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 The President's Wife, Only

By Abdul Suhood Komeh,

London, UK.

The First Lady of Sierra Leone Fatima Bio (pictured) produced a video message for Christmas on behalf of her family (she looked great). Only to assume in it the mythical role of her wildest imagination, spokeswoman for the government. She is not. This is both arrogant and wilfully ignorant. There are a lot of people, not least her husband, who could explain the following to her:

1; She is just the president’s wife.

2; The First Lady is not an executive office or part of government. Therefore she cannot speak for the government or the people of Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone has a lot of problems. One that is near the very top and undermines a lot of potentially good things is unmitigated sycophancy, oiled and perpetuated by nothing but tribalism. Some compatriots are so consumed by tribalism it paralyses their minds, it reduces them to regurgitating uplifting rhetoric from their tribesmen/women to pass off as serious progress being made.

For quite sometime now, some SLPP supporters have been contriving new levels of prostrations, as if to get even with the last batch of tribal sycophants they replaced. A shameful strand of that enterprise is devising unjustified, worshipful veneration of the First Lady for nothing but because she’s married to ‘their’ messiah, ‘their’ president. Amongst them, those who flatter themselves as PR wizards are addressing the First Lady as ‘Her Excellency’. Almost like she’s some parallel gender-leader to her husband. Their tactic is to do so in drips. They hoped we are all juvenile idiots and the title will catch.

Well it wouldn’t and some of us are prepared to throw a massive keyboard-fit for less, everyday, for such backwardness.

The idea that a man, or hopefully at the next elections a woman, contests an election for president. He/she wins. Subsequently, their spouse is then catapulted to an unbargained-for counterpart to their leadership to lord it over us is not just disrespectful, but undermines democratic aspirations. As a political hero of mine, Thomas Paine will say (paraphrasing), ‘you cannot entrust your life to someone on account that a parent of theirs practiced medicine.‘ The same applies here, perfectly. Hereditary political power in the slightest, is the completest nonsense there is. Besides, Sierra Leone is not a monarchy.

Fatima Bio was not on the ballot at the last elections. She bore no trust from the public, majority or minority, to serve in the executive. She can advise her husband at dinner or pillow time, of course. But she has no business thanking people for trusting her to lead. She cannot, on no circumstances be addressed as ‘Her Excellency’. She does not head any foreign mission on behalf of the government and people of Sierra Leone. 

Those engaged in the folly must stop, please. Addressing her as ‘Her Excellency’ does not mate her, or render her anymore suitable to her husband than she already is before the presidency. And away from us, the rattlers, somebody should have a quiet word with her. Being First Lady is not an achievement or a stable recompense for historically shortchanging women; it adds nothing significant, even cosmetically, to the cause of overcoming dispossessed womanhood. In fact, it reinforces it. This is not 1960. There are enough Sierra Leonean women, abroad and at home, well-versed, more than capable of submitting first-class arguments for women away from empty tokenism.

Note to Her. I think she should take up the offer from the media personality, Vickie Remoe. The First Lady could, obviously, do with competent PR if, she’s capable of personal discipline.

A merry Christmas. Bring it on, 2019.