By KABS KANU
The wheels of national unity and peace are coming off the national wagon swiftly since the last elections and desperate actions , as a matter of priority, need to be taken by President Maada Bio to fix the wheels back and save his presidency and return the nation to peace, normalcy and tranquility. Only an unpatriotic president and supporters will revel in the present state of affairs in our country which has a whole government at loggerheads with its people.
The Government has been in power for only 7 months but the chaos, fratricidal schisms, human rights abuse complaints and misrule this government has generated is frightening.
Sierra Leone has been seriously and dangerously divided and polarized along political party, regional and ethnic lines since the last elections . We cannot continue on this dangerous course. The Government must act fast to bring back peace and stability in the nation. We are a very small country, where we are all interrelated by tribe, clan, culture , marriage and other familial ties. We cannot continue the present state of confrontation.
I suggest the following immediate measures by President Bio and Government :
1. President Bio must summon another BINTUMANI—A national conference on peace, national unity , national reconciliation and national reintegration , inviting paramount chiefs, civil society activists, journalists, diasporan representatives, religious leaders ,members of the diplomatic community, international stakeholders, political parties, market women, traders, shoe-shine boys, okada, taxi, keke and poda poda drivers , university students and lecturers , teachers , members of the bar association etc. etc. The specific aim of the conference must be to hammer out all the tribal and political grievances and map the way forward for a more united and progressive country.
2, After the meeting, President Bio must embark on a nation-wide tour , visiting every district and headquarter town to assure the nation about his commitment to peaceful coexistence, tribal balance in governance, respect for democracy and human rights and the tenets of national unity .
3. As a confidence-building measure, President Bio must make a major cabinet reshuffle and do his best to create tribal and regional balance by reappointing ministers, ambassadors, public servants across the broad spectrum of tribe and region of the country.
4. President Bio must realize that the likes of him have come to power in an entirely different dispensation–The age of increased citizen awareness and involvement in national affairs and the era of a very potent, powerful, punch-packing and nation-defining SOCIAL MEDIA. His supporters are fighting a losing battle trying to combat social media and the maelstrom of attacks and criticisms on his government by resorting to verbal abuse , fake pictures , blackmail, ugly propaganda and puerile defences like “The APC too did it” or “We inherited it. ” . President Bio, I should not be the one giving you such valuable advice. You do not pay me. While all other diplomats have received their June salaries, I am the only man who has still not received mine for reasons only God knows. But I cannot use that as an excuse not to advice you . You can never be a successful president if you remain a MUMU PRESIDENT. You can talk and you need to start talking to the nation directly through radio and TV NATION-WIDE Broadcasts, The Sierra Leonean people voted for a vibrant leader who must fellowship with them in their pains and sufferings and hear his own perspective. They want to hear from their president when things go wrong in the nation. You have to start talking, Mr. Bio, or your presidency will end in shame and disgrace.
5. President Bio must stop playing to the gallery of extremists , tribalists and self-serving , narcissistic ,revenge-seeking and junta-minded supporters . The All People’s Congress ( APC ) and Northerners are not the enemies of the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP) and southesterners. They are just political opponents. The government must try to make tis very clear in word and action. There is too much extremism and hate towards opponents manifested through the summary indiscriminate dismissals, destruction of livelihoods, cutting off of payments of legitimate salaries and benefits, beating up, wounding , maiming and killing of opponents . This vindictive style of leadership must stop, President Bio. You are creating a dangerous atmosphere for future conflagration in the country. The SLPP is full of extremists and listening to their advice is making this government dictatorial, abusive, oppressive and abhorrent.
6. President Bio must dismiss, without delay, any minister, ambassador or public official found abusing innocent citizens. Let the Rule of Law reign in Sierra Leone. When the President remains silent and takes no action against abusive officials , he creates the impression that he is in support of their actions.
Sierra Leone is our country. We may carry other nationalities but Sierra Leone is our real home. We want to see peace and unity reigning among our people. We are one country, one people. Political and regional rivalries have always existed but there was a time when our people lived in peace and harmony. Please take our nation back to those days.
Political power is not permanent and President Bio will one day leave power, will or woe . He must be thinking seriously about the legacies he will be remembered for for eternity . Leaving an impressive legacy is far better than the fruitless brinksmanship,extremist, high-wire acts and poison and deadly junta politics that seem to be the president’s forte.