• October 3, 2023

BIO’S ‘VICTORY’ LAUNDERING

BIO’S ‘VICTORY’ LAUNDERING
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The unexpected and overwhelming denial of the accuracy of the announcement of the 24th June 2023 presidential results by the public and our international friends has seen president Julius Maada Bio and the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party – SLPP government trying to do all in their power to present the image that despite these demands and what they portend for the continuation of Bio’s second term regime, all is well in Sierra Leone.

They hope to accomplish this laundering of their disputed ‘victory’ in a mad rush to legitimise it by as many photo opportunities with either members of the main opposition -APC or the diplomatic or other agencies, organisations and or corps.

The people of this great country are imploring members of the All Peoples Congress – APC to not allow themselves to be drawn into this public display of presenting an image that all is well and has been resolved by the happy go lucky images that we see from the dialogues and other peace overtures aimed at resolving this electoral impasse cooked up by the electoral commissioner and the incumbent and his party.

Last week the whole nation including the government’s arch nemesis, Adebayor, were up in arms over published pictures showing Dr Samura Kamara and chief minister David Moinina Sengeh and others showing Chernor Maju Bah with some SLPP supporters. The reason for their angst is that regardless of what the pictures were clearly about they could be misinterpreted by opposition supporters that all has been resolved and that they have come to a conclusion of the matter.

According to the APC, it is not uncommon for people to gather for group photo opportunities at dialogue and conferences. Therefore, it is protocol and diplomatic for people to take a group photo after such occasions. It must be noted here that such occasions are aimed at encouraging the nation to pursue a path of peace; hence, taking pictures should send a message that indeed both sides are dedicated to a peaceful resolution of the issues that have polarised the nation and render our economy on a standstill.

The lack of dialogue and a clear way forward to resolving this electoral impasse have left the ruling party with one option: look for other means to show that we are resolving this issue. Although the rest of the world is not convinced that he won the elections, the ruling party takes advantage of the principle that there cannot be a vacuum in governance by showing up at conferences and other such gatherings of governments representing the government of Sierra Leone. They are welcomed at such gatherings as the government of Sierra Leone, not as personalities. Such occasions are not held to resolve elections disputes but rather to provide support to governments in need.

This was why the Paopa regime was so quick to have Bio declared winner, sworn in as president, appointed heads of ministries, departments and agencies – MDAs, and had a state opening of the Sixth Parliament – all in the hope of presenting a legitimate and functioning government of Sierra Leone to the rest of the world.

The regime however never planned on what to do in case the APC didn’t take part in running the government. The APC’s decision to boycott government came as a surprise to the SLPP; APC not taking part in government was not part of their predictions of what the APC would do in case the SLPP is accused of rigging the elections.

Running short of ideas to clear the air on our electoral dispute, the regime has switched to a full scale public relations campaign that is finally making use of the money that the former chief minister and minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Professor David Francis, spent for the services of international media agencies to whitewash the image of the president Bio regime to the rest of the world.

We are now seeing public relations type videos of the new, young and dynamic heads of government MDAs aimed at presenting the image that the government is addressing bringing the youth closer to the corridors of power all aimed at encouraging them to take an active part in the governance of the state in anticipation of their roles as future leaders of the country.

So we see the use of the media to propagate an electoral fraud against a backdrop of smiling SLPP and APC leaders. Despite all this, all is still not well in Sierra Leone. And no amount of pictures this regime and its members take with the head of the UN, the new US Ambassador, Dr Samura Kamara or Chernor Maju Bah among others is going to whitewash the electoral results to reflect what they have been claiming all along.

By trying to launder his second term ‘victory’ by photo opportunities with local and international politicians, by attending international affairs with democratically elected government officials and claiming international interference in our political affairs, Mr Bio, the SLPP and the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone – ECSL are engaged in a tripartite approach to force the people and our international friends to accept what everybody in the SLPP is afraid of telling president Bio; that he lost the elections.

So short of the usual group or official pictures that will be taken at dialogues and other such meetings with the SLPP run government of Sierra Leone and the APC, members of the main opposition should not be seen in any picture with members of this government as they are all caught up in the mass amnesia that seems to have engulfed the entire SLPP.

While we all expect that president Bio, as the nation’s fountain of honour, will do the right thing by the people he claims to represent, there is a much bigger and often overlooked problem in the SLPP; that is those in the party who are encouraging president Bio to continue on this path, not in his or the interest of the party or country, but for their selfish interest. By failing to confront and implore the president to prevail on the ECSL to do the needful, the members of his regime that are benefitting from this situation have also failed the people of Sierra Leone.

Members of the APC, especially the substantive heads of Dr Samura Kamara and Honourable Chernor Maju Bah, should not be seen in any pictures with president Bio or any member of his government that would give the impression that they have resolved the 24th June elections result impasse.

This advice also goes to members of the international community, who might be used as an unwitting pawn in this regime’s attempt at laundering their 24th June presidential elections victory.

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