Ideally, the aim of occupying a political position is to use it to bring about meaningful and positive changes in the lives of others, including, but not limited to providing much needed social services to the populace. Sadly, many a leader in Africa and other places, have rather used their political position to not only enrich themselves but cause unimaginable hardship to others. The result is that, in most cases, when these leaders have left the political territory, their successor is forced to probe their past activities. When such a probe comes up, it sometimes becomes difficult to ascertain whether it is orchestrated in the interest of the country and the justice or just a witch hunt aimed at settling some political antagonism. With this in mind, it has become indeed necessary to set the political bar high and leave the political arena with one’s integrity intact.
That said, the recent attempt by the newly elected President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio to set up a panel to investigate the alleged widespread corruption under his predecessor Ernest Koroma has received a thunderous applause both in Sierra Leone and beyond. However, others, especially, members of the ex-President Koroma’s party (APC) have termed the move by the new President a political “witch-hunt.” It could well be that the attempted probe is necessitated by personal or political grudges, but is it not said that clear conscience fears no accusations? If every one of us, including our leaders, has endeavored to avoid any corrupt practices, no amount of probes or inquiries can dent the judicious and impeccable legacies we have left behind us.
The former President Barack Obama of the USA came to power as the first black President of the country. He was liberal. He had many enemies, just like he was loved by others. Many expected all his “dirty past” to be unearthed within a short time. He left the White House after eight years without any major scandal. Clearly, President Donald Trump does not, in any way, hide the fact that he is not President Obama’s fan. Had there been scandal, corruption or shady deals to pin against President Obama, President Trump will obviously not waste time to use that to castigate his predecessor and dent his legacies. If such would be the case, I seriously doubt if the American public would label such a “witch-hunt” as far as such the prosecution by President Trump is proved to have some legal merits.
Where does that leave us? Whatever allegations, President Julius Maada Bio has against former leader Koroma are not yet proved; so legally, the former President is innocent, unless the court proves otherwise. However, it is logically expected that former President Koroma and his former government need not be afraid of the probe if they have no skeleton in their cupboard. Nor should they do anything to hinder any legal machine set in motion to institute a scrupulous investigation of their administration. On the other hand, President Bio must make sure that the judiciary is given a free hand and independence to carry out their assignment. To give the former President the benefit of the doubt, let us agree that, despite the mountainous corruption allegations levelled against the Koroma’s administration, President Julius Maada Bio may have some personal or political grudges to settle. Fine, but as the President of the country, he is obligated by the law to defend the constitution of Sierra Leona, and this includes investigating and probing any corrupt allegations and holding the culprits of such practices responsible. He owes that constitutional duty to the Sierra Leoneans. Therefore, whether President Bio’s attempt to probe the Koroma’s administration is borne out of patriotism or “witch-hunt” is less relevant on the assumption that the former President Ernest Koroma and his crew have nothing to hide. Once this is the situation, Julius Maada Bio’s motives become irrelevant. On the other hand, President Bio must bear in mind that his successor might equally probe his activities after he has left the office. A good reason to enter the political arena gallantly and leave it fearlessly and with one’s integrity intact. Isn’t it?