By Musa Ronsho —
Bintumani 3 Delegates Lay the Blame for Resentment, Instability and Division at the Doorstep of Statehouse
Wow! Sierra Leoneans are people whom just when you take them for granted, would prove you wrong. With everything the government thinks it is doing to right the wrongs of the past, there comes the time when some are not afraid to speak truth to power. Such was the case this past weekend as a few did not mince their words speaking out against the deteriorating conditions in Sierra Leone. The people spoke and brought up the kind of issues (I assume) the government did not want to hear. Like most politicians, hearing others sing his praise is an intoxicating addiction for President Bio. But most of the speakers were not interested in blustering his ego. The hour was urgent, and they ceased the opportunity to say in so many words, “Mr. President, your leadership so far is nothing to write home about. Because life in Sierra Leone under you, actually sucks.”
Since winning the presidency, the policies and actions Bio has made life more terrible than before. In fact, his leadership has added more unpleasantness to what the people experienced under Ernest Bai Koroma. Unlike Koroma that pursued programs and implemented policies to bridge the tribal and regional divide during his first term, the tribal and regional proclivity of the current government headed by Julius Maada Bio is blatant; it is noticeable that Bio does not look for the general well-being of all Sierra Leoneans. He is interested only in activities that promotes his false sense of tribal superiority. So, when the president of the Children’s Forum spoke with passion against domineering tribalism trickling down from the top, we can only hope President Bio heard the children of the nation loud and clear that his approach to governance is a root cause to the current resentment, instability and division in Sierra Leone.
Was President Bio hallucinating when he said Sierra Leone is not divided by ethnicity? No wonder speaker after speaker remark that Sierra Leone today is totally divided by ethnicity. If Sierra Leone was not divided by ethnicity why would Samai say, She does not want to be asked what is her tribe when she goes to school? Paraphrasing the Late Ronald Reagan, Mr. Bio tear down your regional wall. Mr. President take off your tribal blindfold. You are President of Sierra Leone, so stop acting like a president only for the Mende people. Bio said, “Let us talk about how we can make it impossible for any one person or any one group of persons to keep tearing our nation apart.” Was he talking about the Mende “nation”? Because if he truly meant Sierra Leone as a nation, then it is his heavily leaning tribal penchant that is currently tearing Sierra Leone as a nation apart.
Bio said, “You cannot claim to love Sierra Leone more when all your actions and statements are contrary to the spirit of promoting diversity in democracy.” I guess he assumed the title role of the father of the nation here. He was scolding his reluctant APC children for not joining him at Bintumani 3. Because, what came out from the conference is the truth that the actions and statements of Julius Maada Bio are contrary to the spirit of promoting diversity in democracy. Let’s bring the legal minded Basita Michael who clearly made the case and laid the blame for resentment, instability and division right at the doorstep of Statehouse. She said, “Of all the longstanding problems still entrenched in our society, we have added another problem. Which is making things even worse. Which is taking us backward and not forward. And what is that? It is the seeming policy of division, exclusion, and marginalization of a certain group. Political instability and tension is not encouraging investment. Division on tribal lines does not consolidate peace. It perpetuates resentment.”
Referring to President Bio’s opening speech she said, “There is a big gap between rhetoric and reality. We are preaching peace, yet we are undermining those institutions that fosters peace…. You cannot preach peace when you are busy sacking people who are guaranteed the security of tenure under the constitution and other statutes. You cannot preach peace and you impose a speaker in parliament against the majority in parliament. We cannot preach peace when it seems like appointments are being done on tribal lines. We cannot preach peace when we are depriving the access to justice of the hearing of political cases.” What a smash! No wonder peers elected her president of the Sierra Leone Bar Association. She is the people’s hero for placing the responsibility of resentment, instability and division squarely at the doorstep of Statehouse. Bio had earlier said, “the problem is that bad politicians are at the heart of the acrimony that continues to mar the social peace in the country.” So true Mr. President because the current occupant of Statehouse is the chief culprit among the