BY KABS KANU :
King David in Psalm 51: 10 cried out to God : ” Give me a clean heart , oh God, and renew a right spirit within me “. One man who may not have to recite this prayer over and over and over is PRESIDENT ERNEST BAI KOROMA, who has proved enough since he came to power in 2007 that he has a clean heart and a right spirit within him. In a world where people are very unforgiving, devillish and vindictive and will go all out to exact vengence on anybody who hurts them , even in word, it is fascinating and refreshing to know that we have a President in Sierra Leone who is completely different from the breed of vengeful people.
Many Sierra Leoneans and observers of the country’s progress from outside the nation, have commended the President highly for his leadership style and personal demeanor which are devoid of acrimony and the penchant to pay back or settle old scores.Since President Koroma came to power , journalists have taken liberties to write all manners of provocative and malicious articles against the Head of State. Even now, some errant media practitioners are still at it trying to defame the President, but Dr.Ernest Bai Koroma has remained so cool, unruffled and unmoved that to this day no journalist has ever been cautioned, not to mention harassed or the Lord forbid, arrested and jailed.
For the kind of tabloids and online news sheets which pass for newspapers, this is an amazing and unbelievable feat. In all the five years+ that the President has been in power, he has demonstrated remarkable grace, courage and tolerance under fire and provocation from the press. What is even more amazing about the President is that he is very friendly with the journalists that constitute themselves as thorns to the President’s character. The manner that the President lovingly and with impeccable camaradie hugs, embraces and hobnobs with these journalists in public functions is the stuff of legend .
Opposition members in Sierra Leone can be caustic and vituperative and oftentimes many of them have directed their venom at the President, saying bitter and unjustifiable things about him that are untrue and alien to his character and persona, but President Koroma never takes these things to heart like many other African and world leaders who consider members of the opposition sworn enemies. The President is a loving friend of all opposition members , including even the former Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) Presidential candidate, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio. Imagine what leaders like Samuel Doe , Mobutu Sese Sekou, Jean Bedell Bokassa, Marcia Nguema ,Idi Amin and others would have done to Bio if they were the ones whose convoy he had blocked during the heat of the last elections ! ! ! President Koroma is so tolerant that if there was another route, he could have told his security and drivers to take it to avoid a confrontation between his supporters and Bio’s. For a post-war country still scarred by the ravages of the last war, President Koroma has the right spirit within him. Only a tolerant, forgiving and non-vindictive leader will be able to build and consolidate peace in Sierra Leone. For being that kind of leader, we doff our hats to the President.
Let us also look at the awards and insignia recently presented to worthy citizens by President Koroma to mark the 52nd Independence Anniversary. While it is a fact that all the recipients deserved their honor for contributing to the social, economic, cultural and political development of Sierra Leone, one or two of them would be first to acknowledge that if President Koroma was the kind of man with a touchy, unforgiving and vengeful spirit, they would not have made the list. Either they or their family members went out purposely to derail the re-election efforts of the President. But for the magnificent fightback by the Presidential press corps, the song “YESTERDAY BETTEH PASS TIDAY” would have undermined the President’s re-election drive.
The song stunned supporters of the President and citizens who saw all the socio-economic and political developments bursting forth throughout the nation– modern roads and highways, restoration of electricity and water supplies, the revival of economic, social and political institutions that had collapsed before the President came to power; the resuscitation of the economy, the restart of mining activities and farming and the respect for fundamental human rights –and wondered what Emmerson was chewing when he sang that life yesterday under the SLPP was better than life today under the APC. Emerson was definitely wrong and we in the media wasted no time to take him to task for the divisive and ungrateful song at the risk of being eaten alive by his numerous fans. WE HAVE TO SAY TOO THAT PRESIDENT KOROMA PROVED EMERSON WRONG THROUGH HIS MANIFEST SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS .
Today, Emerson is a proud recepient of Presidential honour and insignia. The President thought he had contributed so well to the cultural development of the country that he deserved national recognition and honour. A man with a clean heart and a right spirit within him, the President forgot about what Emerson had sung against his regime and gave him the award. This is the kind of attitude all Sierra Leoneans should inculcate as we rebuild our country. We must forgive those who transgress against us. We must give the squirrel his bunch of palm nuts if he deserves them , regardless of political affiliation or creed.
President Koroma is really the right man to rule Sierra Leone today . God saw whom our country needed and chose President Koroma as he chose Moses to lead his children out of the land of bondage. Many Sierra Leoneans are in bondage to unforgiveness, bitterness and vindictiveness . The Sierra Leone of today needs President Koroma to come and teach us the opposite and what a difference it would make if we all emulate the President. People will achieve what they strive for and social, political and economic justice will reign throughout the land. Our citizens must get the honors and awards they work for diligently , regardless of political schisms and this is the message President Koroma amplified powerfully and eloquently during the 52nd Independence Anniversary celebrations.