By Julius Bambay Kamara
Sierra Leone has over the last ten years, come a long way in her healing process, more specifically given her dark days of military dictatorship in the early 1990s that was marred with torture and extra-judicial killings.
As a nation, we have been working on healing the wounds inflicted on us following the overthrow of a democratically elected government by a rogue regime of small military boys, with the side of corrupt and selfish power thirst civilians.
Their love for power and disdain for human life led to some sort of revengeful killings, leaving hundreds if not thousands of families in tears with hopeless hopes of a better and brighter future. This was what NPRC, under the watchful eyes of people like Julius Maada Bio left with us some years back and still haunting our nation.
The extra-judicial killings of those civilians and fine country serving military and police officers in 1992 by the NPRC will forever hunt those who directly or otherwise partook in that dastardly act.
And until they one day either here or the world after, find solace in repenting for their criminal acts, even the angel of death will find it hard to let go that chapter. And the God we worship, if they ever so, will be watching them with regret having created them.
That said, with President Ernest Bai Koroma as father of the nation and Fountain of Honour, we have witnessed how the beauty of true democratic dispensation has helped in the healing process over the years.
Sierra Leone, for the very first time, could boast of a government and a President whose hands are not stained with blood, with no political prisoner, even as he prepares to retire in a couple of days. This is what we have got in the leadership of President Koroma.
Today, we are at the cross-road of deciding the nation’s path for the next 5 years, from the perspective of electing someone to succeed the current President.
In doing so, we are faced with the choice of choosing between Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara, a progressive mind, having seriously impacted on our development process, and Julius Maada Bio who could be remembered for his role in the NPRC extra-judicial killings and the overthrow of democratic government.
Our seriousness as a nation more so if we are to continue to be seen as such by the rest of the world, particularly our development partners, must be demonstrated by our choice of President.
Dr. Samura Kamara remains humble, honest and truthful, and has so far been a true reflection of someone who has sacrificed so much for this country, having served as Financial Secretary, Governor of the Central Bank, Minister of Finance and Economic Development under whose tenure Sierra Leone witnessed a boom in its economy and was rated amongst the fastest growing economies of the world.
He later served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation during which period, Sierra Leone realized a rapid improvement in diplomatic relations in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia. It was specifically under the tenure of Dr. Samura Kamara as Foreign Minister that we improved our diplomatic ties with China to a Comprehensive Strategic Level.
Now, let us compare that to Julius Maada Bio, a self-styled Brigadier, who had publicly confessed to taking part in the torture and extra-judicial killing of 29 innocent Sierra Leoneans, including a pregnant woman. Someone who has been blacklisted and banned from entering the United States of America based on his human rights record. This same man has been jobless for over 20 years.
As a people we cannot risk going back to the dark days we had gone through. We have to demonstrate to the rest of the world that we are a nation determined to develop. And we can do this by voting Dr. Samura Kamara as our next President. We will be turning our back to the rest of the world if we make the mistake of voting as President, Julius Maada Bio who is a well-known human rights abuser and has been blacklisted by the West.
History will not judge us kindly if we do not make the right choice in this election. We will be betraying our children and our children’s children. What message will we be sending to the rest of the world?
When other nations are putting on trial perpetrators of human rights abuse, we are hailing and rewarding them with leadership positions, jeopardizing our future and that of our future generation. Let us go out on March 27th 2018 and reject Julius Maada Bio, just like we rejected him in 2012. Let us use our ballots to send a strong message that one cannot spill the blood of the innocent and go free.
*Kamara went this piece from Freetown