• July 16, 2021

Of Torma Bom, Bio’s Shadows and The Campaign Trail…

Of Torma Bom, Bio’s Shadows and The Campaign Trail…
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By Joseph Abu KamandaAnd they keep doing the same things as if no lessons have been learnt from the blunders of the previous political administrations of late former President Alhaji Dr Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and former President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma. The incumbent wasted all his time criticising the last administration for wrongdoings, though he is presently bent on doing worst than they cried down years back.

Of course the last two administrations did their fair share of human errors during their various tenures of leadership, and nobody can tell Talking Point that past leaders of Sierra Leone made no mistakes. Not even the infamous National Provisional Ruling Council can boast of being blunder free.

In fact is that they were also bad, going as far as killing innocent people and other human rights violations and abuses. At that time, they all made grave mistakes including Bio himself.

Thus lessons learnt from such mistakes must serve as correctional tools for emerging and future situations, as well as trending issues under the current political administration of President Julius Maada Bio.

This bring to mind the way and manner in which certain people, considered as shadows of Bio, continue to chase his convoy anywhere he goes. This has not in the last three years or so served in the best interest of the country, neither is it teaching any good leadership lessons and examples to heads of agencies who have proved to be the same people they have always been. They never fail to make the same news stories as it has always been in previous administrations; a trend which to a very large extent continues to adversely affect the smooth running of Ministries, Departments and Agencies under the watch of President Bio.

The entire nation can attest to promises made by the then Sierra Leone People’s Party presidential candidate, Julius Maada Bio while on his campaign trails for the 2012 and 2018 elections. He did promise that he will not waste tax payers’ money using long convoys, although what he is presently parading around the country with is even longer than what he spent ten years in the opposition castigating the APC and Ernest Bai Koroma’s presidency for. Is that a good lesson to learn from President Bio? Why do you have to allow the whole country to move to Toma Bom only to start your presidential campaign for the 2023 election, when the schedules are still far from being out? Was that a signal that your administration is fast behind schedule and you are running behind time, considering how poorly your administration is managing time?

That is why you are rushing all over the place trying to impress even your home district with a catch up rice project at Toma Bom, to where we saw a mass exodus of civil servant followers who abandoned their duties to shower praises on you for lately accomplishing one of your national assignments. Were we a nation with any forward looking political administration, and a sober minded captain, there should have been no need to imitate what you, President Bio badly criticised your predecessors for but ended even doing worst then they did.

This clearly implies that learning has not taken place at all in the last three years and more needs to be done, as much as mistakes, lessons and experiences are concerned in leadership.

Mistakes and blunders such as driving around the country with very long convoys, excessive waste of taxpayers’ moneys on local and overseas trips, tribalising and politicising the public and civil services, removal of traditional leaders/paramount chiefs and replacing them with the choices of the powers that be, unfair distributions of state and natural resources and state sponsored programmes and activities to regions and districts of the ruling class, among a host of serious human errors, should not have been replicated by the Bio leadership.

However, contrary to what he opposed years ago, Bio is now going all over the country with so many public workers. Those working with the presidency are known and are cleared for such travels by their various MDA’s, but civil and public servants including SLRA DG Amara Kanneh and others who abandoned their offices and followed Bio for his political activities in Toma Bom did themselves no good. They are not being paid for political safaris but as civil and public servants to deliver on their mandatory assignments in their various agencies.

Besides they should be mindful of the fact that they are not politicians but civil servants paid from the consolidate revenue fund, and should therefore hold their hands back from politics and pay keen attention to their jobs, if actually we were talking about a serious government.

The mass exodus that went to Toma Bom at the expense of the state is a mere waste of government funds, as most of president Bio’s shadows are not farmers nor agriculturalists, so they have no business to have gone there at the expense of state resources. They used government vehicles, collected daily sustenance allowances, all on the very outstretched state coffers.

Much was expected of Bio in terms of urging his followers to return to work and concentrate on their jobs to help government achieve its set goals, if he actually meant business. Unless President Bio wants to continue to cry foul for his boys underperforming again, but he should have dealt with his idle shadows following him everywhere he goes, because those are some of the things that have affected previous governments over the years and he should have learnt a lot from that by now, especially with him being no stranger at State House.

Going by the trends of event, public servants have in the last two to three decades now been glued to the culture of recklessly deserting their offices to chase politicians and political activities, especially those of the ruling SLPP and the main opposition All People’s Congress – APC. That is not good for the public sector. Professional civil/public servants must stay focused on their professions and leave politics for politicians. And those who choose politics should resign from their posts.

Presidents past and incumbents have always moved along with large crowds of mainly public-civil servants who abandoned their jobs for political party activities, forgetting that they are not politicians but civil and public servants. These have happened with successive regimes.

And these presidents never cautioned these ministers, deputies and heads of agencies and departments to stop following them on political activities and return to work. They even consider them as supporters. This is due to the fact that most of the programmes and activities are political and not governmental as they should be.

Moreover, the mass exodus of civil and public servants that followed Bio on his rushed campaign trail at Torma Bom under the guise of unveiling a rice cultivation project deserves disciplinary measures from the head of civil service and cabinet secretariat. For the initiative, it is a thing Bio should have rolled out long ago; however, it is still being used as a political campaign tool to wing votes from those supposedly gullible people of Toma Bom, south and eastern regions. Honestly had there been much of progress to point at by Bio, there would have been no need for him to be rushing to start an early campaign. But now that he has, we see signs of apprehension of being defeated by the Opposition in 2023.

To our foolish civil and public servants, nobody is ruling out the fact the that top government workers such as ministers, deputies, directors, deputy directors, managing directors, commissioners, chairmen among other senior supervisory workers are political appointees. Of course they are, though that does not warrant them to be regularly leaving their various offices like the SLRA DG Ing. Amara Kanneh and others did last week all in the name of demonstrating their loyalty and support to Bio and the double failure SLPP.

The line Ministry of Agriculture has it agencies and implementing associates backed by development partners, who are the right resources personnel that were supposed to accompany Bio on the trip, not the mass exodus of pro-SLPP civil servants, if actually he was in Toma Bom to unveil a national anti-hunger campaign rather than the tribal, ethnic and geo political card he mistakenly played to the Mende people of Bonthe district, south and eastern regions.

In closing, President Bio should have learnt from the mistakes of his predecessor by not overdoing their blunders. Our area is getting sourer by the ticking of the clock. So President Bio sit up and correct the blunders from lessons learnt, if any, and avoid being followed by large crowds of useless shadows

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