OPINION: Why Maada Bio’s Second Term is Not Guaranteed

My country people, what is it for the past three going four years that President Bio and his SLPP government have done that should qualify them for a second term in office? If they want to base it on policy, which of his policies have translated into something tangible that they can say, ‘this is what we have done, or are doing, so give us more time to accomplish them’? There is nothing to show. Despite all they have done, people still go home to empty dinner tables, our hospitals and clinics lack equipment and lifesaving drugs, our roads are bad and heavily congested, lawlessness, corruption and indiscipline are still untamed and running out of control, sacred cows still walk the corridors of power.

The only thing this government can do to win a second term will be to either outright steal the election or through the barrel of a gun. The latter solution is something our current leadership is well versed at.

Therefore, clarion calls for a second term for New Direction based on unqualified accomplishments leave much to be desired. The cheerleaders of this foolhardy call are saying that there is the need for this government of hardships, struggles, and violence and corruption disclosures to be given a second term to accomplish what it can’t because of COVID-19.

It must be stated that effective or good leaders don’t call for or need a second term, as they can and do accomplish much in their first terms, which achievements’ momentum naturally propels them into a second term, as was the cases with presidents Ahmed Tejan Kabba and Ernest Bai Koroma.

The call for a second term is an acknowledgement of failure to keep to your promises, or executing your campaign or manifesto promises. This is what failed leaders are known for doing, while accomplished leaders get given further and unsolicited mandates based on a referendum or constitutional review and amendment, as in the case of China declaring Comrade Xi Jinping as president for life. Apart from Comrade Mao, no other leader in the over 70 year lexicon of communism with Chinese characteristics has made such an economic, social and political impact on the lives of the Chinese than Xi. Today, China is the only country that can effectively rival any US ambition. We will be slipshod not to mention Paul Kagame or the recently deceased Tanzanian president and great African patriot, John Pombe Joseph Magufuli.

Therefore, calls by this government of leakages, corruption, violence, stifling and shrinking opinion spaces, fear, lawlessness for a second term is shameful, as it is a blatant and or tacit acknowledgement of failure.

After PAOPA’s abysmal failure in its fight against corruption three years after making promises to in effect win the fight, the government is now singing a new tune and has shifted focus from corruption to the free quality education (FQE). The idea is that if you are failing at one thing, deflect attention to another. First it was corruption. But now that the anticorruption fight is no longer a priority – as corruption has become business as usual (New Direction in the same old corrupt direction of the past regimes) – how long would it take before holes begin to appear in the FQE? Then what would PAOPA switch to for bragging rights? Violence, lawlessness, indiscipline? They are mutually inclusive or tied to each other; failure in one leads to failure in all, and vice versa.

The question remains, what has President Bio accomplished over these past three years to qualify him asking for a second term? Without much infrastructural developments to boast about, the only thing this government has to show as tangible proof of progress is its continuation of the country-killing cultures of corruption, the targeting of former government officials while leaving their own sacred cows, and the aforementioned vices, for which excuses keep getting made to justify them. Really, what can SLPP show after three years of state governance?

Any government that is willing can accomplish all it sets out to accomplish in one term. If not, at least let the foundational works aimed at accomplishing them be so apparent to all that the people, instead of you, will demand you get another mandate. A good example to cite here would be Donald Dump, pardon me, Donald Trump. After his grand campaign promises, his actions that went against all he had preached were enough for Americans, especially Republican partisans, to vote against him.

Sitting governments should know that with political will, all excuses or impediments to national progress can be squashed for the greater good. The kind of political will that is needed is one that does not acknowledge or have room for sacred cows; that calls a spade a spade; is open to criticism and willing to ask for advice; is willing to side with the opposition if such an action would benefit the people although your party is against it, among others.

The incumbent party must be very forgetful that to ask for a second term, one has to consider that first impressions last, and go a very long way. And based on our first three year impression of this government, there is nothing one can hold up and say, ‘here is something to give SLPP another mandate for!’ Based on the impression we have been given of President Bio’s style of leadership, including his decisions such as leaving God out of the solution for Covid-19, a second term would be catastrophic for Sierra Leone.

We should start looking at effective one-term presidencies as the desirable thing and start demanding or voting in leaders that will accomplish all in one term; and not give failed regimes or leaders more chances to pillage the country with their calls for a second term. All such calls are for the continuation of the very acts that prevented them from accomplishing their tasks, for which we the people are always on the receiving end of the stick and have been made to suffer.

Still attempting to do all things PAOPA, President Bio and his advisers are once again attempting to bulldoze their way into making the second term to appear as if it is a constitutional guarantee. Well, it is not. You are entitled to two terms: if the people re-elect you; not that you should run two consecutive terms. Donald Trump got the boot after he talked much and delivered very little. His only legacy when judged by posterity will be his attempt to resurrect the ghosts of America’s racial divide, just the same way as President Bio and his team are trying, albeit very quietly, to use tribalism and regionalism to divide us.

Fortunately for us, there is already a three year presidential action review culture in Sierra Leone; so there is no need to judge President Bio’s accomplishments after five years. They should be apparent after three. Lonta!

MORE ABOUT: Maada Bio | SLPP

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