• August 2, 2022

Bio’s Second-Term Bid Against People’s Power

Bio’s Second-Term Bid Against People’s Power
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By Joseph A. Kamanda
No one is unenthusiastic to the so-called governance gains made by the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party – SLPP’s ‘poapa’ backfired human capital development. A scheme that has produced more child labourers on the streets in Freetown and other major towns, selling water and other handheld commodities for the sustenance of their livelihoods under the nosedive human capital development drive that couldn’t reform the living standards of the people.

President Julius Maada Bio did promise this nation during his campaign for the presidency in 2018 that his government would not allow minors to become street traders and that whoever fail to send his/her child to school under the free education policy would be sued to court. This promise is yet to be realised as all what is so far seen happening in the country is the complete opposite of what President Bio preached during his bid for the presidency in 2018. There are now more street child traders than ever before, with Sierra Leoneans continue to see more children on the streets of the country selling handheld commodities amid the biting economic hardship. This clearly means that president Bio is not doing as promised – and as such he is not a talk and do character at all. A real talk and do must have set his/her priorities right and honoured his/her campaign promises and pledges as vowed rather than to be slogging against them as it is unfolding now.

These promises must be honoured now than later. What else are people expected to wait for when minor tasks couldn’t be handled in almost five years…what are the possibilities for fulfilling them in the next five years, when president Bio has on several occasions told this nation that he has only a five-year mandate which comes to an end on 4th April 2023. Deception can no longer work especially when everybody is well aware of failures in couple of key governance areas, ranging from consolidation of peace and stability, to democratic consolidation, political tolerant, national unity, national progress and development, economic growth, tax hikes, unemployment and job creation, fight against corruption, education, transparency and accountability, and state-sponsored ‘lootings’ from the consolidated revenue fund – the list of inadequacies are so many that would adversely affect the return of the SLPP paopa faction and President Bio to power in 2023. If they come back then it will be against the wishes and aspirations of the majority and almighty people of Sierra Leone.

The people are no longer admirers of SLPP selective anti-graft war led by President Bio and his stooge, Francis Ben Kaifala, who is out to only target their political opponents, with the indiscriminate arbitrary arrests and detentions of the main opposition All Peoples Congress – APC members and their supporters. The people are also not really too concerned about or jealous of the fund-raising campaign being mounted by your government in London to secure largesse to bankroll the failed free education.

What is clear to all and sundry, including development partners, is that the SLPP paopa government has failed the nation to a peak that it does not deserve any second chance to serve anymore.

As a matter of fact, Sierra Leoneans cannot afford to make mistakes for the third time, as the records from the 90s have continued to expose the incompetence of president Bio and his paopa hegemony to handle the country well.

Therefore concerns emerging from across the country are that the funds being raised from the initiative must be judiciously guarded and utilized for the intended purposes and should not be diverted for personal purposes. The British taxpayers’ monies from the United Kingdom and other donors should this time around be implemented rightly in a much transparent and accountable fashion for the general benefit of the people and not just for the privileged few who intend to spend such funds on president Bio’s second-term bid as disclosed by a senior SLPP-paopa faithful at a popular joint in central Freetown. All what is expected of government in the use of donor funds is transparency and accountability.

Back to the question of the lukewarm debate on SLPP and president Bio’s second-term bid, in the wake of trending socioeconomic reversals, deliberate destruction of democratic and political governance gains that were made in the last two decades by previous administrations, divide and rule by president Bio, tearing Sierra Leoneans apart by the tick of the clock, are not good leadership credentials to bank on for the re-election of Bio and the SLPP poapa for a second term.

Democratic and political liberties have been drastically eroded by president Bio and his SLPP government to a point that no one is at liberty to question the absence of such values at all.

The sooner opposition politicians tend to raise critical concerns on such issues than they would find themselves behind bars in the next moment.  It is actually not just in the well of the national assembly lawmakers can no longer perform their legitimate functions; they are also constrained in expressing themselves in many other spheres of development. And again records speak clearly to the fact that with such continuing suffering of the people, president Bio and the SLPP paopa deserve no second term. For all the people are looking forward to seeing come the next elections in 2023 is regime change and to replace the Bio rule with a better option. They actually need an option that is capable of making the needful turnaround of the national economy, restore the country’s democratic credentials and firmly consolidate it, unite Sierra Leoneans across political, regional and tribal lines, and provide equitable distributions of natural and state resources and not just for south and easterner ruling class.

The moment Sierra Leoneans miss this change moving forward to the approaching elections, then the country is doomed again for another five to ten years. Thus the electorate must be wise this time around, think wisely and cast their vote wisely based on electing a government with pro-people policies.

