Amin Kef Sesay: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 31 May 2022:
UK Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean – Victoria Grace Ford, was in Freetown last Thursday, where she praised President Bio’s leadership for the policy reforms his government has put in place.
The British politician, said that many of these reforms, should help transform Sierra Leone to a modern democracy; adding that the Free Quality Education initiative is particularly crucial, especially with the premium the government places on women and girls who can now pursue courses in the sciences at higher institutions of learning.
“Your Excellency, thank you for your leadership. This is so amazing. Even in the midst of the Coronavirus, you were able to do what many developed countries couldn’t do. That is the right thing to do. The establishment of the One-Stop Center, the Gender Empowerment Law, the Sexual Offences Model Court, the repeal of the seditious libel law and most importantly, the abolition of the death penalty,” she stated.
President Dr Julius Maada Bio thanked the visiting Minister and the UK Government for their continuing support to the country, adding that Sierra Leone is a beacon of stable democracy that is providing a template for the development of other West African countries.
He also noted that despite the devastating effects of the COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine that is adversely affecting economies around the world, Sierra Leone has not used that as an excuse for not implementing change and promoting development.
“Over the last 4 years, my government has championed Gender Equality issues and has placed it at the heart of its New Direction agenda. The new Gender Empowerment Bill has enshrined a commitment to 30% of public appointments going to women.
“The ‘Hands Off Our Girls’ initiative by the First Lady is tackling child marriage and sexual violence through public awareness and advocating for stronger sentencing to end female genital mutilation for those under 18 years by actively engaging traditional leaders. Also, the Munafa Fund is providing SMEs with micro-finance of which 70% are female-owned,” President Bio said.
The President requested the UK Government to support the new AgriTech4Africa partnership, saying that rapid adoption of agricultural technology and innovations, specifically tailored to the needs of the African smallholder farmers, is key to meeting the food needs of Africa and the world.
With a lack of credible opposition and the APC party in a man made state of disarray, and no one from that party emerging as the one candidate that will be going to head to head match up with Bio , this vote of confidence from the British to Bio’s one directionless government might just be a shift of alliances by our western partners , that the opposition APC party and the smaller parties needs to shape up or risk losing any international support to defeat Bio in the 2023 presidential elections. It comes after the former President Enerst Bai Koroma , who have recently been hosting western dignitaries that were taking the temperature or dipping their feets in the political hot waters of Sierra. Leone to see for themselves how the APC party is preparing themselves to take the fight to Bio but lack the leadership qualities or political heavy hitters that will marshal enough support to unseat Bio .Which to me is not only a betrayal of our people but is handing Bio the presidency in a platter with out him sweating for it .
Like political scientist our western partners have firmly came to the conclusion the APC party is either in a state of denial about the task ahead of them , or like an ostrich are burying their heads in the sand pretending their lack of leadership and infighting is not going to make a dent to their electoral chances . And for Sierra leoneans and our western creditors that has as much stake in the future prospects of our country like anyone of us they will just go with the old adage is better the devil you know . These are signs they are going to put all their eggs in one basket and support Bio .Not because he is good but they haven’t seen the messiah that will save Sierra Leone from Bio amongst the opposition parties .
This is not the time for nip picking .And now former President Koroma has ruled himself out in the running we are yet to see anyone emerge as a clear and alternative to Bio .Unless of course the APC party and other parties unite behind one candidate and have their vice presidential running mate as Dr Yummeh Kellkah , Dr Bylden or the most popular mayor of our times Mrs Akin Swayer .Anything less for the APC,will be like trying to squeeze blood out of a rock .They might just managed to do it , but it will be a miracle.Maybe is time to summon the witch doctors to predict the 2023 presidential election election .That way we can all go back to our political slumber until such time we wake up and smell the coffee and realised Bio’s government has been a complete and utter failure .