West African leaders arrive in Sierra Leone ahead of the Country’s 60th independence anniversary

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 April 2021:

Today, Sierra Leone marks 60 years of independence from British colonial rule. As frantic, last minute preparations are being made for what State House has been careful not to describe as ‘celebration’ amid growing and widespread economic hardship across the country, President Bio yesterday welcomed fellow West African leaders arriving in Freetown ahead of today’s “commemoration”.

President Bio was at the Lungi International Airport, where he met Adama Barrow of The Republic of The Gambia, and President Nana Akufo-Addo of the Republic of Ghana.

President Alpha Conde of Guinea, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo of Nigeria, President George Manneh Weah of Liberia and Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam of Guinea Bissau are all expected to arrive in Freetown today, 27 April 2021 to join the people of Sierra Leone in “commemorating” the country’s 60th Independence Anniversary.

But as the people of Sierra Leone wake up to witness their nation’s 60th year of independence, the government is being accused of failing to use this opportunity to promote national cohesion and political tolerance, after failing to extend invitation to former president Ernest Bai Koroma on time to attend the official ceremonies today.

Former president Koroma is the leader and chairman of the country’s main opposition All People’s Congress Party (APC).

Since winning presidential election in 2018, there have been calls for president Bio to cultivate and promote national cohesion through political tolerance, dialogue and inclusion after a series of violent confrontation between the ruling SLPP and the opposition APC.

Although the ruling SLPP won the presidential election in 2018, it failed however to achieve a majority in parliament and went on to nullify and take away ten parliamentary seats won by the APC, in order to secure control of the country’s parliament.

This single act of “political perversion” – as critics describe it, has dangerously damaged relations between the ruling SLPP and the main opposition APC – a chasm that is in need of serious and urgent repair, if Sierra Leone is to avoid the risk of seeing its hard-won peace derailed by rogue politicians.

Writing in a public statement released yesterday, this is what the Office of the Former President Koroma said:  

“The Office of the Former President, H.E. Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, hereby informs the general public that it has received verbal information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation at 17:00hrs today 26th April, 2021, that they have just this moment, received invitations extended to the former president, H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma, by State House.

“The invitations are for the former president to attend the ‘Decoration Ceremony of Distinguished Heads of States’ and to the ‘State Lunch in Honour of Visiting Heads of State’ slated for tomorrow 27th April, 2021 at 11:00: AM and 1:00 PM respectively.

“Former President Koroma believes that, without due consideration of his own schedule, such last minute informal back channelling of what is supposed to be an official invitation to an important state function relating to the 60th Independence Anniversary celebrations is on purpose to ensure that he does not attend [the said state functions].

“We believe that the State is well aware that the former president resides in Makeni and will need time to travel for an 11:00AM state function in the capital. If the State truly wanted the former president to attend, they would have officially delivered the invitation in good time to the former President’s Freetown Residence which they also know very well.

“In as much as he would have loved to join in the state commemoration of our nation’s 60th Independence Anniversary, former President Koroma is very disappointed that even for such an important national event, which should have been a rallying point for national unity and cohesion, the State could still choose political grandstanding over genuine reconciliation.”

Today’s commemoration of 60 years of independence will commence at 9am, with school children and inter-forces marching from the country’s Parliament to the national stadium in the capital Freetown. President Bio will take salute at State House.

At 4pm, president Bio will present national awards and insignia to worthy Sierra Leoneans and foreign citizens at State House; followed by the beating of the retreat by the Armed Forces and Police.

Today’s ceremony will culminate in a State reception hosted by the president at State House.

But for the third year running since coming to power, the government has ensured that there will be no street celebration by ordinary citizens, who normally would dress in their national colours and dance along with masquerades, as well as put on a colourful show of lantern parade.

In the meantime, the Freetown City Council has been working hard to clean and spruce-up the city’s main roads with fresh paint ahead of today’s commemoration. (Photo above).

