President Bio: With Power Comes Responsibility!!! By Winston Ojukutu-Macauley Jnr-Editor We Yone Newspaper

Front Page Lead May 8th 2018

Special Front Page Editorial Commentary

During his eight years as President of the United States of America, President Barack Obama repeated a simple mantra when addressing other Heads of Government: “With power comes responsibility.”

This week, on the 12th of May, 2018, exactly five weeks after President Julius Maada Bio assumed power as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the retired Brigadier will be inaugurated formally as the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Fountain of Honour and Justice and the symbol of National Sovereignty. However, as the country gets ready to celebrate their new President, many people including thousands who voted for the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), have started expressing concerns that those around President Bio are failing to demonstrate that they understand and accept the responsibility that comes with political power.

Since President Bio took up office, he has tried to negotiate his way around the corridors of power, issuing Presidential Executive Orders to fast-track policies that would otherwise face bottlenecks within a broken civil service system. Unfortunately, some of these Presidential Executive Orders are being implemented by overzealous or over ambitious officials, who want the public to think that the newly elected SLPP government under President Julius Maada Bio is serious about taking Sierra Leone into the “New Direction”

What many of these officials in their desperations to please President Bio are failing to realize, is that the world was told that the country had voted for the SLPP because of value-based national and international order; a greater responsibility to defend and protect human dignity, democracy, the rule of law and to an international order that is based on universal norms.

To achieve this objective under the SLPP “new direction,” the new government must become a “shaping power” rather than some desperados as it is the case now.

Many things could have been said of the All People’s Congress (APC) Party, when former President Ernest Bai Koroma, came to power in 2007, but none of those include the level of intimidation and fear that we are currently experiencing in Sierra Leone.

It could be vividly be remembered that the success of the All People’s Congress was supported by the Chairman and Leader of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), Charles Margai, who on a backlash from his father’s political party, moved over to join the then Opposition Leader, Ernest Bai Koroma, to unseat the Sierra Leone People’s Party from power. At that time, all the recipe for a violent backlash were there, but never fermented into such open conflict.

Observers who were privy at the time claimed that one of the demands of the PMDC Leader for supporting the APC Party, was to see many SLPP big guns under the late President Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabba, facing the Courts of Justice for alleged corruption crimes against the State of Sierra Leone. We Yone Newspaper understands that the PMDC wanted the likes of Dr. Prince Harding, Kanji Daramy, Alpha Wurie and many others to give account and have their properties seized and confiscated to the State for alleged crimes against the people and the Republic of Sierra Leone.

To his credit, President Ernest Bai Koroma, new in office in 2007 and learning how to govern and steady the ship did not create a climate of misunderstanding, suspicion and bad blood. Today, the likes of Alpha Wurie, Dr. Prince Harding and Kanji Daramy are back behind Ministerial desks performing the noble functions of State.

In his time, President Koroma was even blamed for leaving former SLPP Ministers in their post for almost three months while he set in motion several transition teams to take stock of the state of affairs of Ministries, Departments and Agencies. President Koroma on taking office held on to the State Chief of Protocol (SCOP), Alhaji Sule Daramy, for so long that many APC Party stalwarts complained bitterly; “this man should not be here in our midst deciding who gets to see the President or not.” Never was any section of the country or group of individuals allowed the chance to feel as unsafe as is now the case. 

The final straw was the attack on the privacy of the former President’s daughter and her family. Such an incident should never have happened. On top of the indiscipline shown by the task force on vehicles, the SLPP National Publicity Secretary now goes on record of alleging treason against the former Head of State, the former Minister of Defence and some unnamed senior Military Officers.

We have heard some lazy arguments about the level of “corruption” and the alleged abuse of power when the APC Party was in office. We have also heard about the suppressions of press freedom in Sierra Leone and even naked tribalism in the corridors of power under former President Ernest Bai Koroma, but what President Julius Maada Bio should remember is that many of those shouting now for the heads of the APC Party leadership were at one time bed-followers and drinking buddies that benefited from the gains of many of the alleged corruptions now being laid at the door-steps of the APC Party leadership.

We subscribe to the view that impunity MUST stop. And we will welcome evidence lead to end impunity and corruption against the State of Sierra Leone. But this can only be done when President Bio and his government shape power with an enormous stake in preserving and extending human dignity, freedom, democracy and the rule of law, and to an end to international order that is based on universal norms.

Moves to create a climate of misunderstanding, fear, suspicion and bad blood, leads to violence and violence not only claims lives, but also unravels the very fabric of society, leaving schools, hospitals and businesses destroyed, and a devastated population suffering the physical and psychological toll. 

We have been down that road before, and we hope we will not go down that road again.

And as the late British War Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill also once said; “The Price of Greatness is Responsibility.” And in our mind this simply means that one who strives for greatness must be ready and capable to face the challenges that come with it.

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