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Sunday, July 3, 2022
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THAT HON. VICE PRESIDENT’S RAPPROACHMENT WITH FORMER PRESIDENT KOROMA

By: Winstanley. R. Bankole Johnson

Our speculations on reasons for the Hon. Vice President’s Makeni stopover “rapprochement” with former President Ernest Bai Koroma have all turned out to be as wide and off tangent as the East is from the West. Credible Radio FM 98.1 reports indicate that the real reason for the Hon. VP’s stopover was to elicit the former President’s tacit endorsement for Sierra Leone’s non-voting membership bid to the UN Security Council. I’m obliged to doff my hat to the Hon. Vice President Juldeh Jalloh for that initiative.

Curiosity has however taken over the better part of my reasoning to think aloud: Wasn’t the former President either the architect of that bid or as Chair of the C-10 Group, was actively instrumental in pursuing it?  If yes either ways how then could his “support” now be required for something he either actually initiated or vigorously supported as a legacy of his precursor the late President Ahmad Tejan-Kabbah? Was that FM 98.1 Radio report skewed (as usual) to portray this government as a listening and consultative institution that prioritizes national cohesion through participatory democracy?

Magnanimity

As if to play the Devil’s Advocate, clips on the VP’s meeting with the former President and another earlier video clip of the same VP insinuating open threats against former President Koroma (whilst on a trip in Port Loko few years back) warning him of dire consequences “….if he refuses to recuse himself from politics and begin to behave as a statesman……” hit the social media simultaneously. It was an interesting but unfortunate walk down “Memory Lane”. Those were veritable threats against the very former President whose endorsement is now being sought, and which overt endorsement he dares not withhold from the government of President Bio both as a demonstration of magnanimity and in the interest of patriotism, peace and national cohesion,

For good measure this government either actively initiated or passively supported threats against the former President by looking askance as insinuations, disparaging names calling and public humiliations of him continued in many ways, including public humiliations through the Commissions of Inquiries (COI) processes, the final outcomes of which are yet to see the light of day. Some of those names include: “Terrorists”; “Ayampis”; “Unfit for purpose – Not even for themselves”; “Tollgate –Ebola-Mudslides-PanBody- Money Launderer” – to name just a few. To date President Koroma has held his tongue and spoken nothing; even though it has been pain and grief to him.   Well that is the same man whose public support is now being sought by the government for endorsement of Sierra Leone’s bid to sit on the UN Security Council.

Critical

Now let us assume for a minute that all of those vilifications against our former Head of State as archived somewhere in the UN Plaza are accessed by those doing a “Fit and Proper” verification of the credentials of those endorsing Sierra Leone’s bid for a seat in the UN Security Council. What would anyone expect would be their reaction after reading through the barrage of vilifications and condemnations including threats spewed against him by this very government whose bid he has endorsed? Would they take President Koroma’s endorsement seriously, or will it work against the interest of our country in such a critical time of need?

But in the event that doesn’t happen and Sierra Leone’s bid gets carried principally on the endorsement of (among many others) former President Ernest Bai Koroma, how would this Bio administration feel thereafter to proceed with the persecution of the very man on whose principal endorsement the UN accepted Sierra Leone’s bid for a seat in the UN Security Council? Do you now have a glimpse of why we need to be very careful how we persecute, prosecute and denigrate our past leaders; why as always we should endeavor to maintain the sanctity of institutions and national offices as well as become our brothers’ (sisters’) keepers?

There is this Krio adage which says: “Every time you point one finger at your enemies, another four comes pointing back at you”.  There are deep lesson for us as politicians under the circumstances. We need to be mindful of how we maltreat and tear each other apart because of tribal, regional, or other narrow political considerations or on the altar of short term material gains that might cumulatively work out to the detriment of our country.

Resuscitate

In the immediate halcyon days of SLPP ascendancy I can recall writing several pieces urging this government to tread cautiously and to be accommodating to the new opposition if they were to achieve and enjoy a seamless and tranquil administration. But the exuberance accompanying their victory was obfuscating. President Bio’s initial commitment to work consultatively with the opposition in the same way former President Koroma did with the SLPP in 2007 soon fizzled into insignificance, underpinned by greed and avarice. Persecutions of opposition elements began in earnest, polarizing the country into smithereens. Former fast friendships with key SLPP stalwarts degenerated into suspicion and malice as to them, all that glittered was gold. Now this!!

Can you imagine the strides this nation would have made in the last four years in areas of peace and national cohesion, economic stability and good governance if only President Bio had embraced and nurtured us all under a climate and policy of “No Victors: No Vanquished”?   But even with less than a year to go in power – and a knowledge that the SLPP is definitely not coming back – it is not too late for President Bio to resuscitate our pulses of patriotism and national unity, using the Peace and Cohesion Commission which is up but not running, except for salaries payments of the appointees.

Returning to the Makeni Hon. VP and former President Koroma’s “rapproachment”, cynics are of the view that the former’s stopover was borne out of an awareness that government and governance is eluding the SLPP fast, so the Hon. VP had been directed to initiate safe passages for himself and President Bio immediately they are announced as losers at the next elections. Still others are of the view that that meeting was to cement compromises as would allow the APC to begin to lapse into complacency mode that would guarantee the SLPP a second term.

Whatever position one takes is irrelevant. What should be of priority consideration to patriots is peace and stability in our country as would ensure revitalization of the economy.  

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