Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Sierra Leone Inauguration and Much Ado about Nothing

President Julius Maada Bio 
The Sierra Leone Inauguration went on as planned, on Saturday May 12th 2018. Surrounded by regional leaders, visiting dignitaries and a stadium filled beyond capacity with the people of Sierra Leone, President Julius Maada Bio was inaugurated as the leader of Sierra Leone for the next five years. Though the President had organized the cheapest inauguration in the modern history of Sierra Leone, it was still an amazing spectacle.

However, the inauguration did not however proceed without some significant hiccups and some deliberate hanky panky.  On the day before the inauguration, fire mysteriously broke out at the Presidential Pavilion at Lungi International Airport where foreign leaders and dignitaries were to be received. It was blamed on a Plasma TV and faulty wiring, but many Sierra Leoneans saw it as a deliberate act of sabotage tactically intended to embarrass the new leader in front of his visiting dignitaries.

Tragically on the day of the inauguration, security lapses around the stadium led to a stampede by people to enter and witness the spectacle, leading to the loss of lives and some people sustaining serious and minor injuries. So it was a bitter sweet day.
Passing the Torch 

However, for opposition APC detractors of the new President, the main complaint now in the country and on social media is that the ex-president, Chairman and Leader for Life of the All Peoples Congress,  Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma was not given a chance to make a public handing over statement on the day of the inauguration.

APC members ,who have suddenly found their voices after ten years of obedient compliance, are now all over social media lamenting the travesty of not allowing EBK, their hero to speak at the inauguration of President Julius Maada Bio.
A New President 

Silvia Olayinka Blyden, the fired ex-Social Welfare Minister under President Koroma and the new "Pied Piper of APC," went on TV claiming that she had personally helped the ex-president draft a statement for the inauguration, editing it to reduce the number of pages, and helped him embellish his main achievements. She lamented that the Ex-President Koroma not being allowed to read his more than 20 page speech at the inauguration of President Julius Maada Bio was a travesty.

I think all the furore about EBK not being allowed to speak at Maada Bio's inauguration is simply misguided and much ado about nothing. It is simply making a mountain out of a molehill. Most of the complaints are misleading at best.

An inauguration is about the new President and his message to the People. It is his vision about the future, the problem he wants to tackle, the actions he intends to take to solve these problems and the outcomes he intends to see. During the inauguration, the new President basically lays out a roadmap for the next five years, as is the case of Sierra Leone.

If the ex-president has a speech he wants to make at the end of his presidency, he can print the speech for dissemination or arrange another program with the President to do so and not on the day of the inauguration.

I think Maada Bio and Ernest Koroma have always behaved to each other like gentlemen, in spite of the Al Qaeda mentality of some of their most ardent supporters. But imagine where two candidates have a very bad election and one wins and gives the other  the platform to talk at the inauguration. What if the defeated candidate uses the opportunity to further divide the country?

I listened to the first public interview of Ex-President Robert Mugabe and wondered what would have happened if he had been allowed to give a speech at the inauguration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

An inauguration is about the new President, the celebration of his victory and the future of the country. Ernest Bai Koroma had ten years to give speeches and the people of Sierra Leone had ten years to listen to his speeches and decide that this time they were following a new direction. If the Ex-President wants to tell the people of Sierra Leone about his many successes, he can write a book for the historical record. For now Sylvia Blyden and all other agitators need to find something to do or help make the country better. Sierra Leone is for all whether you are with "One People" or "Tolongbo."
They even complain about
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