As a matter of fact, the overwhelming rejections with an affirmative NO to any attempt by the SLPP to come back in 2023 cut across the country and beyond, as Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad, even among SLPP paopa members, do not want Bio and SLPP for another term. Everybody is disgusted, fed up and tired with the failures of the Bio regime, his divisive and dissenting rule of the country, which is why people from every sector of the country are calling for an alternative to the SLPP and the messing up of the Bio regime and his politics of deceit, hate and fare of constructive political and democratic competition among political party in the democratic process. These are mere sham as the Bio-led SLPP misdirection has thus far done nothing impressive in a little over thirty-six months in office. There is actually nothing to showcase except unfair display intimidation of his APC political opponents and primitively narrowing the democratic space for the participation of potential challengers to the failed SLPP. A creation of situation where there will be no challenger to him and his SLPP. One party rule is dead and buried long ago. So SLPP and Bio must resort to hard work and deliver on commitment made on the campaign trail to meet the expectations of the people and stop chasing political opponents for no good reasons. That is not democracy; so allow healthy competition. Sierra Leoneans are not prepared to tolerate a one party despotic rule anymore.

The more reasons APC MP, Hon. Emmanuel Saidu Conteh of Constituency 129 – Congo Town and Tengbeh Town, is being constantly placed behind bars for alleged possession of arms and ammunitions. Other APC MPs and an independent MP from Pujehun, Hon. Shiaka Sama had faced similar political intimidation in the hands of the leadership of President Julius Maada Bio and his pro-SLPP, even though lawmakers are constitutionally protected by parliamentary immunity. Yet opposition MPs are continuously being disrespected by the police on orders from above with arbitrary arrests and detentions. Yet the same government is provocatively yearning for a second-term rule against the wishes and aspirations of the electorate. Allow democracy to speak and don’t impose your rule on the people of this country.

It could be vividly recalled that an SLPP MP Hon. Umaru Paran Tarawally, now Clerk of Parliament, interrupted the convoy of former president Ernest Bai Koroma but was never chased for that, not even an issue was created out of that. Not that the gravity of such a crime was downplayed but the then president, who showed his magnanimity and ignored him completely.

Again to the much talked about second term changes of which a weak debate is about to be ignited by a clueless veteran BBC journalist, Sylvester Rogers, does not hold at all for a couple of reasons ranging from so many specific unresolved bread and butter issues, to unfriendly trade and investments policies, tax hikes, deliberate sabotage to the very human capital development Bio claims to be promoting by chasing out thousands of youngsters from Limkokwing University, selective justice, the partial anti-corruption crusade and reckless looting of state resources for personal gains, which won’t bring back Julius Maada Bio to power come 2023. Nobody wants to be remembered about the post-NPRC era in 1996.

The SLPP paopa clan would only return to office after the 2023 elections except if Sierra Leoneans have forgot about the 1996 farewell messages from both the late president Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Solomon Berewa of blessed memories. These people knew what exactly went wrong before they took up office and what exactly they inherited from the former NPRC military junta.

With such lessons from what was experienced, the trending economic hardship hitting Sierra Leoneans, human rights and seizures of democratic and political freedoms, the citizens of the nation are prepared to kick against any possible second-term bid by President Julius Maada Bio and his nosedive bunch of paopa diehards.

This is due to the fact that public expression of displeasures at the downward trend of the daily livelihood situation continues to urge concerns for the replacement of Bio and the paopa-SLPP in 2023, with a better government that can solve the burning socioeconomic problems of the country.

For the people can no longer cope with the multiple governance failures of Bio, more especially when the current performance  of the Bio regime falls below the expectation of the people and development partners.

These rejections are hill-walking from the backdrop that since the governing SLPP took up office on 4th April 2018 nothing has changed. Rather political governance, democratic consolidations, rule of law, regard for constitutionality, the promotions of human and people’s rights and socioeconomic development remain challenging for the paopa SLPP and Bio. And no doubt we are becoming heavily indebted to development partners to a risky level.

Besides, amid these difficulties, some overzealous pro-SLPP praise-singers are trying to deceive the public, to convince the people to vote in the failed regime for a second term. This is being largely rejected across the country, with revulsion, anger, vexation and resentments as constantly being demonstrated on the new media, even though authorities have devised all sorts of strategies to stifle free speech and media freedom.

However, God being the most powerful than Bio, these are not sound democratic, human rights, political rights and economic credentials, for which Bio and his paopa SLPP team do not deserve another chance nor a second term at all but a complete change of government for a positive turnaround of the country.

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