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Abass Bundu is no Victim

Suhood Komeh (pictured),
London, UK.

If indeed the person filmed is the speaker of Parliament of Sierra Leone Dr Abass Bundu, then he must resign. If he doesn’t, his colleagues in the SLPP owe it to the country to ask him to step down. And of course, members of the opposition, APC, NGC, C4C and others, have a responsibility too. They must demand the speaker’s resignation to enhance the sovereignty and integrity of parliament.

If it is him, no way is Bundu a victim here, but revealing himself, literally, in the most grosteque way that he’s an abuser of power. Without regard for who he is, he’s been carelessly comfortable in a (possible extramarital) relationship built on who he is, political stalwart and Speaker of Parliament.

Abass Bundu has been in public service from as early as 1975. He served in Siaka Stevens’ APC government as Minister of Agriculture in 1982. He’s been Minister of Education and has held high positions in regional politics too, as an ECOWAS Secretary. He ought to know better, much better.
He cannot continuously use his position and role in the creation of policies that have perpetuated poverty in Sierra Leone to make breathing rag-dolls out of young women and not expect to be found out someday.

Whether it’s a set up is completely irrelevant, and not mutually exclusive from a typical woman’s experience in Sierra Leone. To be able to get a young woman to play the role of sex toy and mole, recording trysts for the benefit of an opposition or even enemies within a party, is to exploit her lack of opportunity and poverty as result of failed governance in the country, of which Bundu has been a part of for the last 36 years.

Needless to say this filmed-behaviour is not an aberration but the norm in Sierra Leonean public life. Men in Sierra Leone have, over the years ensured that abusing power for sexual conquest is fully embedded in the cultural fabric. Even the most qualified women, who sometimes possess far more superior intellectual acumen, cannot get ahead without being slept with by dinosaurs like Bundu. So it’s no wonder, this reductive culture has an all round spirited support from men, for obvious reasons - they benefit from this power dynamics - and women who are fully sold to patriarchy as socially African.

However, for the last six months we are constantly being reminded that we are on a new path. Well, here is an opportunity to make a profound statement that to hold elected/public office must come with responsibility, personal and obligatory to the public.

If this film is proved to be authentic, Abass Bundu has to go. And in such circumstances, removing him can do no harm but bolster the SLPP mantra of ‘New Direction’, and provide sceptics with some food for thought.

What incredible timing. After debating and winning the argument for an inquiry into corruption that has overwhelming support from the public, a man who is every bit a part of the decadence of yesterday is quite possibly caught, literally, pants-down - well, stark naked!

The onus therefore is firmly with the SLPP to prove their seriousness for change by investigating to replace Bundu if found guilty, or exonerate him if the video is found to be libellous; a defamation of character.

Bundu himself has a responsibility here. He must come forward and address the video, fully. Much is expected of him. A speaker of parliament is not some schoolboy victim of an ill-conceived revenge porn.

Two integral qualities in a democratic moderator is swiftness of mind and exceptional judgement. Judging by his and the party’s silence on a very scandalous case, he may have fallen woefully short, who knows? But the point is this. If found wanting, there can be no sympathy for Dr Abass Bundu at party, or national level. No!

Come on, SLPP, show us you are made of sterner stuff.

NB: And for all you men, insisting on ‘invasion of privacy’ to support Bundu. Reminder: this is 2018, and there’s are phrase catching global imagination, Time’s Up!