April 20, 2018 By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Citizens of different shades of opinion have taken to social media – Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp – to condemn Lahai Lawrence Leema’s outburst on Facebook on Tuesday, April 17, alleging a secret meeting of some senior military officers with former President Ernest Bai Koroma in Makeni city.
The National Publicity Secretary of the ruling Sierra Leone Peoplesw Party wrote that: “If this is anything to go by, then let me remind the RSLAF chain of command that the Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone (RSLAF) as stipulated by the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone is His Excellency Rtd. Brig. Julius Bio. You either respect the people’s mandate or quit the RSLAF. To venture any unprogressive path in this country now will be counterproductive.”
He added: “You don’t serve to masters. It is against the military law and codes for three officers to have a secret meeting without the approval of the CDS, so whatever you are up to, I advise you drop it with an immediate effect.”
The post prompted a press release from the so-called Office of former President Ernest Bai Koroma on Wednesday, 18 April, signed by Sheriff Mahmud Ismail, who described himself as Special Assistant.
The release noted that the allegation by Leema against the former president was “baseless and dangerous for the peace and security of the state.”
“The facts are that since the new SLPP dispensation of H.E. President Bio was ushered in, the former president has not even moved out of Freetown, let alone to be present in northern Makeni City to hold secret meetings with soldiers. For the avoidance of all doubts, we hereby state that the former President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, has not held any secret meetings with military officers here in Freetown, in Makeni or anywhere else. We therefore condemn in the strongest of terms, this errant attempt to bring the name of the former president to disrepute,” the release states.
The release added that the “unfounded allegations have brought sad memories of how innocent Sierra Leoneans were in the past implicated on trumped up allegations of treason resulting in unimaginable extra-judicial consequences for them and their families.”
The release further added that during Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s tenure as president over a period of ten years, he worked assiduously to ensure Sierra Leone enjoys unprecedented peace and quiet.
“Our collective efforts under his leadership ensured our country – Sierra Leone -was ranked as the most peaceful nation in our region – and one of the most peaceful in Africa and the World. It is therefore incumbent on us all to maintain our enviable ranking.”
Meanwhile, the so-called office of the former president has demanded an immediate retraction from the ruling SLPP for the “unfounded allegation by their official National Spokesman.”
One Facebook user said” “He [Leema] needs to be deleted from the SLPP as Publicity Secretary because he is trying to bring another war in Sierra Leone and we don’t need it anymore.”
Another Facebook user said: “The truth of the matter is Lahai Lawrence Leema must be stopped from carrying on such recklessness that could be detrimental to our socio-economic development under the NEW direction and a jeopardy to our collective peace and safety and peaceful co-existence.”