Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 June 2017
The departure last week of president Koroma for Germany has sparked growing concern and speculation about the state of his health.
A statement issued by Presidential Spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay last Sunday, 8th of June 2017, simply says that: “The general public is hereby informed that His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has left Freetown today for the Federal Republic of Germany on a private visit as part of his leave vacation.
“Whilst in Germany, the President will meet with Sierra Leoneans in continental Europe to apprise them on a wide range of government issues, including but not limited to, the country’s preparedness for the March 2018 general elections. His Excellency the President is expected in Freetown on Wednesday, June 28, 2017.”
But since his arrival in Germany there has been news blackout about the whereabouts of the president.
Not much has been heard about the president’s promised European tour. (Photo: President Koroma greeted in Germany by the country’s ambassador to Germany).
Presidential observers say that it is likely president Koroma is in Germany for his annual health check up, or possibly receiving some kind of health treatment, as the president continues to look tired and unwell.
Two weeks ago, social media rumour mill was rife with false stories about the health of the president.
Sources close to the president say that although the 63-year-old president has had his fair share of poor health in the past, but with his frequent health check-ups overseas and the occasional game of squash, he is more than managing to stay fit and healthy.
But observers of the president’s recent hectic schedule believe that president Koroma is beginning to look quite tired and overweight.
The president has got less than ten months before handing over power to his successor, after elections are held in March 2018.
He was last seen in public in Freetown when he attended the football match between the Sierra Leone national side and the Kenyans.
During his absence from the country, the vice president Victor Foh is acting as president – a controversial role – since the sacking of vice president Sam Sumana by president Koroma two years ago.
Questions are also being asked as to why the president cannot set a good example to those in the country that can afford to take a holiday, to make use of local holiday resorts in the country that are being promoted to international tourists, rather than fly to Europe at the expense of poor tax payers of Sierra Leone. Charity begins at home – critics say.