By Kabs Kanu
When you consider the speed and dispatch with which President Maada Bio has been giving his officials the boot , you want to believe that it is the people around the President who are creating many of the problems for which President Bio and the government are being blamed.
Even though President Bio may not be helping matters by his inexplicable silence over the controversial matters that have bedeviled his government since he came to power, many people are exploring the possibility that it is perhaps his own officials who are inadvertently undermining the president. .
If this is not the case, why would President Bio take the shocking step to boot out his Secretary over the letter he wrote to Finance Minister officials misrepresenting the President that Bio had ordered a stop to be placed on the implementation of the Finance Acts of 2016, 2017 and 2018 ? Also, if the government officials are not the more culpable parties, why did President Bio have to stun the world last week by suddenly and swiftly dismissing his Attorney General and Minister of Justice ?
PRESIDENT MAADA BIO
Any reasonable person mulling over the suddenness with which President Bio has fired these high-profile officials would be tempted to come to the conclusion that the President may be working with people who are not directly in tandem with him when they take decisions . Do you remember the other official during the first cleaning exercise in May who took upon himself to issue his own ministerial order after the expiration of the mandated 9-12 am period for the cleaning in the original presidential order , extending the time to 6pm , without first consulting his superior authorities ?
Belief in the theory that President Bio’s men may be also seriously culpable in creating the situations that have brought blames to the government must have been reinforced by the decision by the Financial Secretary to go on the social media to announce that Government had paid the repatriation expenses of former ambassadors and press, cultural and military attaches , when in fact the total amount remitted fell far short of the real expenses involved in moving out the diplomats and their families and shipping their personal belongings. The diplomats are complaining that the amount is not in conformity with realities on the market and possibly must have been arrived at arbitrarily by officials who did not follow the Foreign Service and market guidelines in determining the repatriation costs.
As a matter of fact, news is making the rounds that the Foreign Ministry tabulated the correct expenses for the diplomats and sent it to the Ministry of Finance, but that it was the Finance officials who arbitrarily cut down the figures. One wonders whether President Bio was consulted prior to such a decision .
Mr. Johnny Lahai, a decent-minded , objective, fair and liberal supporter of the government , in his response to complaints on Facebook by the former press attache at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington DC , Mr. Pasco Temple, also raised the spectre that President Bio may not have been adequately briefed by officials about the methods used, if any , in determining the repatriation costs of the diplomats. THIS WAS WHAT HE WROTE :
Dear brother Pasco Temple.
I apologize on behalf of my party and government.
We are sorry for the inconvenience. As diplomats you all served our country with distinction. Thank you.
I am sure President Bio will be briefed on this very problem, and he will take the necessary steps.
He (president Bio) is not here to hurt anyone. He is your president too.
May God bless you, and heal your hurts; and may He also bless our president and government; and above all, Sierra Leone. Amen.
If our speculation is indeed true that President Bio have have been kept in the dark about how this repatriation costs decision was reached, it is hoped that President Bio will intervene speedily in this issue to make sure that the diplomats are accurately and fairly recompensed. If the amounts remitted stand, the diplomats would not be able to purchase plane tickets for themselves and families, where applicable, and also ship their belongings.
The diplomats are even worried that the Government may not pay their salaries for June, though they had been made to stay on their posts beyond the 15th of the month. How will these diplomats pay their rents, an obligation they cannot escape after spending 15 days in their rented homes , if they are denied their June salaries ?
President Bio must ensure that not only do the diplomats have their correct repatriation costs but having spent half a month in their homes , they also be fully paid their june emoluments to save them from being embarrassed by their landlords and also to stave off the possibility of diplomatic and social embarrassment and ostracization for the government itself.