It was a rather shockingly mediocre performance by Maada Bio in the November 17 Presidential Elections during which President Ernest Bai Koroma beat him so bad that had it been a boxing contest the umpire would have stopped the one-sided fight to save him from total annihilation , despite all the showboating, lies, propaganda, delusions of grandeur and unnecessary display of bloated self-importance. Now, instead of accepting defeat, the Sierra Leone People Party (SLPP ) Presidential flagbearer, Retired Brigadier Maada Bio, has decided to plow a dishonorable furrow into the realm of poor gamesmanship and lack of respect for democracy. It is not his decision to dispute the election that is in question; it is the weakness of his case.
MAADA BIO : HEADING FOR POLITICAL AND MORAL SELF-DESTRUCTION
Maada Bio, the former junta leader every decent journalist predicted had been pitchforked into the presidential race for nothing else but to create chaos in the country, has lived up to his reputation by deciding to dispute an election that every single local and international observer described as free and fair and polls that met all the international benchmarks for credible and well-organized elections. From the African Union (AU), to the European Union ( EU), to the Carter Centre, to the Commonwealth Observer Group, to the local National Elections Watch (NEW), everybody reported to the world that the Sierra Leone elections held on November 17, 2012 were so free, fair and credible that the few and isolated irregularities would not have had any effect on the final result. All these observers noted that opposition party agents stood alongside polling agents and the observers and watched everything–from the peaceful voting process, to the sealing of all ballot boxes after the polls, to the counting and tallying of the results at all the polling stations throughout the country.
All the concerns of the opposition were addressed by the National Elections Commission ( NEC ) and because of them 10% of the votes were even quarantined for a recount. All the ballot boxes were reopened in front of opposition agents, polling officials and observers and recounted to discover whether there was over-voting and ballots-stuffing as the Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) alleged. No evidence of over-voting and ballot stuffing were discovered in almost all the places complained about and in the few polling stations in the Western Area where over-voting was suspected, the votes were annulled . However, the Chief Elections Commissioner noted that even if the annulled votes were given to any one candidate, they would not have influenced the final result. Where are the wide-spread irregularities , therefore that Bio is complaining about that according to him led to his conclusion that the results did not reflect the will of the people ? Is this man not simply trying to undermine the will of the people and the peace and stability of the land ?
Disappointing as Mr. Bio’s conduct is, his recalcitrant behavior is however not surprising to patriotic Sierra Leoneans, non-SLPP journalists and political experts who had predicted from the word go that Bio will behave exactly like this after the elections. Every serious observer noted that it was in fact the reason that the SLPP Presidential flagbearership election was stolen from the rightful winner , Mr. Usu Boie-Kamara and handed to the loser Bio through frenzied last minute backroom maneuvers —The SLPP wanted a hardened, conscienceless , unruly and petulant thug to carry their standard so that when they are defeated they would have a prince of the devils to protest and hold the nation to ransome , because the SLPP never intended to accept the verdict of this 2012 elections, whether they were free and fair or not. The Chairman of the SLPP, Mr. John Benjamin, was once eavesdropped by “gatecrashers” telling a teleconference of SLPP diaspora supporters : ” Ladies and gentlemen, we have to do whatever it takes to win these elections . We have to win them.We have no Plan B “.
Maada Bio is heading for another disgraceful defeat wherever he takes his case. If he goes to court, he will have a very , very heavy evidential burden to prove that firstly there were wide-spread irregularities and secondly that the irregularities were enough to influence the final outcome of the elections. Given the massive tally by which he was defeated –58% to 37% –and the evidence from international and local observers as well as the NEC that there were so few and isolated irregularities that they did not influence the elections, Bio will lose with costs in court. That is a certainty and the ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) and patriotic Sierra Leoneans are not even bothered by the idea of the sore loser going to court.
What is however of concern to all patriotic Sierra Leoneans is what Bio will do next when the court would have thrown out his case—And this is where the Government of Sierra Leone should demonstrate that all the frills in the nation by this one rebellious Bio are over. If Bio undermines the peace, he must be immediately arrested and brought to justice. Bio has got away with a lot of crimes in the country. He was collectively responsible for the extrajudicial massacre of 29 innocent persons by a military junta he served in a high profile position in 1992. The former President, Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and his then Attorney General Mr.Solomon Berewa accused Bio of stealing thousands of Sierra Leone passports while he was junta leader and selling them to foreigners. He also engaged in racketeering in helicopter parts . May be, it could be time to revisit these crimes by Bio, if he brings chaos to Sierra Leone. Bio must be made to know that he is not above the law.
We await to see where Bio is headed next. If he goes to court , it is his right to do so. However, if he incites his supporters to chaos, he is treading on dangerous grounds.
If his aim is to create chaos in Sierra Leone, he has left Jerusalem ; he is heading for Jericho, where he may fall into perils that will see him carted away to the ICC for prosecution.