The Nbomba-Turay Column : Maada Bio’s visa refusal – A lesson to learn
By Cocorioko’s Daniel Nbompa Turay in Freetown : One of the uncontestable importances of history is it guides the present into the future so as not to make the mistakes of the past. The journey of life is full with sadness and happiness; good and bad moments. Though some are the products of fate, but many are a matter of choices. For those who are victims of fate, it is just unfortunate as one can do nothing to avert it. But for those whose calamities were the result of deliberate wrong choices, they should have nobody to blame but themselves.
MAADA BIO : WAS UNABLE TO ENTER THE U.S . BECAUSE HE IS A MURDERER
The good books explicitly state that man has his will- power to choose whichever path he chooses, but any path he chooses has its attending consequences. Practical life experience teaches us among many any other things that if a student invest in education he is likely to live better life while if he chooses otherwise; he will have less opportunities of survival, hence poverty. Now, one might argue that though some people are not serious with life, yet they still live wealthy simply because they were born to wealthy families. Well, surveys have confirmed that only 3% of those who are born to wealthy families are able to maintain such wealth. Over 95% of those who are wealthy grew through the ranks and fought their way up.
As much as globalization has ushered so much goodies beyond the imagination of men, it has also established lot of behavioral standards and other limitations to the conduct of the affairs of men. Today, gross violation of human rights including extra-judicial killings are so out rightly condemned and frown at that almighty Hitler would not been able to resist if he was alive. Nowadays, rape and child abuses are grave crimes. You see, within the context of the world as a global village, one action in a little corner can be held accountable in the wider world. This is the simple and naked truth the NPRC junta guys have to face.
Take Maada Bio. He was the indefatigable 3rd most senior officer in a notorious junta that brutally and extra-judicially murdered 29 innocent people in cold blood in the hey-days of the NPRC in December 1992. During that time the junta felt so powerful that they can do anything without being subjected to any accountable mechanism. This is a terrible lie. Blunt and stack lie! (The days of Hitler are gone. Nobody will drag human civilization to those ugly past). Ironically, Bio and co. were terrorizing and killing people with guns bought by the very taxes paid by these defenseless civilians. Though, little did the junta knew that this is totally unacceptable to the decency and dignity of persons and will hunt them after some 20 years ago.
Hence, some SLPP fanatics should not blame the United States or harbor any negative sentiments against Obama for Bio’s refusal of a US visa. I know many sober thinkers within the SLPP including the late Dr. Soyei, of blessed memories, will not blame the US. But they cannot say it aloud lest they be accused as APC spies like Soyei. So stop blaming Obama, he has nothing to do with Bio’s predicament. This has to do with US policies. You remember the immigration issue with Obama’s half sister during his presidential campaign. He did nothing about it because he can do nothing about it. This is the very strength of the US. US philosophy dictates that institutions must grow independently so that people can predict the outcome of issues when they arise. No wonder during his visit to Ghana Obama stressed that the emancipation of Africa requires stronger institutions rather than strongmen.
You will wonder why Bio was allowed in some other countries but refused entrance into the US. Amidst all the seeming controversy that characterizes American foreign policy, this is a country one cannot just mess around with. Many people keep wondering why the US is not a signatory to the Rome Statute. The answer is simple. The US has an appropriate judicial mechanism to deal with gross human rights violations. They find it difficult to surrender such high standard to the Rome Statute which is fairly new. You remember Taylor’s son who was arrested, tried, convicted and jailed in the US for atrocities he committed in Liberia. Very few countries exercise such jurisdiction over such matters. Probably, Bio would have been arrested and tried for extra-judicial killings if he had venture into the US. In order not to cause chaos in our internal politics, the only option is not to visa Bio. Anyway Bio, take heart! But, the US is such a wonderful place today that even Europeans, Asians, not to mention Africans are all dreaming of entering the US.
How could you imagine that in this globalised world a man is vying for the highest office in a developing country, yet refused entering into the most powerful nation in the world with the largest economy. If one understands the dynamics of global development and the enormous influence the US willed over the IMF, World Bank and other global and regional financial and economic institutions one will certainly ask, where will Bio start? The writings on the wall are quite clear…THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IS NOT DETERMINE TO DO BUSINESS WITH BIO….PERIOD! At this stage in our socio-economic drive, this will be a terrible disaster for mama salone. I can better compare this to the AFRC days of sanction and embargo.
Many of my SLPP friends noted that Bio was quite aware of his permanent ban from entering the US and with no international acceptance. Infact, that was why he forged his way into a political party with democratic credentials. Many SLPP guys confessed that Bio mortgaged the credibility of the SLPP to hide his hideous and murderous act. Many also believed that that is why he is not even worry about the disintegration of the party as he himself keeps isolating prominent party stalwarts and grassroot supporters. All he is concern about is being an SLPP presidential candidate. He is deeply conscious of his battered reputation but believes all this can be amended including escaping justice once he becomes an SLPP flag bearer, thus joining the company of decent men. Well this plan A did not work. So, what is the plan B? So, Bio now knows how valuable and precious is a simple civilian life which uphold respect for one another. Man, it’s too late. You have already defiled your hands, they cannot be undefiled; the milk has been spilled, it cannot be unspilled.
Now, this should be a very big lesson to all of us, particularly to those who aspire to lead. We must never be drunk with political power and callously become gross violators of human rights. We must never turn guns on innocent civilians whose taxes paid for such guns. My 75 years old friend will always admonished me that power, strength and money are all for a while. Things change. Bio and co. were civilians before they became soldier. They have now become civilian after serving the military. They should take responsibility for every irresponsible and reckless act during the reign of the NPRC. These guys are not above the law. Gross violation of human rights should be thoroughly probe to satisfy the quest of justice. The apology on the BBC is not a substitute for justice. No way.
If the International Criminal Court would have been established before the record extra-judicial killing, Bio would have been glazing at the gigantic walls of his 80 years cell either in Rwanda or some other places. Then he will not have brought this embarrassment to the SLPP.