On the re-opening of SLPP Office … “We would never encourage violence” John Benjamin...

Congratulations: President Koroma and Mr Maada Bio

The pictures in the press of President Koroma and Mr Maada Bio embracing each other was to be quite frank, a beautiful sight. At the end of the day the meeting and the embrace was a triumph for Sierra Leone and demonstrates that our dear nation has truly come of age. It’s a validation that both men recognise that ultimately it’s in the greater good of Mama Salone that they address the challenges at hand constructively and focus on ensuring Sierra Leone remains firmly on the path of continued stability and peace.
Great applause goes to those who facilitated the meeting but greater applause should go to both men. To President Koroma for NOT taking the view that there was no need to meet with Mr Bio as he has already been declared winner of what has been described by both international and domestic observers asa free and fair elections.
Meeting Mr Bio is in itself an acknowledgement that one in three Sierra Leoneans voted for Maada Bio and as the “Father of the Nation” he has a sacred responsibility to reach out to them. I salute you Mr President for this great gesture.
Similarly, Mr Bio’s acknowledgement that President Koroma is indeed the President of Sierra Leone deserves similar applause. This signifies that he Mr Bio understands deep down that Sierra Leoneans have indeed spoken and as a man who played a key role in the restoration of democracy, he remains a custodian and defender of that democracy.
Politics is a tough game, and I am sure both men received their fair share of bruises, and the scars will remain for a long time to come. However a wise man once said “what does not kill you only makes you stronger”. Both men can now put the elections behind them and focus on the future. President Koroma as the winner unfortunately has no time to rest as he has a nation to govern. I pray that God gives him the wisdom to lead and serve our country well. It is my sincere hope that in the words of his Information and Communications Minister - Mr IB Kargbo that President Koroma is able to leave a lasting legacy of peace, development and prosperity to the people of Sierra Leone. All patriotic Sierra Leoneans should wish him well.
For Mr Bio he needs time to reflect and take stock. To be honest, he should be proud of what he has achieved. He came up against possibly the most popular and likable President Sierra Leone has ever had. Personally any other SLPP candidate would have been totally obliterated by the “World’s Best” machine. Mr Bio has a foundation on which to build should he wish to continue down this path. Age and time are on his side, and whilst he may have lost this battle the “political war” is by no means over yet. The political journey of former President’s Wade of Senegal, President Conde of Guinea, Sirleaf of Liberia and the current President of Zambia should all serve as a guide that tomorrow is indeed another day. Remember that the current “World’s Best” was decimated at the polls in 2002 by then President Kabbah only to emerge stronger and wiser in 2007.
Congratulations to both men, but more importantly to Mama Salone. We are all WINNERS irrespective of how we voted. We have sent a message to the World that we can NO Longer be defined or judged by the bestiality of the RUF days but rather by our sense of humanity, forgiveness and deep sense of love and patriotism for our dear Nation - The Republic of Sierra Leone. We are indeed a “GEM IN AFRICA”.

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