SLPP SECRETARY GENERAL BANJA TEJAN-SIE
They are all outstanding diplomats who performed magnificent jobs in their respective assignments in Liberia. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who has just won a disputed watershed elections, would have needed the influence, experience and expertise of these two diplomats at a crunch time when the country seeks to consolidate national reconciliation , national development and sustainable peace and stability. The UN and the U.S . Government were cognisant of these facts, but recalled them anyway . There has been no complaints from any section of Liberian society, but in Sierra Leone where everything is politicized and polarised around SLPP/APC and tribal and regional lines, the recall of the ERSG, Mr. Michael Von Schulenberg is causing the opposition to spit feathers in ire. COCORIOKO can see the anger boiling in the SLPP from all the comments of their fanatics in newspapers and online forums. Why so ?
Even the international community will soon run out of patience with some of our Sierra Leonean politicians over these frequent baseless and childish complaints caused by unnecessary suspicions, distrust, implacability , fastidiousness and rebellion against constituted authority . The perception should not be created to the international world that some of our politicians are not serious and their mentally fitness is questionable, with some of them needing psychological counseling. When any rational person listens to people like Maada Bio, John Benjamin, Kadi Sesay , Suliman Banja Tejan-Sie and the most mentally-challenged old man among them, Sama Banya , the perception is that they are mere troublemakers who have set their minds on not cooperating with the government because they are not in power.
It is the opinion of COCORIOKO that If the opposition is not careful, Sierra Leoneans and the international community will start treating them like the shepherd who constantly cried wolf when there was no wolf . Each time, he did, townsfolk came scrambling to help , only to learn each time, to their dismay, chagrin, disappointment and anger, that the shepherd was just lying and was doing it just to satiate deeply-entrenched cowardice and other eccentricities . The shepherd paid the price the day the wolf actually appeared. He cried out desperately for help but nobody came to his rescue. It is coming to a time when nobody will take the SLPP serious and all that the international community would do is to begin preparing places for them at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, in case they actualize their plans to unleash terror and chaos during the elections.
COCORIOKO believes there is no ryme or reason for the disjointed public statement made by Suliman Banja Tejan-Sie which made no sense whatsoever. The United Nations itself had made it very clear that Mr. Schulenberg was recalled by them. No less a person than New York -based journalist Dennis Kabato, who is not aligned with any political party and is an independent media man , revealed this in his report to the CRITIQUE ECHO Newspaper titled : It’s the UN that recalled Head of peacebuilding Mission in Sierra Leone . See : http://www.critiqueecho.com/its-un-that-recalled-head-of-peace-building-mission-in-sierra-leone/. The UN made this clear in a statement released by the Spokesman to the Secretary General from which Kabatto based his story.
The UN reserves the right to recall their diplomats when required . If the UN decides that it is time to withdraw their ERSGs in Sierra Leone and Liberia, it is their prerogative. The SLPP should trust the UN to make the right decisions compliant with its goals and aspirations. Equally so, the UN must be trusted to replace these diplomats with even more competent and suitable personnel. The UN has never found itself short of competent replacements for diplomats they recall.
It sounded weird to hear Suliman Banja Tejan-Sie, the SLPP Secretary -General , say in his misconceived press statement : “The withdrawal of Mr. Michael Schulenburg from Sierra Leone at this time in our country’s history gives us cause for concern. ” Concern over what ? Why should these people always see a demon behind every bush ? The reason propounded for this so-called concern is puerile and ill-conceived . We quote him : “We will be facing elections in November of this year, the third of such elections since the end of the war in Sierra Leone. The UN has been an active player, if not the leading player in the socio-economic recovery of Sierra Leone since the end of the war. One vital element of that recovery process was the conduct of free, fair and credible elections. The coming elections are a vital watershed and will serve as a barometer for the consolidation of peace and the sustenance of democracy in Sierra Leone. We hope the withdrawal of the ERSG Representative may not negatively impact on the performance of the UN as an arbiter of the forthcoming elections.”
Is Tejan-Sie doubting the ability and capacity of the UN to send a capable replacement to Sierra Leone , somebody who is mettle-tested and fully equipped intellectually and professionally to handle the intricacies of the explosive political situation in Sierra Leone ? . The statement seems to be pre-empting the ability of the UN to do so. The SLPP is so desperate for power that it does not trust anybody to do the right . Now they have extended this distrust to the UN and the international community. Unless the SLPP was thinking of using Mr.Schulenberg for something that we the people of Sierra Leone , the UN and the international community do not know, the UN must be trusted to send a replacement who will equally live up to the expectations of the SLPP , the ruling government and the generality of Sierra Leoneans .
The interesting thing about this storm being created in a teacup by the SLPP is that contrary to the innuendoes and insinuations of SLPP operatives in newspaper articles the Government of Sierra Leone also enjoyed excellent relations with Mr. Schulenberg. A Government statement on the insinuations that government declared Schulenberg persona non-grata by certain ill-disposed persons did say : “Let it however be noted that the Government of Sierra Leone has been having a very cordial and fruitful relationship with Mr. Schulenburg, perhaps most notably in his contribution to the transformation of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, the setting up of resource centres through the Ministry of Information & Communications, and in the inter-party peace-building deliberations that led to the signing of a joint communiqué by political parties.”
Everybody will miss Mr. Schulenberg because he was a very good diplomat and acquitted himself well. We on this newspaper also trusted his integrity, like the government . So why all the showboating about his recall when it was inevitable because diplomats do get routinely recalled ?
The SLPP’s biggest problem , as Sierra Leoneans have always said, is that they do not believe in winning anything , even elections, by democratic and right means. When their hopes are not hitched on tribalism , rigging, over-voting , violence, terror and military coups , they are built on misplaced and misperceived alliances with members of the international community who they wrongly think would help them use methods other than the ballot box to effect regime change in Sierra Leone and bring them back to power.
The SLPP have demonstrated once again that they do not trust the ballot box to give them the victory they are busy predicting for themselves. When the SLPP talk of returning to power at sharp 12 in 2012, they are not thinking of winning the elections by beating the ruling All People’s Congress ( APC ) at the polls. They are thinking of gaining undue favours from the international community or winning through mayhem, violence and brutality as was done recently in the Fourah Bay Bye-elections. Any party that trusts in its popularity with the people and its ability to win elections clearly at the polls will not be so fretful over everything like the recall of a diplomat.
Manchester United and Barcelona trust so much in their performance on the pitch and their ability to overcome opponents that they do not complain about referees before the game . Bring Chris Foy, Mark Halsey, Paul Dawd or what-have-you, they will not complain because they trust in their abilities to win . It is only a bad workman that complains about his tools and other minor conditions.
The SLPP have to trust in themselves, the government, the UN, the international community and the democratic process. Nobody is planning to cheat them at the polls. President Ernest Koroma has given the nation and the international community full assurances that the elections will be free and fair.
The impression being given by the SLPP is that they do not trust in their ability to win the forthcoming elections. All the yapping they are involved in is just Dutch courage.