It was Sir Walter Scott , who in his 1808 epic poem ”Marmion”, wrote : “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Because the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) have purposed in their heart to perpetually deceive Sierra Leoneans , they are always engrossed in the act of papering cracks . After today, June 23, 2012, the SLPP has more cracks to paper. Something has happened that has left even the most ardent supporter hanging his head in shame.
Sometime last month, SLPP operatives went viral on the internet posting handbills and stories about massive dinner and fundraising programs in major cities in the U.S. where their Presidential candidate, Mr. Maada Bio , was to have featured as the Grand Chief Patron. They gave the impression that Bio had surmounted the one hurdle that has dogged his life since he was appointed flagbearer of the SLPP– acquire an entry U.S. visa . The WEST AFRICAN JOURNAL was even more dramatic in its announcement of Bio’s visit to “Silicon Valley, the nerve center of technology” , which according to the magazine , “is where all aspiring world leaders come and sell their vision to the outside world. In the process, they earn the respect and confidence of their citizens in Diaspora and the international community.” We wonder how somebody in his right mind, knowing that Maada Bio is nothing but a common soldier with grave human rights abuses to his name , would equate him with an aspiring world leader with a vision to sell that has earned them universal respect. It was the same West African Journal, which even wrote ( again dramatically ) that “Currently, Northern California is being saturated with publicity about Bio’s visit. The planning committee is conducting fundraising house parties in preparation for the June 30th event.” We hope Maada Bio refunds the expenses of all those who undertook these parties in the sincere hope that he was really coming to the U.S. when the whole thing was just a scam.
The other pro-SLPP news outlet, the NEW PEOPLE Online, was colorful in their presentation of Maada Bio’s supposed visit to Somerset, New Jersey, which is not only home to your favourite COCORIOKO Newspaper but some of the most fanatical All People’s Congress ( APC ) supporters like Aziz Nabe, Foday Mansaray, Allie Badara Kamara, Abdul Rahman Kamara, Alimamy Sesay , Madina Rahman etc.etc. The paper wrote : “The Sierra Leone People’s Party in North America through the New Jersey Chapter will host the winner of the SLPP Flag Bearer contest Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio in Somerset New Jersey at a dinner reception in his honor as well as the Inauguration of the newly elected SLPP NA administration of Chairman Jerry George. The double whammy event will be held at the prestigious Ukrainian Cultural Center, on 135 Davidson Avenue, Somerset, New Jersey, 08873. The event will take place on Saturday, June 23rd from 8:00 PM to 2:00 AM. Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio will give the keynote address at the event. Other community and political guests have been invited. The MCs for the night are Madam Martha Bah of New Jerseyand Mrs. Hawa Kallon alias (Ah Kpagie) of New England. ”
When the announcement was published at one of the pro-SLPP discussion forums, SLPP did not flinch to ridicule Cocorioko which they accused of publishing earlier that Bio will never get an entry visa to the U.S ( Though the paper never said that: What we said was that Bio had been denied a visa. We had even suggested that the U.S.Embassy in Freetown could exercise its discretion to give the SLPP leader a visa in the final analysis ). One heckler , who called the Cocorioko Publisher, Kabs Kanu, even taunted him on the phone that the SLPP will make sure that Bio paid a sarcastic courtesy call on him at his home in New Jersey just to rub the publisher’s nose to his misleading report and to demonstrate to him that Bio was free to enter the U.S. as he wished.
Actually, taking these SLPP fanatics seriously , we had expected New Jersey to receive a whopping of green today. We looked forward to a deluge of green . We had even expected that all the streets of New Jersey would have been paved with green this weekend. Why not ? The SLPP were bringing their hero to town. It turned out that it was just a magic shadow show ! ! ! Bio, as we had conjectured, was still having problems getting an entry visa into the U.S. and he has not entered the U.S. after all. The Bio U.S. trip has collapsed completely around him , his supporters in the diaspora and all the fanatics in Freetown who were waiting with bated breaths to ridicule newspapers like Cocorioko, Newstime Africa, Awareness Times, The New Daily Nation, Sierra Leone Daily Mail and journalists who had been speculating that Bio was having problems getting a visa .
Today, Somerset, New Jersey is as quiet as an abandoned barn yard. There is not a single SLPP green shirt in sight. Jerry George and other SLPP officials are somewhere mourning . They are nowhere to be seen. Jerry’s grandstand inauguration champagne has been put on ice. We drove through the municipality this afternoon and there was not one SLPP green shirt to contend with . The disappointment and the embarrasment have been monumental. What New Jersey replicated today was the charade that also hit Philadelphia and Ohio where Mr. Bio has been a no-show.
As SLPP supporters all over the world lick their wounds and try to cope with their disappointment, the question on the lips of Sierra Leoneans today is , ‘how can Sierra Leone afford a President who will have problems getting entry visa to the U.S. ? If Bio were to win (Though it is very unlikely ) , is this the shame that our country would be subjected to every now and again ? Whenever a UN General Assembly would be on the way, would we be holding our breaths, praying fervently for the man who calls himself head to be granted a U.S. entry visa ? No doubt, Sierra Leone would become a laughing stock; she will lose all the international clout she has garnered and no country even in our backyard in West Africa will take us seriously. All our gains in the international arena would be lost.
If Sierra Leoneans are looking for one more good reason not to vote for Maada Bio, this is it. The embarrassment he has caused the SLPP should be shared by all Sierra Leoneans. This is not only a shame to the SLPP. It is a shame to Sierra Leone. It should raise red flags about Maada Bio’s suitability for leadership in Sierra Leone. It confirms all we have been saying all along that Maada Bio is not fit to be President of Sierra Leone. Anybody who cannot get a U.S. visa without a hassle is not fit to be President anywhere. If after all the hype and showboating, Bio is still having problems getting a visa to enter the U.S, then something is seriously wrong and Sierra Leoneans must not sweep it under the carpet.
The SLPP must accept the truth for once.
They chose the wrong Presidential candidate.
Maada Bio ‘s past as a former junta leader who presided over grave human rights abuses and extrajudicial murders make all progressive nations and the international community allergic to him. Maada Bio is a non-starter from the word go. He is a hard sell.
And the SLPP know this but they just want to continue to be deceitful to the nation.
It is a good-for-nothing Presidential candidate who has to sweat over a U.S. entry visa .