By Karamoh Kabba, Freetown.
Sierra Leoneans are concerned over the well-orchestrated effort by Maada Bio, presidential flag bearer for Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), to discredit the Presidency, the Government and the people of Sierra Leone. He has been very busy undermining the joint effort of the people’s rebranding process of their country since the end of the civil war in 2012.
On 9th of May 2012, Mr. Maada Bio travelled to the United Kingdom to honour an invitation to speak at the Chatham House where he took a pre-submission interview with Audrey Brown. In the comfort of Continental Europe, Mr. Maada Bio told outright lies to his interviewer that his administration had constructed 600 to 700 kilometres of roads leading to other countries and that H.E. President Koroma only constructed 3 to 4 kilometres of cosmetic roads in the face of the people in Freetown.
But Sierra Leoneans know of no 600 to 700 kilometres of roads leading to any country. What is more, H.E. President Koroma has constructed or rehabilitated over two thousand kilometres of high-ways and many thousands of trunk and feeder roads.
He attempted to lie about his involvement in the extra-judicial killings of 29 people in 1992, but Audrey Brown pinned it on him before he reluctantly admitted to a collective involvement in the extra-judicial killings when he was a part of a group of young soldiers who had overthrown a democratic government.
In his submission to Chatham House on 10th of May 2012, Mr. Maada Bio also alleged that, “Thousands of youths hailing from the President’s home district are being recruited secretly into the Sierra Leone police and military for the purpose of seeking the interest of the ruling party in the forthcoming elections.” It is important to note that there is no secret process of recruitment of police in Sierra Leone. In fact, Sierra Leone has no secret police force under the government command.
Mr. Maada Bio alleged that, “What was expected to be an independent national broadcaster has become the mouthpiece of the ruling party. There is no level playing field. Most of its programmes are biased in favour of the President and his Government with very little airtime provided to the opposition.”
The Director General of SLBC easily refuted the bogus claim when he stated that “we had 19 days of SLPP on non-stop, we covered and aired their national delegate conference for three days, we cover their press conferences and air them, we assign journalists to them whenever they are going up country on programmes, we have not failed to include them in any national debate in the studio etc.”
In the same submission, Mr. Bio stated that the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) is the mouth piece of the Government with a repressive policy against the Government. But Chapter 10(1) of the SLBC Act reads “The object of which the Corporation is established is to provide information, education, entertainment and reflect all shades of opinion throughout Sierra Leone.”
And specifically sub-section (o) reads “shall provide appropriate coverage of the proceedings of key decision making bodies, including Parliament.” To this end, an operative at SLBC said, “Those key bodies are the presidency, the judiciary, the cabinet and the political parties. And amongst them all, the President is the major newsmaker and if they have problem with that, they should chain the law,” he said.
On 12 June, Mr. Maada travelled to North America in Montreal, Canada, where he made more baseless and unfounded allegations against government institutions and the people of Sierra Leone. Mr. Maada Bio told his audience again that, “The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) which emerged from this Communiqué has sadly, but predictably, been essentially mouth piece of the ruling party.” He stated that the SLPP radio was confiscated by the President’s brother whereas the station along with the APC radio were banned for their propensity to foment conflict.
This man, Mr. Maada Bio, who had perpetrated some of the worst crimes against humanity including extra-judicial killings of 29 people and who had employed the services of soldiers of fortune [Executive Outcomes] to exploit our kimberlite mines, has now applauded the conviction of Charles Taylor, Laurent Bagbo and Hosni Mubarak and also spoke of “resource course”.
Mr. Maada Bio, if he was not suffering from selective amnesia at that time was supposed to present himself as a living example of an individual who has much experience in committing atrocities and pledging a nation’s mineral resources to bloody hands of soldiers of fortune in exchange for weapons to prosecute a civil conflict. But rather he spoke down to the people copiously in a third person narrative as an innocent by-sander of crimes.
The truth of the matter is Mr. Maada Bio’s attempt to pick a peck in the eyes of others when he had a peck in his own eye is simply stupid. In that order of Mr. his convicts of those who bore responsibility of committing crimes against humanity in retrospect should read Charles Taylor, Maada Bio, Laurent Bagbo and Hosni Mubarak.
Oh well, he was hiding under the figment of the truth and reconciliation blanket amnesty to take a misgiving audacity to glamour over the conviction of his comrades in crime.