By KABS KANU :
Elections turn on the basis of voters’ perceptions. People just do not vote out governments because a demon has appeared on the horizon displaying snake oil that his supporters perceive to be the panache for the country’s problems. Voters kick out a government because they have seen an alternative that they consider better placed and committed to improve their welfare. Sierra Leoneans are yet to see an alternative to President Ernest Bai Koroma.
MAADA BIO : NOT A PORTIA SIMPSON MILLER
The naivety and idiocy of some Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) supporters came out again after the recent Jamaican elections which saw former female Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller’ of the People’s National Party (PNP ) defeat incumbent Andrew Holness’ of the Jamaican Labour Party. Without paying reverence to the factors that influence voters’ perceptions , some simple-minded SLPP supporters have once again demonstrated their inability to make logical conclusions based on the facts on the ground by gloating that the Jamaican opposition party’s victory is a forestaste of Sierra Leone’s 2012 Presidential Elections in which , according to them , their candidate Maada Bio will upset President Ernest Bai Koroma and enter State House . Not so fast.
Wishful thinking has always been the SLPP’s undoing –The very reason that they never accept defeat during elections and the main factor behind their penchant to invite the army to stage a coup when they lose as they did in 1967 or provoke a bloody Civil War as they did in 1992 when they imported Liberia ‘s deadly conflagation into Sierra Leone to seek the overthrow of the All People’s Congress ( APC ) Government of the late President Joseph Saidu Momoh. The SLPP is thinking wishfully once again and the very reason that they will try to provoke another chaos in Sierra Leone this year after President Koroma would have soundly defeated Maada Bio.
Somebody firstly needs to re-educate SLPP supporters that there is no logical basis to implant the facts on the ground in one country into another different country. Circumstance that influence voters’ perceptions differ from country to country . Jamaicans may have had good reason to ditch their incumbent Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ for just one reason —that they no longer trusted their welfare and future in his hands and in Madam Portia Simpson Miller they saw a leader in whose hands they trust their country’s destiny. The SLPP Presidential candidate Maada Bio does not command that trust. Maada Bio is soiled and damaged goods, an extrajudicial killer and thief , who when he had the chance to rule Sierra Leone , committed not only gross human rights abuses and killings but made thousands of dollars in racketeering in the country’s passports and helicopter parts. The very man he handed power to–Ex-President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah– was the very one that made the potentially damaging revelations of Maada Bio’s corruption. Is that the scoundrel that SLPP supporters expect Sierra Leoneans to trust enough to hand him victory over a President like Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma , who has a record of concrete socio-economic and political achievements ?
Maada Bio is no Portia Simpson Miller. The last time Madam Miller ruled Jamaica, she impressed Jamaicans highly.
She served as prime minister for 530 days between March 30, 2006, and September 11, 2007. Her stay in office got terminated after she failed to lead the PNP to victory against the Labour Party of Bruce Golding in the September 3, 2007, general election. But the leading newspaper in the country, THE JAMAICAN OBSERVER , crowned her Person of The Year while she was still opposition leader. No newspaper that cares for its credibilty will crown Maada Bio Man of The Year in Sierra Leone after the extrajudicial killings and daylight robbery he committed while head of the military junta that abused fundamental human rights. Maada Bio did not even hand over power willingly. We will soon demonstrate to the Sierra Leonean people that it was international stakeholders including the UN , Britain and the U.S. who forced him out .He was virtually paid off to cede power to a civilian government. Records exist to back this fact, though Maada Bio wasted the huge sums he got on wild living, women and ostentation. Maada Bio was kicked out of the U.S for brutally beating his wife and biting off her ear. Is that the depraved individual Sierra Leoneans would trust with power over President Ernest Koroma ? Sierra Leoneans may be poor but they are not dumb.
While it is a fact that socio-economic and political challenges still exist in Sierra Leone, Maada Bio, who can sink so low as to to engage in racketeering for passports , is not the answer to these problems. He is too corrupt and too low in moral stature to be an answer to corruption in Sierra Leone. There is no basis for Sierra Leoneans to believe that Maada Bio would do better than President Koroma in solving Sierra Leone’s multifarous social, economic and political problems. Maada Bio has no record of successes that Sierra Leoneans can draw from. Maada Bio has nothing in his records to match the many achievements of President Koroma. When one looks at the infrastructural developments and the human rights freedoms alone under President Koroma, Sierra Leoneans will prefer to trust him with another term than chart choppy , dangerous and uncertain waters by abandoning him for a miscreant and a rogue like Maada Bio .
The pigmy-looking Maada Bio does not even inspire confidence. He lacks leadership potentials and depends on brawn rather than brains to fight his battles. The violence he expatiated against journalists of the AWARENESS TIMES and other SLPP supporters who opposed him;the disgraceful manner his supporters turned the SLPP Headquarters to a den of diamba-smokers, thieves and prostitutes are all reasons for Sierra Leoneans not to trust Maada Bio for any respectable leadership. The man is an unrepentant thug. He only went to the AWARENESS TIMES office because he realised how potentially damaging Dr.Sylvia Blyden will be to his presidential bid. He did not repent for his brutality and bestiality against the paper .If he had repented in truth, he would have restrained his supporters from continuing to verbally abuse the young female journalist.
Despite the economic problems in Sierra Leone caused mainly by the global economic crisis, President Koroma is still very popular with the grassroots people and the general citizenry of Sierra Leone months ahead of the elections. This was not the case with the incumbent Jamaican leader who was loathed by his people. President Koroma is far more popular with the people than Bio. Wherever President Koroma goes, he draws massive crowds.Watch the number of people who turned out when Bio visited his Bonthe District recently . Once again, there was
no sea of greens as expected. In Jamaica, it was the reverse. Portia was far more popular than Andrew Holness .
Maada Bio has no goodwill with the international community. He cannot travel to some countries in Europe or North America because he is unwanted there for his human rights abuses and killings. How can Sierra Leoneans trust their destiny in the hands of a leader whose foreign travels will be restricted ? Isn’t it therefore foolish and idiotic of his supporters to compare him to Portia Simpson Miller and expect him to pull off a presidential elections victory like the Jamaican opposition leader ?
The SLPP will do itself a huge favour the day it concedes that it made a very bad and very poor choice of a presidential candidate. Opposition leaders do unseat incumbents but for a man with Maada Bio’s baggage , it is a long shot–unless Sierra Leoneans have stopped thinking about the future of their nation.