The High Priest of The Church of Koroma
The height of irresponsible journalism was yesterday reached for me when I read the All People's Congress online ragsheet Cocorioko's report about the Sierra Leone People Congress presidential candidate who is currently on a tour of Canada, being refused entry visa into the United States. Everybody knows that Cocorioko has a pecuniary interest in promoting the interest of President Ernest Bai Koroma. The proprietor of the propaganda mouthpiece was rescitated from the position of a refugee classroom teacher and aspiring reverend into a minister plenipotentiary, whatever that means, and is paid thousands of dollars every month out of the sweat of poor Sierra Leone taxpayers, after having for years discarded his citizenship and lived in USA as Liberian refugee, the area of Liberia that Lokos originated from, only God knows. He therefore feels obliged, as he is bound to, to sing the name of president Koroma to the four corners of heaven. But the article in which it is claimed Maada Bio fooled his supporters is not only reprehensible, it is totally and utterly irresponsible.
APCs Migraine Julius Maada Bio
The first problem with the appalling piece was the reference to Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, the SLPP presidential flagbearer as a warlord. This reference may sound appealing to some very lame APC supporters who think that anything you say against an opposition Sierra Leone candidate is right, as the greatest crime crime in the world is challenging the incumbency of their messiah president Ernest Bai Koroma, even though they are fully aware or should be, that the only way a multiparty democracy can survive is by other parties challenging the leadership of the country on a constitutionally mandated periodical basis. Maada Bio is a demon today only because he decided to keep multiparty democracy alive by challenging the incumbency of the messianic Koroma. The term warlord as is popularly used today conjures the image of the head of a militia or some ragtag rebel outfit that was either supporting or opposing the governmental authority in a country, and Maada Bio was never any of these. Like it or not Julius Maada Bio is amongst the group of young men in any country who decide to put service to their country before their own personal ambitions by enlisting straight into the military from high school and forgoing early college enrollment. A lot of young men and women with very good secondary school results see the military as a path to service and intellectual development.
In many advanced and some developing countries there are military colleges where cadets graduate with both military and academic credentials, the most famous of which are West Point in the USA and Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. Some of us are praying for the day when Benguema in Sierra Leone, the premier military officer training school in the country will be transformed into a full scale military academy teaching technical skills, science and arts and having men and women pass out as officers at the same time with academic degrees which they may use anytime they wish to go back to civilian life. Men like Julius Bio who went to Benguema in those days, brilliant though they were, had to sacrifice academic credentials at the time for military credentials. After leaving Benguema as an officer, the war started and young officers like Julius Bio, Karifa Kargbo, Valentine Strasser, Tom Nyuma, Prince Ben-Hirsch, Johnny Kallon, the Marahs, Keitas, Kamaras, Tarawallies and hundreds of other young men were thrown in the midst of a rebel war brought on by years of APC misrule, greed, nepotism and sheer incompetence.
Benguema Sierra Leone
These young men gave their all for their country and hundreds gave their lives, the ultimate sacrifice. Even today there are thousands of officers and men in Freetown with horrible physical and emotional scars from a war fought on behalf of the agents of greed. The Maada Bio I know, who was a few years ahead of me in Bo School, was always a career government soldier. He was never a rebel and never joined any militia. He not only participated in freeing Sierra Leone from the disastrous one party rule of Joseph Saidu Momoh's kleptocracy, but was ultimately intrumental in ensuring that there was no military intransigence in handing power back to a democratically elected civilian government in 1996. So for some nonentity with no military pedigree or history of service to his country, whose position was only obtained on the basis of sycophancy to label Maada Bio a warlord, represents such a pinnacle of irresponsible journalism, that even the loquacious fire-starter Blyden, will find difficulty in equalling.
Cocorioko doing what they know best
We all agree that gratitude is a virtue, but gratitude should be tempered with some element of responsible sanity. We know that the destinies of some of these guys are pegged to the the happiness and sadness of Ernest Koroma, but nobody should feel compelled to be put in a situation where you just have to go about singing praises unless you are a "jayliba" or griot, and unless I am mistaken those guys from Cocorioko do not come from families of griots, unless they have become situational griots! Of course I read Cocorioko because I want to know whether my president is happy, sad or angry on a daily basis and what his wife was doing last week and the Coco guys give me that picture from an embellished view point on a daily basis, but who am I to complain. But this Koroma Personality complex should not transform into demolishing each and every Sierra Leonean that disagrees with him or wants to challenge his leadership style, as no more will Sierra Leoneans allow any one person or party to determine the absolute fate of our country in perpetuity.
Cocorioko is like a friendly neighbor with Alzheimer's dementia who says one thing today and says the exact opposite the next day. Last year they said Alhaji Usu Boie Kamara was a diamond thief, but now he is feted as a national repentant hero. Nyuma was an irresponsible tyrant, today he is the only intelligent man from Kailahun district. John Leigh used to be an unreasonable old goat, today he is the wise man of Sierra Leone politics. These guys can keep fluctuating like a candle in the wind, but to call a career military officer like Bio a warlord is an insult not only to Bio, but to the thousands of men and women in the Sierra Leone military that went through the same military process he went through. On Bio's promotion to brigadier, any student of military history knows about the rationale for wartime promotions and I will leave others to do the research. I can only say that Dwight Eisenhower was promoted from a Lietenant Colonel in 1936 to a 5 Star General by 1945 and that this is such a common practice in wartime that those who do not know about it need to do some serious reading.
And those clamoring and making representations for Maada Bio to be prevented from entering USA are doing nothing new, they did the same thing to John Benjamin, Komba Mondeh and other ex-NPRC leaders. In America, allegations are investigated when they are made and if that is what has been done he will ultimately be allowed to enter, as Idriss Kamara and others are here peacefully and are not being harassed because they did not decide to challenge President Koroma. The thing is that a lot of the NPRC now APCs will also be subject to whatever allegation is made against Bio. It is a classic case of cutting your nose to spite your face. As I keep saying, if APC is really serious about rescitating the case of Bambay, Valentine Strasser who was president at the time is right there in Freetown.
Samuel Kanyon Doe once Mr. Kanu's president
Some of these fellows want us to believe Maada Bio is not s true Sierra Leone patriot. One man has served his country at peace and at war and is a citizen of only one country Sierra Leone. The other man has never done any honest work for Sierra Leone and is a citizen of three countries, Sierra Leone, USA and Liberia. My people, who is the rel patriot?