• September 18, 2023

With Constitutional Review… Bio Will Have His Way

With Constitutional Review…  Bio Will Have His Way
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Based on his history of having things done his way, with the proposed constitutional review, President Julius Maada Bio is set to have his way again.

The people of Sierra Leone and the world will sit with folded arms and watch the disputed winner of the 24 June elections about to do to the country’s 1991 Constitution what he did to his party’s constitution that made him the party’s national chairman and president.

Bio’s assault on the SLPP constitution that left it at variance with the national constitution by allowing for their flagbearer to be selected or pronounced, a tenet the APC got rid of in the review of their party’s constitution, continues unabated.

We can see that while the elections result dispute is yet to be settled and while we are all calling for dialogue, President Bio is busy making moves aimed at further entrenching the idea that he won the election that even Mohamed Kenewui Konneh of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone knows the incumbent president and his vice president didn’t make it in the June 24 contest.

This leads us to an aside: why is it that President Bio seems to do or propose things that on the surface are against the interest of the state and people? But our embattled leader has been emboldened by his track record since he first tried for the SLPP flag and failed. That failure to win the party’s presidential symbol should have been it for Bio as he was supposed to be an ex-officio member of the SLPP that should no longer make himself available for the party’s flag aimed at giving others a fair chance or shot at the presidency.

At present, since Bio according to the people of Sierra Leone ‘stole the presidential mandate’ to lead, he has been making moves to solidify this against all odds and opposition from the APC, the US, UK, Germany, ECOWAS, AU and many more countries and international organisations or agencies.

It is either western and or international community duplicity or that president Bio knows something the people of Sierra Leone don’t, but by the look of things some people that are familiar with our political history have said it will not be a pleasant experience for the price taking people of Sierra Leone but it looks as if the president will have his way with the constitutional review, for which the people will continue to suffer more or worse of the kinds of hardship that is presently in the offing.

As it stands, president Bio is already having his way. As a sign that he will also have his way irrespective of opposition or support with our constitution, after being advised by outgoing US Ambassador David Reimer that vice president Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh would not be the fit person to head the elections investigation committee because as a participant in the very election he will be investigating, he cannot be trusted to do a honest investigation lest a credible report, the vice president handed over the report of the committee he headed against sound logical advise last week. Who would expect for vice president Dr Jalloh being part of the disputed electoral victors whose elections ‘victory’ is the cause for the setting up of the committee to conduct a result that will be accepted by all as being done with the highest of integrity aimed at unearthing issues that caused the impasse with regards the tabulation and announcement of the elections result.

The people of Sierra Leone and the international community should not be fooled or deceived by president Bio. He is not interested in a government of national cohesion, neither is he interested in the peace and security of the state. With the way he has been having things done to satisfy his personal interest or ambition, he expects to continue this trend until he sees an end to this his second term. To cap his accomplishments, the president is forging ahead with his charade of a presidency by reviewing the one aspect of our democracy that is sure to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back: reviewing the constitution to give him wide sweeping powers that will in effect see him extend his grip on the presidency.

Playing the kind of constitutional review game that was played by Alhassan Ouattara, Alpha Conde and Mackey Sall will surely produce a worse reaction from the people of Sierra Leone. We do not expect the army to play their godly duty in this whole fiasco as they have together with the judiciary and police been captured and rendered useless and a danger to the people of Sierra Leone and not fit for purpose or why they were hired.

Since president Bio resurrected his profile and came back to our political scene in 2005, his story has been a lesson on how not to do things. After failing to win the SLPP flag in 2005, Bio should have been an ex-officio and an elder statesman that the party would go to for advice, assistance, etc. He wasn’t supposed to run for the presidency again, according to the then SLPP constitution.

After 2005, Bio bounced back and won the flag in 2012. Going against the then SLPP constitution that only allows a partisan to try for the party’s flag once and after failing to win the presidency should step out of the way Bio was able to convince all those clever people in the SLPP to try for the flag again in 2018.

We all know what happened after the 2012 elections.

After winning the 2018 elections by 103%, Bio was allowed to continue in what many say was a stage managed political transition from APC to SLPP rule despite the reality on the ground. After he ‘won’ that election Bio’s first move was to have 10 duly elected APC MPs removed from Parliament and replaced with 10 SLPP runners up via a court judgement instead of a bye election as per the national constitution. The president also passed several laws and instruments that were heavily resisted by the opposition using the backdoor. By allowing for disputed laws to pass after laying  fallow in the House for 21 days, Bio passed laws that the people were and still are against. He did this using the very laws against the law by going against the true intent or letter and spirit of the law.

Now that Bio has ‘won’ yet another disputed election that saw him win over 55% of the votes, he is also making it hard for anyone to be convinced that he is serious with doing things as they are being demanded by the APC and our international supporters by insisting that he won the elections.

Continuing his assault on our constitution and democracy, Bio did not take responsibility for or revealed those state security officers who shot and killed civilians across the country since 2018. For those killings he set up one committee that delivered a report that painted the Bio regime and the shooters of our people in a positive light going as far as castigating the APC as being responsible or the cause for those shootings.

Now after losing the 2023 presidential elections that his electoral commissioner said he didn’t, President Bio now wants to review our constitution. Some people believe that the reviewed constitution is already done, as the president knows exactly what he is up to, anything else would be a matter of formality. We don’t think that Bio wants to strengthen the constitution; he would rather change it to reflect his personal interest, never in the interest of the people or state.

He does not have such a track record of being entrusted by the people with the responsibility of leadership; he has been rejected twice but is still insisting that he won both times.

The president has entered the sheepfold once again by the fence and is doing all in his power to present it as he entered by the gate.

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