santhkie is this, how do you feel as a writer when someone disagrees and agrees with you? I want you to share that experience with me or with all of us participating in this forum?

      I also thank Dominik for his comment. We should always try to tone down the rhetoric and try not to be discourteous with our leaders. Keep that good spirit Dominik. BUILDING BRIDGES is better than CONSTRUCTING BEAUTIFUL WALLS. We should be INCLUSIVE and not DIVISIVE.

    • Mr. Kebbie,I have no problem with his speeches but the manner in which he left our country… morally and economically BANKRUPT. Every day revelations upon revelations of how our resources and wealth are being channelled through very, very selfish and unpatriotic citizens.

      He was our President but he failed us as a Nation. My advice to him is, please, please step down as chairman of your Party. The APC is still a force to reckon with in Sierra Leone. But only without EBK … He should stop holding the progressive members in his party to RANSOM.

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