Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 September 2020:
President Julius Maada Bio and his wife – Mrs Fatima Bio, have few hours ago landed at the Lungi International Airport in Freetown, after spending twenty-three days in Beirut enjoying their honeymoon amidst much criticism and uproar back home.
The couple were met by a throng of chanting SLPP supporters close to the runway – to a red-carpet arrival which many are now referring to as the “arrival of Romeo and Juliet”.
Reactions to the president’s return home have been mixed. While his supporters are chanting – “the eagle has landed”, his critics – who are accusing the president of jumping ship in the middle of a global and national pandemic – with millions of homes going without proper meal every day amid rising poverty and unemployment, are asking the president – “you left us in hunger – what have you brought back for us?” – captured in this song that is now making the rounds on social media:
But on a more serious note, there are reports of the “tactical” removal this evening – just before the arrival of the president and his lady – of the Commanding Officer responsible for the Lungi Airport Police Station and the Senior Officer heading the Counter Terrorism Unit of Police – also at the Lungi Airport, with immediate effect. It is understood that both Officers are from the north of the country – heartland of the former APC government.
Earlier this week, the General Manager of the Lungi Airport – Ebenezer Macauley, was also sacked by “orders from above” – a euphemism for orders from state House. Mr Macauley – who is of Krio origin and suspected by the SLPP government to be an opposition APC sympathiser, has been swiftly replaced by Jack Massaquoi, a Southerner – an SLPP government supporter.
President Bio was also greeted on his return this evening by news of a sharp increase of 20 new COVID-19 cases reported in the country yesterday, the highest single day increase, since August 9th.
Today, 6 new cases were recorded, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in Sierra Leone to 2,159, with 72 dead, as the country’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Spokesman for the National COVID-19 Emergency Response Centre – Solomon Jamiru, is reported to have been tested COVID-19 positive. He is said to be asymptomatic and in self-isolation at his home.
There are rumours, the president will soon be announcing major ministerial shake-up as economic conditions in the country continues to worsen, despite the massive bail out of almost $500 million by the World Bank, the IMF, the African Development Bank, and other international partners.
President Bio has returned to a country that is desperately seeking good leadership and a change of direction, both in terms of the economic hardship facing millions of Sierra Leoneans and the continuous abuse of power by those in authority.
Welcome back Mr President and Mrs Fatima Bio from your honeymoon: