By Farla Barbu.
The All People’s Congress (APC) party ex-President Joseph Saidu Momoh who preceded ex-President Ernest Bai Koroma in his wisdom before being kicked out of power apologized to the people of Sierra Leone that he had failed the nation and as a result disappointed them and therefore asked for forgiveness. Ex-President Momoh came to power on a silver platter with very little or no sweat or pain. He was fork lifted from the military by ex-President Siaka Stevens among several favorite civilian politicians of the day to succeed him. (Just as ex-President Koroma did for Samura Kamara for the 2018 elections). Siaka Stevens’ choice of Momoh was believed to have been informed by the premise that he (Stevens) wanted to have a successor who could protect his personal life and interest after retirement from any future prosecution or persecution. He did not believe any of the civilian colleague politicians to provide that cover for him.
Once in power the late President Momoh took to indulging in good times, unmindful of national interest and development. Because of his passion for the good life he was portrayed to that of a cow that does not know its strength and power as to allow a little boy to carry him by the rope. The late man was no longer in charge of the affairs of the state but instead had especially the security apparatus to dictate the course of governance. In the end the state of Sierra Leone collapsed like a house of cards and brought down to its knees. In one of those infrequent moments in the history especially of African leaders, the late President Momoh in a national broadcast confessed that he had failed the nation and people and therefore asked for forgiveness.
Sin to be forgiven must be confessed. President Momoh confessed his sin and was forgiven by the people. Ex-President Koroma therefore must swallow his pride and also follow suit. Ex-President Koroma is rated generally as the worst President that has ever happened to the people of Sierra Leone with far more sin than that of Momoh.
The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) government of His Excellency Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio is today going through very difficult and trying times as a result of a rotten legacy left behind by Koroma. Ex-President Ernest Bai Koroma’s ruling passion was to divide and rule the people of this country strictly on tribal, regional and ethnic basis which he did unrelentingly. If Ex-President Momoh was restrained in dividing and ruling this country on tribal line, ex-president Koroma knew no bounds in ensuring that he had empowered his Northern Province brothers, sisters, relatives, friends and the APC partisans economically, socially and financial at the suffering of the south-easterners.
Employment and promotions in the civil service, military, police, diplomatic missions; awards of scholarship, government grant-in-aid, national honors among a host of others remained the domain of the northerners. South-easterners were sacked en masse from the civil service without pay and replaced by their northern compatriots. Under the ex-president some northerners in authority refused to work with south-easterners because they were SLPP supporters and Mendes; they had the guts to say such unsavoury things to their faces.
Ex- President Koroma was not a national leader but rather a tribal chief to the core. It once occurred that a south-easterner was appointed by the Pope in Rome to be the Archbishop of the Northern Diocese of the Catholic Church in Makeni. The northerners took offence and went on the rampage over turning vehicles and burning car tires in protest against the south-easterner’s appointment. In the end they preferred an Italian Archbishop in their midst. In all the unpatriotic and deliberate act of tribalism by the northerners, the ex-president as national leader and fountain of honour did not raise a voice. In one of their party meetings in 2007, one Coachie Mansaray while declaring for the APC party referred to the Mendes as stupid people. Ex-President Koroma could be seen with a broad glee on his face beaming with satisfaction and peace.
The ex-President’s social, economic and financial direction was dovetailed to enrich and empower exclusively the Northerners. For ten years on end Northerners controlled the economy of the state and are today the richest among the people. His people were sacred cows who were paid with higher offices the more they indulged in corrupt practices from one office to the other. For almost every national development project the ex-president ensured that Northern province especially Bombali district his home, was also a priority at the poverty of other parts of the country especially in the south-east. “The economy of the country is the worst since independence,” cried out President Bio at the enormous mess of the economy that his government inherited.
It is unfortunate and shameful that the very former APC party government officials, partisans, supporters and their cohorts are now accusing the Bio government of those very things that President Koroma had introduced into the governance of Sierra Leone. Who are they to teach the SLPP government morality and conduct in governance? What moral and decency had they when they were in power? And who are those so-called civil society organizations who only now are preaching ivory tower rhetoric about unity when for ten years ex- President Koroma had settled on the premise of dividing and ruling the people? Where they were and what did they do to stop him? So the south-easterners should continue to suffer while the northerners remain in power and influence in every government if only to conjure up national peace?
The Bio government is less than 100 days in office and the laurels that APC party government did not achieve in ten years is what they expect our government to achieve in few days’ time. What a blatant hypocrisy!
Let us all stop the hypocrisy of purpose and call white as white, black as black. The effort could begin with ex-president Ernest Bai Koroma first apologizing to the people for dividing and ruling the country on tribal, regional and ethnic line. That sin of the ex-president is responsible for all the troubles of Sierra Leone today.