With George S. Khoryama
His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma in his power and wisdom has continued to appoint a retinue of Presidential Aides for various functions in his government although some of them have their terms of references running into one another’s. He is on record for having created the most offices in government as compared to his predecessors if only to satisfy his family/tribal members, friends, party loyalists. To say that most members and supporters of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) admire His Excellency the President greatly for his commitment to his own people is to say the least. The SLPP once in power has not been as helpful and committed to its own people as does the ruling All People’s Party (APC) under President Koroma. The ex-President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah’s government for example, estranged many party supporters and members in favour of outsiders. In his maiden victory address to the nation in 2002, he declared that his government was as a matter of fact not an SLPP government, not even for the fact that it was the party that made him; and true to purpose the composition of his government featured more outsiders than insiders. The cracks he created in the party are today still tearing it apart.
DIET OF PRAISES
Some of President Koroma’s Aides include Government’s Spokesmen in the Ministry of Information and Communications including the Minister himself and his deputy, Director(s) of Communications in the Office of the President, Special Executive Assistant (SEA) to the President State House, a number of media houses including the ruling All People’s Party (APC) mouthpiece We Yone newspaper, On Line publications (Cocorioco), the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) among many more. These men and women manning those offices are in no mean ways occupied by the task of singing endless diets of praises for the President. They extol him of his wisdom, magnanimity, statesmanship, foresight, benevolence, uprightness, dignity among colleagues, excellence in steering the ship of state; he is the world’s best. In their praises they are very resentful to the views of the public. They even go overboard by reckoning that President Koroma is the best President Sierra Leone has ever elected to State House, who has brought unprecedented development in the country.
Featuring albeit notoriously among the Presidential Aides however is the Special Executive Assistant (SEA) to the President – Sylvia Blyden. Even the sensation of the name in the mouth is unpleasant to most people in Sierra Leone today. She is arrogant, vain and must have been a spoil child from birth. She is over ambitious, irrational and almost a psychotic woman endowed with pathological penchant for lying and hate for Brigadier Julius Maada Bio and the Sierra Leone People’s Party. Why any President could encourage such a cold-hearted, placid, contemptible miscreant at State House is a wonder.
Because of the oddity of this strange woman among the Presidential Aides particularly, and because of some of the misleading perception these aides extol generally, there is every need for His Excellency President Koroma to appoint another Aide to his office. The late Emperor Haile Salassie of Ethiopia, at the peak of his power, appointed in his government the Minister of Pen. The responsibility of the minister was to always be ready to take down order or instructions; to record appointments and dismissals. It is recorded that he walked by the emperor’s side a few steps behind him always. As for Napoleon Bonaparte he appointed an aide with a very simple but important task: to remind him (Bonaparte) that one day he will die.
President Koroma needs to appoint an Aide whose responsibility will be to tell Mr. President that not all is as rosy in the country as represented by the other Aides; that most people are today eking out a precarious day-to-day existence most times with no idea where their daily bread would come from; that in the words of SLPP Member of Parliament representing Constituency 75 in Bo district, Honourable Helen Kuyembeh “President Koroma must be a unifying father in the country”; that as Chief Executive, President Koroma “should reach out to all aggrieved communities and reconcile with friends; that the country is more divided than ever before on tribal, regional and political lines; that south-easterners are so aggrieved that they perceive the APC and its leader President Koroma as enemies, that the sharp divisions have been exploited by dishonest politicians for their selfish ends.”
The Aide-to-be will remind His Excellency the President that a government that plays tricks with its own principles and policies is bound to fail; that the President is surrounded by sycophants and opportunists who construe their selfishness and personal gains as a mark of patriotism; that these sycophants in order to keep their jobs and continue to feed fat on the taxpayers money tell His Excellency the President only those things that he would like to hear thereby deceiving him; that His Excellency the President’s real enemies are no other than those close to the proximity of power who are not telling him the truth. Therefore, he should begin to surround himself with people who have had a past and could be reliable guides for now and the future.
The Aide’s-to-be mission will be to remind His Excellency the President that governments like his have always come and gone and the nation and people have remained. The President in power therefore, should serve the people without malice and/or vengeance; that the President is on oath to serve as Father of the nation and not a tribal/regional chief; that the President must leave a legacy that would positively touch on the lives of the people without discrimination.
The new Aide-to-be must from time to time remind His Excellency the President about the fates that awaited his predecessors and most of their powerful officials of government at the end of their times. The consequences of their imprudent leadership styles and policies were such sad spectacles that disgraced themselves individually, families and the nation generally. Could President Koroma afford the consequences of such a sad end? NO.
The task of the new Aide-to-be will not be an easy effort because leaders naturally do not take kindly people who chance the opportunity, damn the consequences and tell their masters the truth. Leaders naturally prefer praise singers, sycophants, opportunists and liars as their guides at the expense of well-meaning people. The new man at State House will be considered a threat by the other aides whose stock in politics is to feed the President with diets of misleading information and praises; and until and unless the President protects the new Aide, he may be damned.
But come to face the hard reality, His Excellency the President needs to consider this new position with a degree of national interest and fervor. The new post has the potential to instill confidence in the people about his government; gives weight to the President’s recent declared commitment to consultation and collective responsibility. We wish him well.