There is a rapid shift in the public’s opinion about President Bio and his New Direction. With just two weeks to complete his first year as president, the popularity of Bio has declined. The thousands who had high hopes that his plans were best to move Sierra Leone forward, are seeing that such plans were only pipedreams. If there is any movement in the socio-economic status of Sierra Leoneans, it’s backward in the opposite direction. Hunger, limited resources, high cost of living, injustice, nepotism, intimidation, political intolerance, and the inability to attract investors, makes Bio less favorable today as he completes his first year in office. His failure to address poverty and hardship has led to confidence in his leadership taking a nose-dive among Sierra Leoneans. Less than 30% of the people now approves of his presidency.
This is a drop from the nationwide 35% to 40% core SLPP supporters. This could mean that a certain percentage of SLPP supporters now agree with the majority opposition on Bio’s leadership incompetence. Further investigations reveal that mainstream Sierra Leoneans are disillusioned about his New Direction. Many believe Bio had no plan at all, and if there was any direction it is proving to be downward, regressive and not progressive. What Sierra Leoneans have seen so far is the worse form of tribalism in the nation’s history. Instead of comparing Bio to Sir Milton Margai the Father of Sierra Leone’s Independence, Bio is akin to Albert Margai, the architect of tribalism and regionalism in the country.
Sierra Leoneans in record numbers now see Bio doing worse things than his predecessor Ernest Bai Koroma. For example, he campaigned on wasteful spending under the APC Koroma government regarding the many flights and delegations abroad. But in less than one year, Bio has logged in over 30 flights abroad with over 40-member delegations every time. In less than one month, He spent 5-days in the Gambia, 7-days in the US, 3-days in Morocco, and about the same number of days in UAE. So, spending nearly 20-days out of 30-days also gives a clue about the cynicism and letdown of the Bio Presidency. Sadly, unlike President Koroma that brought back packages beneficial to his people, none of his (Bio) trips impacts the socio-economic conditions of struggling Sierra Leoneans.
There are lots of upset and grumbling Sierra Leoneans. On social media some now call him, “Ajay Fly Fly” while others refer to him as “Bio Wakabot.” Even artists who once thought he’s the messiah are wailing about the indescribable sadness, unhappiness, desolation and misery across Sierra Leone. Many believe Bio contradicts himself by prosecuting the brother and other relatives of former President Koroma while appointing his own family members to sensitive positions without the qualification to serve in those capacities. Someone said, “President Bio is practicing reverse corruption.” Another contrast someone drew is that EBK “managed” to appoint opposition members to positions within his cabinet and government. Koroma even created the opportunity for the tribal rulers and opposition politicians to travel. Not so with Bio only his tribesmen and inner core.
The poet Thomas Campbell once wrote, “Coming events cast their shadows before.” Said another way, clues show important events to follow. Evidence show that Bio’s first year in office has produced an estrange leadership relationship between him and the people. Except for his critics back then, the Bio in office is not the Bio Sierra Leoneans that clamored for change expected. Seventy percent (70%) of Sierra Leoneans have lost hope in his leadership. Despite his pompous claim of increasing educational spending to 21% of the national budget, there has been no meaningful impact of his presidency on the citizens. An overwhelming majority sees for 4-more years of extreme poverty, hardship, suffering and socio-economic decline under Bio. His first year has been so disastrous, the movement to limit him to just one term is gaining grounds. So, who will succeed Bio in 2023?