By Elkass Sannoh
The main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) party has still not recovered from the devastating political tsunami which has the potential to further disintegrate the party into an avalanche of pieces. The party is doomed to be sent into a permanent political wilderness in which contemporary historians will write that there was a party in Sierra Leone which destroyed the country’s socio-economic foundation at the detriment of generations yet unborn.
JUDGEMENT DAY TO ACCOUNT
After a decade of political and socio-economic decadence, former President Ernest Bai Koroma is on the rampage to plea for mercy. Unfortunately, this move has been wholesomely rejected by President Julius Maada Bio. His overseas’ move to solicit foreign intervention has indicated that the former President’s hands are not clean and therefore he is seeking for Presidential Clemency. The Party’s Secretary General-Alhaji Foday Osman Yansaneh has also admitted guilt but says the entire process is a political witch hunt.
Indeed it is not for nothing that the tongue sticks to the roof of the mouth when the eyes see strange things. The APC Party has not only seen it but smelled a bad omen that will crumble the foundation of the party’s existence. APC’s leadership knows that the evil forest has rejected the corpses of all evil doers and therefore judgment day is here for them to account for their stewardship.
PRESIDENT KOROMA’S STATEMENT IN 2008
As a journalist, I recently visited my archives to remind Sierra Leoneans of former President Ernest Bai Koroma’s statement in 2008. That statement went viral to refresh the minds of my readership. History is alive today and it is a strong guide to the future.
On Thursday 30th April 2008, whilst opening the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) offices in Makeni, Northern Sierra Leone, former President Ernest Bai Koroma said the setting up of the Commission of Inquiry is a complimentary tool in his Government’s commitment to eradicate corruption in the country.
“Some people are talking about witch-hunt, but what I am saying is that the people have a right to know about monies sent to this country in their name. It is everybody’s right to know, and then we would be able to correct the system.” President Koroma said the Commission of Inquiry was going to even serve as a signal of deterrent for functionaries of his government to beware of any ill intention they might have developed.
He said: “I said it during campaigning, but some people thought I was joking. I was serious about it, and now the time to give account is here.” He said that the State would protect anyone that has no case to answer, “But if you have skeletons in your cupboard, we will open it so let us all give account for our stewardship.”
The unanswered question is, why is the APC still floundering in a morass of fake rumours to tag the Governance Transition Team Report as a witch hunt?
Ernest Bai Koroma’s statement has alluded to the popular maxim that when a man spits on air, it falls back on him and defies his face. Truth be told, the former President is not and will never be the first to be investigated for corruption related offences. In fact South Africa’s Jacob Zuma appeared in Court for corruption related charges. Brazil’s former President and Nigeria’s erstwhile Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman have all been investigated. So why not Sierra Leone?
Is the APC trying to celebrate thieves and demonise the GTT Report? With the numerous outbursts, the APC Secretary General has made a public confession that, as he puts it, “I am not saying the allegations are false.” If the allegations therein are not false, why can’t you guys support the process for accountable and transparent governance? Let APC support the process and demand for fair and an unbiased trial or Judge -led Commission instead of standing atop the roof to foolishly criticise the process to attract social media sympathy.
COMMISSION OF INQUIRY
The setting up of a Commission of Inquiry is not strange in Sierra Leone as it is in line with section 147 of Act No. 6 of the 1991 Constitution. Since independence (27th April 1961) Commissions of inquiry have been set up by successive governments. From 1967 to date, different Commissions with prescribed mandates have been set up. The National Reformation Council (NRC) did set up various Commissions to investigate and report on the act of corruption and other financial malpractices in public offices. The Beoku-Betts Commission of Inquiry on Special Coffee Deal in the Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board (SPMB) was set up in 1967.
The Forster Commission of Inquiry on Assets of ex-Ministers and Deputy Ministers, the Percy Davies Commission of Inquiry on the Activities of the Freetown City Council, the Justice Showers Commission of Inquiry and the Shears Moses Commission of Inquiry among others were set up.
Fast forward, in 2008 the All Peoples Congress government set up a Commission of Inquiry headed by Gambian Judge Sameja Jammeh to investigate the SABABU Education project that was developed and implemented by the SLPP government. The Commission was also mandated to probe the state of affairs at that time.
The former President was the first to justify the need to set up a Commission of Inquiry. His statements were buttressed on a daily basis by some government officials. In view of that, the APC government placed stiff travel restrictions on former SLPP officials. First it was a ban and later a police clearance from the Inspector General of Police. Indeed, the former officials faced embarrassment and molestation at the Lungi International airport.
In Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari set up a Transition Committee headed by Ahmed Joda. The 8000-page report of the transition team outlined a list of prompt, medium and long-term decisions President Muhammadu Buhari must take.
Ghana’s Transition Team was co-chaired by former Member of Parliament of the NPP Party Ofoase Ayirebi. In South Africa, a Special Investigation Unit was set up to investigate corruption made in Parliament in response to the Presidency’s Budget. Those recommendations were fully enforced.
Truth is the only healer of an open wound called conscience; therefore APC vuvuzellas must stop crude politics and be civil in line with contemporary best practices. Politics is not all about fraud and deceit, which are the hallmarks of APC leadership. APC believes only rogues will participate in national politics as Mohamed Bangura (Now MP) would always tell Sierra Leoneans on radio Democracy FM 98.1. President Bio and his team are not saints but they are rebranding and reforming the political landscape. This move has frustrated the APC!
No gainsaying that APC was booted out of power because of executive corruption, administrative impropriety, rampant tribalism and criminal racketeering of state resources by former President Koroma and his APC cronies.
Those APC vuvuzellas who continues to mislead their supporters and bank on the gullibility of some Sierra Leoneans, should know that all recommendations in the GTT Report will be implemented and a forensic audit by the Audit Service will soon take effect. The David Francis led Governance Transition Team only made assertive recommendations which fervent conviction that they will be enforced. Thankfully, Cabinet has approved those imperative recommendations and they will be fully implemented.
Let APC stop fooling their supporters and accept the reality in the country as their will be no safe havens for criminals and rogues. The platform is going to be set for decent people to come into politics.
Former President Koroma’s ‘nonsensical’ statement does not befit a statesman. For a former President to describe a state report as nonsense is very disrespectful and nonsensical. The choice of words in his response while on vacation was very uncivil and completely kindergarten
President Bio has demonstrated that the New Direction is built on accountable and transparent leadership which is why the GTT report was made public. The most important result of accountability is trust, which is essential in any governance structure. Accountability and transparency inspire confidence and therefore those who are leaving should account for their stewardship. Let us support the process and stop being fooled by fools.
This Is The Pen Of The Voiceless Sierra Leoneans.