Salone News

Let President Bio fly

31 July 2019 at 17:49 | 1999 views

Let President Bio Fly
By Sheikh M. Bawoh, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Nowadays, both the traditional and the emerging media are inundated with articles of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio’s ‘frequent’ travels outside of the country.

For the opposition supporters particularly the APC, monitoring/counting/taking note of the President’s foreign trips has suddenly become a pastime and to a very large extent, it is now a new sphere of propaganda.

But what would you expect from supporters of a political party which has never lost power while in governance? Desperation! And as we know it, they are still licking their wounds after that 2018 election defeat which was won by Julius Maada Bio, the man they love to hate.

If those accusing President Julius Maada Bio of flying frequently are using his predecessor, former President Ernest Bai Koroma’s travel frequency as a bench mark to judge him, then they are missing the point.

The former APC Honourable Member of Parliament from Bombali was largely an unknown quantity when he became President. On the other hand, the Retired Brigadier assumed the Presidency on a pleasant wave of trust/goodwill and profound memory both nationally and internationally. He promised the world in 1996 that he would return the country to a multi-party democracy and he delivered on that promise.

In other words, by the time they both became President, Ernest Bai Koroma and Julius Maada Bio were not on the same wavelength. While President Koroma’s pedigree at the time of his election was the seventeen staff members he managed in his less than a decade as Managing Director of RITCORP, President Bio on the other hand had his name already written on the sands of time as one of those African military leaders who ushered in democratic governance in their countries, relinquished power and then returned to contest for the Presidency. Two different personalities they were and still are.

And because they are different personalities, different opportunities and platforms were opened to them on assuming political power. Due to the unknown nature of his personality, the world dealt with President Koroma mostly based on his promised anti-corruption crusade as well as his avowed promise of ‘running the country as a business’.

Unfortunately, however for us as citizens of Sierra Leone, in less than a year, the world saw through our President, a man who would not keep to his promise of fighting corruption or running the country as a business as evident in his fiscal imprudence throughout his rein.

Because he reneged on those promises, particularly the fight against corruption, President Koroma lost respect on the world stage- his travel frequency was subsequently cut down drastically because some leaders/organizations refused to share the same platform with him.

President Bio may not have waved the magic wand which his political opponents are pointing at, but suffice to say that in little over a year in to his five year term, he commands more respect internationally than his predecessor. His initial steps as President are enough to prove he lives by his words. That President Bio could still share various prestigious platforms with respectable leaders in addition to his continuous invitation to deliver lectures around the world is a testament to the fact that he is still widely respected.

Therefore the reason why President Julius Maada Bio is traveling around the world ‘frequently’ is simple. He is in high demand-the world sees him as a trusted leader who is determined to change the narrative of his war-ravaged country. If the NGC Presidential candidate, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella had won the Presidency, he no doubt, would have travelled far more than President Bio because he carries more clout internationally. That former President Ernest Bai Koroma did not travel so frequently during his ten years in power only lends credence to the old adage, ‘boiled seed does not sprout’.

Therefore, let President Bio fly, as long as flying brings the needed recognition and help the country needs. So let him be!

Let President Bio fly as long as the world platform is widely opened and available to him and as long as most costs involved in those travels are borne out by the host countries and organizations, let him fly.

When and if ever an APC President is in power, let him be caged, because some travels are not meant for leaders who cannot derive or have nothing good to offer internationally.