13 Comments

  1. When a president thinks he is smarter than God and even the People he was hired and elected to govern,he will always be in a cover-up syndrome; he will always be in the Dreamworld of bribing his way to a safe heaven. The problem with our African leaders is money. Those presidents who came into our country on the invitation of president Bio,know fully well that this president is not helping his people at all; they also know that he is at war with his Predecessor,the former president- Dr. Ernest Bai koroma,who did more for the people of Sierra Leone than him. One thing we should all know is that,this present president of Sierra leone knows he was not elected to office by the majority of the voters who voted in that election; he also know that he was imposed upon us by the British that he has now disappointed; he knows also that he has lost popularity in the whole country, even in his own political pàrty and the British Government.

    Because he does not have their backing, he has resorted to wasting our country’s money and diamonds on the cleaning of his image to the committee of nations where decisions are made concerning elections, since Sierra Leone happens to be a member of the Uñted Nation Organization. As a very proud leader,God has resisted him in so many things within and without the shores of Sierra Leone just to teach him that pride goeth before a fall; people who he is supposed to decorate, he refused to do so to them because of hate,malice and revenge he chosen as his modus operandi in leadership. Even though all he achieved in these past three yeàrs was the killing of our youths, particularly in the Northwest, the looting of the country’s resources, the mass sacking without pay of all professionals whose surnames fall in the northern region of our country.

    He has no regard for the poor people,and so God Almighty has no regard for him. Because he doesn’t want to give up all fishy things and surrender to God for His forgiveness,and to also stop chasing and disrespecting his Predecessor in order to gain blessing from him as he also respected the late Dr. Ahmed Tejan kabba, and gained blessing from him that helped him in this presidential journey, he has resorted to waste our taxpayers money on bribes, thinking he will have a smooth ride to power come 2023. My advice is, he should make a public statement, apologizing to the entire nation, stop this false life he is living in, and be true and original for once in his life.

    • Hmmn that was a very long critic of President Bio. I am not his advocate and I believed he had one in the form of the Holy Spirit. What I am about to say is purely my observation, and I will just touch on the comparison you made between him and Former President Koroma. I prayed for both men by the way and God did answered my prayers. President Koroma failed the people, and I believed he did less in protecting and helping them. Sierra Leone received a lot of foreign aids and PEACE gifts after both disasters. President Koroma left office and did not even improved the Cannaught gout.hospital, let alone help MEANINGFULLY the many orphans and victims of the disasters. Before I got to PRAYED and ADVOCATED for him, which he WON, I saw a video of him dancing with the market women and him also helping to make sure the city was clean. After he became president,I never saw or heard of him again in visiting the market women, the commoners, and the city also became filthy again and it was hit with disasters. I am not saying it was his fault for the disasters, but what did he do with all that money that he got from the international community?

      You know people go to the commoners to get votes, but when they win, they forget about them untill the next election cycle. That is bad. For President Bio I cannot judged him because he is still in office, but if I could EVALUATE him, I would say, he is DOING AND TRYING. Does he needs to do more? ABSOLUTELY, and I hope his advisers read some of these BLOCKS, NOT to retaliate on critics, but to learn from their criticism and continue trying and doing their BEST as much as they can. What is wrong in politics these days in many places, is that people do not look at the President in terms of the country, but in terms of the political party and some presidents also seem to govern that way and it is not very helpful for the people and the country in general.Infact it leaves room for division amongst the people.The reason why I said that is your praise of the former president that he did a lot for the country after 8 or more years with all the residuals of the DEVASTATIONS, but you are quick to CRITIZE President Bio and he has been in poower for ONLY 3 years, when everyone knows the bad shape in which he received the country.

      If you can give me examples of the things President Koroma did for MAMA SALONE and her people,just like you have outline the things President Bio is failing in, then you can probably be able to change my mind about the former President who let me and many down in out prayers and advocacy for him. I agreed with you that they should have sent an official invitation out to him, timely enough for him to travel down to Freetown to attend the ceremony, and Yes that could have shown more UNITY amongst them, but we probably do not know what happened. Lastly I would love to see the people of Sierra Leone being part of the celebration not on the streets but in parks, beaches, community places etc where the crowd can be more protected, and security can be more visible as opposed to street dancing. Don’t get me wrong I ENJOYED THE STREET DANCING those years in our college days,but the world had changed a lot and it is much challenging, if not dangerous NOW than those years we danced on the streets. We were not worried about any hurt or harm or anyone carrying any type of weapons.

