The rejection of the Applicant by the United States of America Consulate Office has been perceived by him as unfair and his supporters too are seeing it the same way, however; Officials of the US Embassy in Freetown knew why the ex-junta member was refused an American visa and issued other members of his delegation that applied. Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio wanted to prove his critics wrong and end the controversy that surrounded his exit from the borders of America.
All speculations would have been put to rest if his application would have been granted and a visa issued to him to travel as a visitor to the United States of America and return home prepared for the campaign, leading to November 17th 2012 election. His trip would have been used as a campaign message by his supporters to dismiss other allegations and speculations that should have been used against him. It would be recalled that retired Julius Maada Bio was a Temporal Resident of the United States of America and had resided in Arlington City and other cities in Virginia where he pursued both his Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees.
In America, the ex-junta member worked in several institutions, including an Institution that deals in Computer Software and also in the Washington District of Columbia prior to his returning home to engage in trade, politics and other economic, social and political activities. It may sound very strange to many people that where Mr. Bio obtained his degrees, lived and worked he can’t go to that country, until such a time when authorities responsible to give entry clearance would clear him of any doubt and remove the tag or red tape that has been allegedly placed on him. For quite some time now, there have been heated debates among supporters of the various political parties about the flagbearer of the SLPP exit and entry to the United States of America.
Supporters of the SLPP Presidential Candidate have challenge others and are dismissing statements that are directed to his entry as a political propaganda aimed at tarnishing the image of their Candidate. For the past months, key supporters of his Campaign team have been fighting tooth and nail to lay to rest what they had perceived as a political propaganda, but efforts turned out to be negative and non-achievable and the issue is now played in a very low tune that is only fit to be danced in a small room by the ex-junta member, especially when he reflects on what culminated to his rejection by the Americans to travel to the land where he secured his University Education.
The ex-soldier’s European trip in June this year would have included a trip to America to meet with members of his party, Tegloma and planned a fund raising venture, but what was boldly stamped on his passport, like other applicants of American Visas restricted his tour only to Europe and Africa and returned home. According to inside sources of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, it is uncertain that a re-application would salvage the situation for another proposed trip after the Month of Ramadan. Already, some members of the delegation for the trip to America after Ramadan have received their visas. They include Hon.
Alpha Timbo who is no stranger to America, Dr. Kadie Sesay, running mate whose daughter is an employee of the Cable News Network (CNN), Alhaji Kanja Sesay who had since secured a multiple visa. Some say Dr. Abass Bundu is expected to be on the delegation, unfortunately his updated passport, which is likely to contain an American visa is in the custody of the court in fulfillment of his bail condition in a matter that involved the sale of Sierra Leone Passports when he was Secretary of State in the NPRC Regime. The possibility, according to party sources for retired Julius Maada Bio to travel to America as head of the delegation after the Month of Ramadan rests with State Department and the Consulate Office of the American Embassy in Freetown. Officially, the US Embassy would not comment to the press on issues relating to the issuance of visas to applicants; however unofficial sources have disclosed that he was rejected and such a decision cannot be over turned easily or through political manipulation.
“It is a decision that is purely the prerogative of the Consular Office and not political” A source at the US State Department has revealed to this medium via a telephone conversation. To the reasonable minds the decision to refuse the ex-junta member an America visa is probably to his own advantage, considering what some ordinary members of the public perceived him to be a “political baggage carrier” with lots of unfavourable contents ranging from extra judicial killings to pilfering of state funds and others. Therefore, it is possible if not probable that the rejection is to save him from embarrassment in America by relatives of Bambay Kamara and others, many of whom are currently resident in America and determined to humiliate him on his arrival either at the JF Kennedy or the Washington Airports.
This is neither the first time nor the second or last that US Embassy in Freetown has refused high profile officials visas to travel to America. Few years back, Dr. Sama Banya was refused a visa, which did not attract headlines on the local tabloid, but when the US Embassy refused ex-President Kabbah a visa, it became a banner headline on the papers. It was very recently when after a second attempt a visa was issued to him which enabled him to travel to New York and accessed his account at the Manhattan Bank. The visa refusal slammed on the SLPP Presidential Candidate is sure to attract newspaper front page, not only because of his political status but for other reasons especially when he had stayed and worked in that country for considerable period of time and has considered himself as part of the system.
Effort, according to party sources by Dr. Kadie Sesay, his running mate to write to some members of Congress on the Candidate’s behalf has yielded no positive dividend at the moment. It is not known whether a second trial would be a successful one or he may decide to remain quiet and concentrate on other areas to raise funds for the November 2012 election