BIO COMPARES ALLIANCE TO FODAY SANKOH
– Not Mentioning That His Sister Agnes Bio Was RUF ‘Commando’
– Paopa Leader Offers Tongue-In-Cheek Olive Branch To Rivals
The desperate efforts by some civil society groups to get involved as peace-makers in the intra-party debacle that has engulfed the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) would not yield any fruits as long as the leader of the paopa wing of the party Julius Maada Bio remains recalcitrant and supercilious, with the apparent feeling that he is dealing with lesser humans within his own party.
Mediators include the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL), the National Commission for Democracy (NCD), Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Secretariat and the Ministry of Political Affairs, all of whom are obviously late in getting the SLPP house together again after the great fallout that has seen expulsions and counter- expulsions that have split the grand old party right in the middle with two parallel executives – one appointed at their Wallace Johnson Street headquarters late last year, the other at the Miatta Conference Hall early this year.
In his usual egoistic self, ‘one-man-geng’ Bio issued a statement over the weekend with ‘peace overtures’ to the Alliance of 13 other flag-bearer aspirants who would not want him to be their candidate again after the dismal performance at the 2012 elections in which he was thoroughly beaten by incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma.
The statement itself has been viewed as an insult by members of the Alliance for comparing them to former rebel leader Foday Saybana Sankoh. Speaking in Pujehun on Friday 13th January 2017, Bio “informed the jubilant crowd that in 1996 when he was head of state, he told Foday Sankoh that for the sake of peace and the country he should come to the dialogue table. Using that as an inspiration, Bio said he is appealing to ‘our brothers and sisters in the Alliance’ to dialogue and have peace in the party for the sake of the people and the country,” the statement issued by the Julius Maada Bio Media and Communications Team maintained.
However, in a clear contradiction in terms whereby his paopa has suspended the elected Chairman of the SLPP Chief Somano Kapen, the statement attributed Bio to have “stressed that the dialogue should be based on the party’s constitution and respect for elected officials of the party” – when he now has a selected Acting Chairman in the person of Prince Harding.
In another clear show of saying what he does not do – as his supporters have taken over the party office, barricaded it and preventing any intra-party opponent of Bio from entering there – the Maada Bio statement “called on members and supporters of the SLPP to conduct themselves in a manner that will make peace conducive in the party.” In an apparent tongue-in-cheek proposal for reconciliation, Bio singled out the party’s parliamentary leader Hon Bernadette Lahai for lampooning by stating that “the Minority Leader was even defeated in her own village by his supporters during the lower level elections.”
Political analysts believe the SLPP’s problems have gone beyond redemption and that Bio’s olive branch of comparing the Alliance to Foday Sankoh has just exacerbated the situation. “A man wanting to reconcile with others would not utter such statements. He is merely pushing them farther away or rather pushing himself farther away. There’s no way he would reconcile with such an attitude. Maada Bio is self-conceited, and that could just spell doom for the SLPP,” a Political Science lecturer at Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone’s premiere university, analysed.
“He’s talking about dialoguing with Foday Sankoh, but he refuses to state that his elder sister Agnes Bio was a commando under Foday Sankoh. So the so-called peace overtures to the rebels were actually a family affair. This would be compounded by the fact that Bio’s brother Steve Bio was also accused of having been a wheeler-dealer arms supplier to both the NPRC junta and the RUF – supplying the brother in one wing, and the sister in the other. Taking it further, many civilians doubted the sincerity of Bio and his kind in the war effort, which caused the coining of the word ‘sobel’ (soldier by day, rebel by night). Maada Bio’s case is pathetic,” he concluded.
The SLPP is already bedeviled by a string of court cases that could see an injunction slammed on their proposed February Convention to choose a flag-bearer for the next presidential elections.
A member of the Alliance, Lawyer Alpha Timbo, has already dismissed Maada Bio’s overtures as hypocritical.
Even the imminent appointment of a new PPRC Chairman could be too late for the fallen ‘tokpoi’.
© The Torchlight Newspaper 2017