By George S. Khoryama.
The spate of violence, tribalism, regionalism and ethnicity did not begin with the March 7, 2018 elections. It became and had remained the trade mark of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s policy of governance from 2007 when he took State House. In the course of the 2007 presidential and general elections, this is what President Koroma had to say: “There is no way we (All People’s Congress party) will accept Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) victory. We will protest and we intend to protest violently. Nothing will stop us from protesting violently except an announcement that the APC party has won the election. If we don’t get this result it means the election was rigged and we are going to cause havoc in the country.”
That declaration made by President Koroma had laid the groundwork for what has today become a Frankenstein Monster that is almost driving our peaceful country to the precipice of national disintegration. For fear of another war in a country that had just survived a bloody civil war at the time, President Koroma by that declaration bullied the international community in consultation with that infamous former Chief National Electoral Commissioner, Christiana Thorpe into submission as to declare him the winner although he did not win the election.
Following that declaration in 2007 he dispatched the APC thugs who descended on the SLPP party headquarters and vandalized it massively. In the aftermath he lavishly praised his thugs for what he called “a job well done.” Worst still APC supporters and thugs celebrated his so-called 2007 victory with yet another destruction of the SLPP headquarters this time in full view of the police. The SLPP women supporters were in the process raped, insulted and beaten up. Some of the police officers were seen dancing openly in uniform.
RAPE OF WOMEN
In the wake of those destructions and as a smokescreen to impress the international community that justice was dispensed, President Koroma appointed a commission headed by lawyer Shears Moses to investigate the destruction of the party headquarters and rape of the women. The commission’s recommendation to have the culprits punished was never honoured; instead President Koroma appointed the very culprits to high positions of public trust as compensation.
Since then violence, lawlessness, indiscipline and injustices have continued to make this country a screwball kind of place to live in. The object of police arrest, beating, detention and incrimination had remained supporters of the SLPP; for ten years on end no APC party supporter/thug had been arrested, detained or charged to court.
President Koroma by standard of statesmanship had never been a national leader but instead a tribal/regional chief. His ruling passion had remained to divide the country between North-West and South-East with the former constituting about 90 percent of all government appointments in the civil service, police and military, Foreign Service, government grants for studies both at home and abroad, parastatals, etc. Every government office today in the country is under the remit of the Kanus, Koromas, Kargbos, Contehs, Banguras, Alusines, Samuras, Sankohs and other names that belong to the north, the president’s home.
South-easterners had been kicked out of their offices to make way for northerners and westerners, qualified or not; some had been sent on premature retirement. About 90 percent of national development quotas for infrastructure, health, electricity, education, agriculture, pipe-borne water, sanitation, development projects among others had been dovetailed to fit the needs of the President Koroma’s northern family members, brothers and sisters, friends and relatives.
50 YEARS IN POWER
President Koroma had misled his APC party officials, members, supporters, northern brothers and sisters and friends into believing that, the APC party will remain in power for 50 years; his former Minister of Information Mohamed Bangura and recently their presidential candidate Samura Kamara had re-echoed the same unrealistic sentiment.
These APC party officials, members, supporters, family members, friends and relatives are now apoplectic with indignation and rage that, the very power that they were going to maintain for 50 years is about to shame them, hence the spate of violence that they have unleashed on peaceful citizens and foreigners alike. They had interpreted their 50 years tenure in power as to suggest that Sierra Leone is their property because they have the money, influence and power hence their desperation to hold on to power even if it means the collapse of the nation.
A proverb says “show me your leader and I will tell you what united or divided country and people you are.” President Koroma has never been a national leader. He came to power on the platter of violence, tribalism, ethnicity and regionalism which is a legacy he is about to leave behind. But by the grace of God Sierra Leone will survive after him. Sierra Leone is bigger than any one tribe or region.