  2. Folks while most patriotic Sierra Leoneans like myself recognize the significance of April 27th, a day our nation was declared independent from colonial governance; the fact remains, 60yrs on, there is really nothing worth celebrating, except of course giving thanks to our creator for still being alive in the midst of the turmoil, repression, killings, injustices, and host of traumatic experiences, subjected to us by our very own leaders since independence.

    Now when it comes to the current regime’s approach in celebrating such a nationalistic day, it baffles me why regional leaders were invited, flown in with pageantary and dignitary, not forgetting the millions of dollars spent to accommodate these invitees in the midst of a near collapse economy. Yet at home, citizens were instructed to stay at home and not participate in any celebratory activities, while key political opponents were deliberately sidelined.

    Please people with brains, help me fathom this out, what is the logic in hosting a celebratory event in my house, spend millions in preparation after inviting outsiders to attend, however, for my kids and family members at home, I emphatically instructed them to stay locked up in their rooms, and don’t even attempt coming closer to the basement, where the celebration is taking place. Exactly what message am I sending to my kids and family members staying at home with me folks?

    • Thanks Mr Young4na, you always addressed the issues with precision, with an analytical mind, that defy the gravitational pull of Bio’s supporters, that always want us belive since he took office, our country is now heading to the promise land that we’ve been waiting for in the past sixty years. Call Bio an accomplished actor,is an understatement. He can play acting roles in a film set made for Hollywood, or Nollywood. Depends who his audience is. If he was an American, he would have won a Hollywood Hall of fame spot. What we Sierra Leoneans have to understand, Bio have two audiences. So his address to the nation is targeted towards our international development partners, so the free aid money will keep trickling in. And the other group, is his dissatisfied supporters, that placed their trust in him back in 2018.Not that he have made any efforts to invest in this areas, or help lift them out of poverty.

      We are all in the same boat, sailing in the choppy waters of uncertainty with no lights house to guide us to our destination. Bio doesn’t lose his sleep over their legitimate concerns, or what Sierra Leoneans think of his government in general. What worries Boi, is to lose the support of international financial institutions. I just wish this international financial institutions will audit some of the projects he claims to have invested the funds his government received from our willing partners. So far despite all the allegations made against Bio and his government, for misappropriation of public funds, our international partners are either unwilling, or a looking the other way to see if Bio can mend his ways and start investing in long term sustainable economic growth, that will help lift people out of poverty.

      Every day our international lenders fails to act, is like they are guilty of joint enterprise. Until we start to see real changes, like infrastructure, roads, hospitals, education, school buildings, low housing costs, government workers receiving their salaries on time, supply of clean water, 24 hours electricity, flood prevention, looking after the environment, like stopping deforestation, I will urge the President and his team to spare us the spectacles of grandstanding on the international stage, lectureing us about his achievements. What achievements? We knew corruption was a problem in our country, but under Bio, have implanted steroids on corruption, and took this cancer in our society to a dangerous path in our country.

  3. To those who believe and fanatically so that Bio and his Government are a force for good, meaning a force for the unity and cohesion of our nation, I have only this to say: THINK AGAIN. Think whether it makes any sense at all to invite the leaders of neighbouring countries to join us in celebrating a milestone in our history as an independent nation while half of the country through the person of a living former head of state and current chairman of the main opposition party, is not only excluded from those celebrations but made to feel so deliberately excluded and unwanted. It is a measure of Bio and his Governmenf’s bad faith and pettiness to wait until the last minute before extending an invitation – an informal one at that – to President Koroma, knowing full well that given the constraints of time and distance the invitation will be declined.

    I am no affiliate of the APC Party but do endorse fully President Koroma’s refusal to attend. Self-respect demands that he does so. I find the disrespect and humiliation directed at his person and by extension at his Party and the national constituency they represent really staggering. This is a man who after all was once The Fountain of Honour in our country: an occupant of the highest office in the land that Bio himself currently holds. For all his faults and failings, President Koroma did his bit for our country and our political history will be incomplete without due recognition of the part he played in it.

