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Maada Bio Misses Another Penalty on Independence Day

By Abdul Suhood Komeh,

London, UK.

All Maada Bio had to do was show a touch of class, a sprinkle of leadership. For just one day. How hard can that possibly be?

The decision to not personally invite his predecessor, Ernest Koroma, to the state’s celebrations of Independence, is childish and divisive. And above all, beneath the Office of President, as faulty as it maybe.

Independence Day is not an accidental affair, but a key date in the memory of every citizen. Especially this one, the 60th. The government had enough time to prepare.

It’s ludicrous that they eschewed reason and chose not to invite the foremost citizen alive. To a national occasion for which timely invitations were dispatched abroad, to foreign heads and dignitaries.

As good or bad as people are individually entitled to appraise the country. We are better than the representation the Bio administration has shown on this occasion. They must be called out by all reasonable citizens.

Bio asking his Foreign Minister, instead of his office, to invite an immediate former president, just hours before an event that is inherently internal and national, demonstrates a shameful lack of understanding of responsibility and protocol; a reckless abuse of executive and ministerial function. Even worse, via phone call?

Regardless of whether the Foreign Minister owes her job to Bio’s discretion or not. That she lacked the wherewithal to remind the president, that her purview is mainly external, as indicated by her title, ‘Foreign Minister’, just goes to show that most Ministries in Sierra Leone are a pointless waste of time and money.

For example, what purpose is a Minister of Foreign Affairs if the President is always out of the country?

Independence and other state occasions cannot be given a blatant partisan stamp. They are paid-for by the state and therefore should be as inclusive as possible. And free from the slightest suspicion of malice and vindictiveness.

By not inviting Ernest Koroma, Bio and the SLPP have not only disrespected a former president, but explicitly relayed their operational ethos: government by alienation. An object lesson in how not to run a country as diverse as ours.

For all his executive errors. Koroma’s character indicates that he would not have been as unkind to Bio if the tables were turned. In fact, he accorded him due respect when at the helm, and Bio was the opposition and importantly, a former Head of State.

Excluding Koroma in front of the country’s guests and regional heads, diminishes nothing out of his standing, as aligned with his achievements. Instead, it damages the government’s and Bio’s reputation.

Failure to see that, this errant lack of foresight, is exactly why 2021 is proving so disastrous for the Bio tenure. Limping from one flunked penalty to another missed opportunity.

Hip Hop legend and Public Enemy’s Chuck D: this government needs a tuneup!