By Ofoh DI Foh
It has been habits of Presidential Spokesmen and of course the State House Communication Office to inform society whenever the President is on foreign trip.
No objection to that at all. But what I think, as others will equally do, is that such must say in details the purpose of the visit, to at least give thought of what the President is up to, the benefits it brings and why society’s taxpayers’ money must be spent on such foreign assignment.
Sierra Leoneans seem not only astonished but a bit edgy shortly after they were informed in a two line press statement that the President (Ernest Bai Koroma) will be leaving for Germany, describing same as “Private” but will have to spend almost a week enjoying the country’s money.
The release as put out by State House was as short but very suspicious, which incidentally has seen Sierra Leoneans using the social media asking the question: “how private is the President’s Germany visit, what makes it private too?”
To some, it seems as though the wellbeing of the President isn’t that upright that State House unable to saying things verbatim decided to inexplicably state in its self-styled release “Private Visit.”
Of course, in most advanced democracies, a President will inform his people about every moves he makes or intend making and with details about the trip before and immediately after he returns therefore imbibing in up and coming politicians the spirits of democracy and how as leaders they are agents fostering the realization of the aspirations of democratic good governance.
The reason for this is because the President is employed by the people and therefore has little or no privacy, but should ensure that he is accountable to his employers- The Peopled- all he does.
In the 1991 Constitution of Sierra, it is made mentioned in section 5 that the country sovereignty belongs to the people from whom all government derives it powers.
Thus everything that belongs to the President and all the favours and honours he enjoyed is as a result of the people.
In that light, we expect the people to be informed about critical details of the President, most often those that hinge on his movement out of the country.
Had President Koroma not feel like making the public know details about his trip he would have better returned to his private insurance company as CEO and not bother to become the President of Sierra Leone at all.
But as long as he continues to be President of Sierra Leone and enjoying the largesse of the state, it is the right of the people to ask question.
We normally see that even when the President of the United States wants to go for a vacation, he will inform the people that he is not only going on vacation but the place he will be going.
Unlike the United States and other advanced democracies, everything about the President is held behind close circle as if government is a secret society.
People are even speculating that because the press release from State House lacked details, the President is perhaps not physically alright.
Others holding contrary views say he is going on a vacation.
This is not the first time the President has been paying visits to Germany of late; most times the people are not informed about the reason for such visits.
The last time after the 2012 elections, he was out of the country for almost a month- having time in China-, but on his returned he held a press conference and told the people that he will be holding regular press conference to inform the public about happens, but not one is held till date.
It would have been wise for the Presidential Spokesman not to have come out with a Press Release concerning the presumed private visit of the President.
And the fact that such a release is out; same has defeated the whole privacy of the President’s visit.