• August 18, 2023


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If Sierra Leoneans are looking up to the regional body the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the international community to come to their aid and rescue them from the clutches of the president they described as “an electoral thief bulldozing the nation on a stolen elections mandate”, then they should think again. By their very actions and inactions, ECOWAS and indeed the international community and their Western allies are all guilty of allowing for institutional coups in West Africa with impunity, only to arrive after the fact just to save face.

As things are at present, the people of Sierra Leone should not expect any action from ECOWAS and the international community that will force President Bio to double down from his insistence on winning the June 24 2023 elections and making salient moves to address the people and international community’s demands on settling the elections dispute. President Julius Maada Bio is busy forging ahead with his government. And considering the prevailing circumstances across West Africa, Bio will have his way and the people of Sierra Leone we hope would have learned a serious lesson about Western and ECOWAS duplicity.

As it is the leaders of ECOWAS do not have the moral authority to sanction any of the leaders of institutional coups from Mali to Burkina Faso to Guinea to Niger and now Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone, let alone the soldiers that overthrew them the people consider heroes, as they themselves are heading regimes of questionable democratic credentials.

If ECOWAS and the international community cannot resolve the electoral issues in Nigeria, Senegal and Ivory Coast, we do not see how they plan on resolving our issues in Sierra Leone, while military rule is found from Mali to Sudan. For all intents and purposes we have been left to our own devices; that is, we are left to the mercy of President Bio and his army and police to protect him from us, as opposed to the other way around.

And with the main opposition All People’s Congress–APC’s boycott taking serious financial setbacks, we have returned to business as usual at Tower Hill, with the president sailing on his “stolen elections mandate” according to the people.


As a sign that things will not change or should not be expected to change in Sierra Leone with how Bio won the elections, there is serious doubts and concern about Nigerian and ECOWAS President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s electoral victory in the recently concluded elections in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There is widespread displeasure with how the elections was won that puts a serious cloud over President Tinubu’s campaign to restore deposed President Mohamed Bazoum in Niger and denying President Bio a seat among other ECOWAS leaders citing our electoral dispute. We expected much from big brother Nigeria. Now we also expect for them to clean their own compound instead of telling others that theirs are dirty.


Hoping to secure further constitutional mandates to continue as head of state, Senegalese President Mackey Sall of Senegal attempted to change the constitution. After his intention saw many people protesting against it, scores of protesters were killed and the opposition leader jailed and banned from running. What did Mackey Sall fail to understand about what caused the army in Guinea to overthrow President Alpha Conde? By insisting on the same course we can see that for ECOWAS to have the moral authority to sanction any regime they need to start addressing incumbent regimes that are trying to consolidate power beyond the constitutional mandate, especially those who use one-sided houses of legislature to have their mandates extended using the very constitution in a roundabout way.


The whole world was up in arms when ex-Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after he had lost the elections to Alassane Dramane Ouattara. Gbagbo who was not averse to seeing a full-scale war in Côte d’Ivoire just to have his way was deposed by an invading French army that arrested him and his wife and transported them to The Hague for an International Criminal Court – ICC trial.

Fast forward to the new democracy under Alassane Dramane Ouattara and you will see him having successfully changed the Ivorian constitution to give him a third term berth. Are we missing something here? Has Ouattara not done worse than Gbagbo with how he has turned out? Shouldn’t ECOWAS be trying to set such presidents right instead of trying to depose by force of arms such local armies that have done what ECOWAS should have on behalf of the safety and progress of the lives and properties of the people of such nations?


For a nation that has tasted the bitter pill of a civil war, where brothers killed brothers and sisters snuffed out their children thinking they were saving such children from their awful experiences, what happened during and after the 24 June 2023 elections in Sierra Leone that is still being allowed to happen portends a very dangerous omen.

Although no one has congratulated Bio on his win, certain overtures are being and have been made to Bio’s second term regime that say we have returned to business as usual in Sierra Leone elections with stolen mandates the way to win elections going forward.

With ECOWAS and their international community allies selling us out, to whom can we turn to ensure that presidents operating on a disputed mandate should not be allowed to do business with others? By being allowed to operate with such impunity we are sending a very dangerous message to future presidents who would want to extend their mandates beyond the constitution or using the constitution to perpetuate such tendencies.

As a sign that Sierra Leone is on her own and that the APC should be serious about how they plan on making President Bio seeing the light, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, he Right Honourable Patricia Scotland KC has congratulated Bio on his win calling for dialogue. How should we have dialogue knowing how the election was won?

Recently the British High Commissioner, Lisa Chesney before the end of her tour of duty paid a courtesy call on the newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs that was approved by a one-sided, hence abominable House of Parliament. No matter the rules for appointing presidential appointees the fact that they were approved by a one-sided parliament has injured their credibility and that they serve at the will and pleasure of a one sided government of Sierra Leone. They do not enjoy the people’s mandate as their president.

During his first week as “President of Sierra Leone” the UN Secretary General invited Bio to a Food Summit in Rome Italy, where the Germany minister for food pledged over Twenty Million United States Dollars ($20,000,000) to Sierra Leone for food security. Bio was also recently in Nigeria for an ECOWAS meeting. The United States – US government recently made millions of Dollars available to the SUMMA Group to continue developments at the airport.

With such open and shameless courting of the man people refer to as “an elections thief” and for allowing all the aforementioned issues at play in these countries to continue, ECOWAS and the international community have mortgage our safety and security.

President Bio may just be able to continue on this trajectory with the APC, ECOWAS, UN, US, UK and the rest playing politics of duplicity that always leave the people in a lurch while those responsible for their insecurity are welcomed with open arms.

This sad reality that has dawned on the people of Sierra Leone should serve as a lesson that unless we sort out our issues the way we know best, depending on moral guarantors lacking the moral authority via a clear cut message from their state governments against such actions by our leaders, we should expect to be in a state of insecurity after every five years or elections cycle.

FORUMNEWS-SL.COM anxiously await to hear from ECOWAS and their international community allies-the EU, US, UK and others whether the trade of the democratic rights of Sierra Leoneans will be left unaddressed and if we should always expect business as usual in our elections going forward.

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