    I am aware that he and the APC are the antipode of Bio and the SLPP. However, when it comes to issues and events of national significance the country expects them to find common ground, to cease fire if only momentarily so as to lift up the spirit of the entire nation. Thinking unity and cohesion seems to be beyond the ken of the party that is currently in the driving seat. The political chasm brought on by ethno-regional divisions and separatism is indeed widest and paradoxically and tragically so during an event that should be a celebration of oneness and togetherness. To survive and thrive, Sierra Leone needs a new brand of politics: a new crop of political figures capable of thinking beyond party politics and of thus promoting national unity and cohesion.

  4. May this 60th independence anniversary day of Sierra Leone and her people be the day of repentance for those politicians present and past for the high crimes of embezzlement of state funds and for fueling social disorder inorder to remain in power. May this day be the turning point in the reconciliation of all different factions to the benefit of all the people of Sierra Leone. May God intervene in softening the hearts and minds of those in power and of those who are aspiring to gain power for the people they supposed to serve.

    Sierra Leone is a religiously tolerant country where all people practice their faiths side by side without intimidation. This religious tolerance will lead to tribal tolerance and hence the unification of north, south, east and west. HAPPY INDEPENCE MAMMA SALONE. MAY GOD PROTECT YOUR PEOPLE FROM INJUSTICE.

  5. HAPPY 60th BIRTH DAY to our love Sierra Leone; may God protect this proud nation; also forgive our sins; since this important day we call INDEPENDENT DAY; also may the souls of our leaders who fought hard to achieve this important day rest in peace. Peace, love and harmony. AMEN; AMIN.

  6. First to start with, president Bio believes in bribing in order to pave his way. A peaceful government was handed over to president Bio for him to continue improving our standard of living in Sierra Leone; not to intimidate us, kill us, unlawfully arrest us and much more. President Maada Bio is saying onething and does quite the opposite. He is one of the most dangerous presidents in Africa. The people of Sierra Leone need help now before its too late.

  7. There is only one President of Sierra Leone at any given moment. Ernest Bai Koroma is now history, particularly as he hasn’t a chance in hell for ever becoming President of Sierra Leone again. Lonta!

  8. How melancholic that rather than celebrating we are commemorating our independence. Simply put, we have nothing to make us celebrate. We have been on life-support since the days of Siaka Stevens. It’s a miracle that we have managed to stay alive for so long. We’re really on the brink losing our life as a nation with just one more wrong step by allowing SLPP to retain power in 2023 or bringing back APC. Between them, these two parties have been visiting hell on us right here on Earth, they don’t even wait for us to die first. Since being shoveled out of office, APC have been going through a mode of re-education to perfect the art of robbery without leaving a trace of evidence, which has been responsible for the Commission of Inquiry to catch them with their trousers down.

    SLPP, under Bio ,are at the end of the road regarding ideas of injecting fresh blood into country to keep it alive because they keep stealing the resources needed. The finance minister, J.J. Saffa, has thrown in the towel, closely followed by the governor of our central bank. Sierra Leone has just one way out of certain death: Bring NGC in in 2023. Bringing APC back would amount to breathing our last. They would clean up the Treasury, after which they would sell us to the Chinese with contracts which effectively end our days as an independent sovereign nation as has happened in Zambia and other nations.

    After carting away all our natural resources the Chinese will once again grant us independence. The 27th of April will no longer be our Independence Day. By then Earnest Koroma will be long gone, having fulfilled his yearning for a third term in office through dull Samura kamara. The eight or nine year year old (Earnest Koroma) when independence came will have left the country worse off. Oh before I sign off, Bio should ask for a personal lecture from the Ghanaian leader, Nana Kofo Ado, on how to make a country attractive for foreign investment. I have just learned from the BBC that Twitter have decided to establish their African headquarters in Ghana. Stop fooling around Bio.

  9. Heartfelt congratulations to the government and people of Sierra Leone on the 60th Anniversary. God bless and guide the country.

  10. Not inviting Ernest Koroma and all other leaders before you is an assault on our nationhood. Very insulting and childish. But most importantly, this gathering is here to enable Bio and his caboodle to further their thieving agenda. Triple the budget for such unnecessary occasions and lavish it on personal banking.

    No patriotic leadership could have tried this silly independence celebration when the country suffered from the Corvid pandemic. Still, he cannot even afford to buy a fraction of vaccines the government needs to fight the scourge. In a normal country, the people would have demonstrated against it. This is mind-boggling.

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