By Musa Ronsho
Sierra Leone made its worse mistake to date by failing to elect the one candidate with the wherewithal to change the nation’s path.
Almost one year in office, Bio is verifying his critics were right. He keeps demonstrating he is not the most suitable person for Sierra Leone’s top executive position. Given a one in a lifetime opportunity to sell his New Direction agenda to the West, he flopped. Anyone who knows anything about the US, would recognize that Harvard is a distinguish IV 5 institution with alumni in top-level positions all over the world. Fortunate to speak before a Harvard audience, Bio couldn’t brake his bad reputation that he easily made over 23 years ago. Leading to the 2018 Elections, we correctly argued that Sierra Leone is an aid dependent country. Therefore, the electorate should factor-in the ability to attract ‘global aid’ in selecting a president.
To keep the nation’s economy afloat, the leader must be a credible individual who is schooled in international protocols; a well-trusted personality that transnational donors and agencies can depend on; a character with the ability to articulate issues facing the nourishment and development of a nation. These and many more qualities were factored in determining who is best for Sierra Leone.
From time to time, people daydream of a new direction to the safe slum. But on such adventures, there’s always a reality check. So far, Bio is NOT the best man for Sierra Leone. I don’t want to take you through his tedious presentation before the deans, faculties, student body, staff, etc., at Harvard. My aim is to expose his flawed wiles. From what I heard, Sierra Leone’s leader did not make a good impression on the assembly.
Harvard is made up of cultured minds for whom generalizations and political talking points lack taste. Typically, what appeals to such a gathering are concrete facts based on research; what empirical data shows; narratives of how lives are affected by policies and decisions. My eldest daughter once told me “Dad, people hear what they listen for.” She’s right. Conceivably, I heard the same old rhetoric and nothing signifying a new Sierra Leone. Except if the newness is that Bio is again office. The title of his speech was, “Toward a new renaissance in Sierra Leone: A new, bolder vision.” Wow! So, what is this new bolder vision?
According to Bio, “There is a strong and irreversible shift in focus from a Sierra Leone that does not define itself in terms of a distant past and imagined or real pathologies of politics but in terms of a new direction. This strategic shift is anchored on four key staples: a) good governance, b) purposeful planning and domestication of development priorities c) investment in human capital development, and d) negotiating new modes of engagement with the world and development partners with emphasis on trade and developing the private sector and not aid.”
Excuse me did I hear something said about good governance? Granting that Bio is the president, his party is the minority in the nation’s house of representatives. Therefore, good governance at least to a Harvard gathering should show a Speaker of Parliament from the APC majority. There can be no good governance when the democratic rights of the voters are being abused. To support any claim of good governance Sierra Leone’s leader should be the first at respecting the rule of law. There is no denial of the fact that the culture of rape and sexual violence is widespread in Sierra Leone. But does it warrant the dubious enactment of a State of Emergency? What empirical statistics led to such an action?
I don’t know what Bio thought he was saying when talking about rape as a state of emergency. I can however safely suggest what his audience heard. They heard American female tourists should pause visiting Sierra Leone until the rape crisis is resolved. Think, which nation wants to expose their women and children to sexual predators, rape, etc.? Not US nor Western nations with the most stringent laws against sexual crimes. His listeners heard that Sierra Leone is unsafe today than it has ever been; staying away is the best advise for now until things are sort out.
They heard about a government whose outline is underdeveloped. A kind of wishy-washy regime with heavy reliance on ruling by decree and abuse of power. You’ve heard the saying, “beggars have no choice” and also “he who pays the piper picks the tune.” Bio adamantly insisted on “trade” and not “aid,” was rubbish. While calling for trade, he couldn’t in fact be specific on what Sierra Leone offers. From his previous time in office and over 23 years, does he want to tell the world it is only now an inventory is being taken to determine what minerals Sierra Leone have? Then he lied to the electorate during his campaign about making good use of the overabundance of natural resources (diamonds, gold, oil) in Sierra Leone. He stressed trade to the wrong audience. Sierra Leone is in an economic rut and stands in need of urgent global aid. As we have repeatedly seen and heard again, the best man is not in office.