May 15, 2019
By Mohamed Massaquoi
Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swarray, has told pressmen during an emergency press conference yesterday at the ministry’s conference hall that, the government of President Julius Maada Bio was committed to providing watertight security to former President Ernest Bai Koroma, adding that social media claims about tampering with the security makeups of the former president was a mere political propaganda.
Former president Ernest Bai Koroma had rejected what he described as the abrupt transfer and replacement of his state security details and further rejected the proposed guards sent to him on the grounds that he was not consulted about their vetting nor did he know about their professionalism and discipline.
It was reported that 16 of his 18 guards were summarily disarmed without recourse to him, a development which the former president said was tantamount to his safety and security being compromised, and a violation of his entitlement as a former head of state.
Addressing journalists yesterday on the issue, Swarray said it was normal, according to security arrangement, for a set of personnel to be removed and replaced with others, adding that President Maada Bio would like to be accorded the same respect and dignitary upon his retirement.
“We are committed to providing appropriate security to former President Koroma. The social media allegation regarding this matter is very heinous, which is the more reason we have decided to make a statement as a responsible government. Government and the people of this nation will always respect our former public officials, including former presidents and vice presidents, and ensure that the necessary courtesies attending to their persons as former officials are fully enjoyed. However, government frowns at the attempts by former President Koroma for creating the impression to the public that the security of his person and family are compromised and exposed to an unpardonable abandon,” he said.
“The general public and international community are assured that security is the business of the agencies completely created for that purpose and that configuration and reconfiguration are determined by those agencies based on existing policies and assessed facts and circumstances. Security to state functionaries can be assigned and reassigned as those in charge of the relevant protocols determine to be most necessary.”
He reiterated that President Bio was committed to the maintenance of peace and stability of the country and that effort should be put in place to ensure that Sierra Leoneans go about their normal businesses.