Sierra Leoneans express disappointment at cancellation of trip of U.S. Foreign Secretary Anthony Blinken, as the nation edges towards chaos


The air in Sierra Leone is pregnant with  fear and apprehension about impending chaos as some citizens are  calling  for a civil revolt against the Maada Bio Sierra Leone’s People’s Party ( SLPP ) government in protest against the escalating hardship in the country and the treatment of former President Ernest Koroma, while serving and retired soldiers are said to be planning to stage a massive demonstration against Bio and his government.

It was in this fear-charged  atmosphere that Sierra Leoneans , through a leaked memo apparently from State House , learnt with joy and high expectations yesterday that the United States had gone beyond mere engagements between the U.S. ambassadors and political actors as well as the travel ban and hold to the Millennium Challenge Corporation ( MCC ) U.S. $500 million grant and are directly sending Secretary Of State Anthony Blinken to the polarized nation on Tuesday January 23, 2024.

Given America’s very proactive engagement with Bio’s government ,opposition and civil society to restore peace, tranquility,  sanity and democracy in the country , Sierra Leoneans rejoiced yesterday on social media that the visit of the U.S. Secretary of State would inject more seriousness into  the peace efforts of the U.S, other international partners, the UN , European Union ( EU) and the regional organization, the Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS ) , who want to remove former President Koroma from the unstable country to help defuse the tension.

There was actually no official news from the U.S that the Secretary of State was heading for Freetown but a leaked memo from State House in which a Permanent Secretary was requesting a  landing permit from the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority for the military aircraft bearing the Secretary of  State to Freetown , fueled high expectations that Mr. Blinken was indeed coming to the country.

But this morning, the Public Affairs Department of the U.S. Embassy announced that Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, will not be coming to Sierra Leone.  The information was met with bitter disappointment from Sierra Leoneans in the social media who openly expressed their frustration. Some of them opined that it was a snub, probably in response to the leaked memo, which compromised the safety of the Secretary of State.  “We actually wanted the U.S Foreign Minister to come and talk sense to President Bio, who is busy destabilizing the country with his repressive and junta-styled leadership and subterranean attempts to undermine the Tripartite inter-party Dialogue, which would come out with recommendations that Bio would likely reject, said Abdulai Kamara in the Cocorioko Forum. ”

However, though Blinken is no longer coming, U.S Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas – Greenfield , will rather make the trip to Sierra Leone after attending the inauguration of President Joseph Boakai in neighboring Liberia on Monday January 22, 2024.

Sierra Leone should however note that though the visit of the UN Ambassador does not carry the same weight as the Secretary of State’s, Mrs. Thomas – Greenfield ‘s also represents a significant development after UN Security Council last week held a session on the security situation in West Africa and the Sahel, during which the problems in Sierra Leone were flagged.

It shows that the U.S. has expedited its involvement in efforts to restore peace and democracy in Sierra Leone.


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